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Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker is one of the best online casino game options for both new and experienced players. Of course, you can find this game at most online casinos in Malaysia and worldwide platforms. It is fast-paced and has a low house edge, making it a good option for beginners. Occasionally, you may find three-card poker listed as Tri-Card poker. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about it, including how to play and the potential payouts. 

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What is Three Card Poker?

Despite being so popular, three-card poker is actually a fairly new game. Actually, in 1994 Derek Webb invented it and patented it three years later. The objective was to create a fast-paced game that pitches the player against the dealer. In addition, tri-card poker has great payouts to encourage more people to play. Also, much like other casino games, the original conception meant the game host to be the casino.

With all these ideas in mind, Webb borrowed the concept of stud poker and removed two cards from the deal. So that is how the game that is today known as 3-card poker came to be. Naturally, it became a very popular choice among many gamblers in Malaysia because of its fast pace. Moreover, players can also use various strategies to boost their winning chances. 

Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker Gameplay and Rules

Three Card poker is a pretty popular game amongst real money casino players in Malaysia. Because its rules are easier to master compared to other variations of poker, many beginners choose it. So, you don’t need prior experience with playing poker to learn this game. Like other versions of poker, 3-card poker is played with a single deck of cards. Basically, the objective of the game is to try to beat the dealer by creating the best 3-card poker hand. 


3 card poker is a quick game because you only have three cards in your hand. But before the game commences, you’ll have to place an ante bet or a pair plus wager. In the ante wager, the player bets that they will beat the dealer’s qualifying hand of better or Queen. On the other hand, with a pair plus wager, you bet that you’ll end up with a pair or better. Once this step is complete, you (the player) and the dealer will then receive three cards face down.  

Of course, you can look at your cards and decide whether to place a play wager or fold. However, if you fold, the round will be over, and the dealer collects the ante and pair plus wager. But if a player places the play wager, the cards will be revealed, and the player’s hand will be compared to that of the dealer. Basically, the payouts will depend on the results of this comparison.

So, if the dealer’s hand is a Jack-high or worse, the player will get back their play wager. If the dealer’s hand is weaker than the player’s and is a Queen high or better, the ante and the play wager will be paid out at 1:1. However, if the dealer has a stronger hand than the player, the player loses both the ante and play bets. 

Hand rankings

Because the game has only three cards, the hand ranking is slightly different from standard poker. From highest to lowest, the hands rank as follows:

  • Straight flush 
  • Three of a kind 
  • Straight 
  • Flush 
  • Pair 
  • High card

Three Card Poker Payout 

Another important aspect of three-card poker is the payout. Basically, dependent on your bets this is how it goes:

Pair plus payouts

A pair plus payout is pretty simple and straightforward. You simply need to place your chip(s) in the area marked ‘Pair Plus’ on the table to wager. In a nutshell, players who land pairs in their hands win. Pair plus wagers have a house edge of 7.28%, and the possible payouts for the hands are 1:1 for a Pair, 4:1 for a Flush, 6:1 for a Straight, 30:1 for a Three-of-a-Kind, and 40:1 for a Straight Flush.

Ante bonus payouts

The ante bet involves wagering that your hand will be stronger than that of the dealer. Placing an ante bet is just as simple as placing a pair plus bet. You simply need to place a chip on the diamond symbol. So once the dealer issues three face-down cards to everyone, you’ll decide whether to play or not. The ante bet has a house edge of 3.37%, so it’s lower than the pair plus bet.

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Three Card Poker Strategies and Tips

Because three-card poker is a game of skill, you can use various strategies and tips to increase your winning chances. However, you must first understand the rules of the game before trying the strategies below.

  • Practice The internet has made it easier to access a lot of information online. You can play free online 3-card poker to hone your skills before trying the real money version of the game. This way, you’ll be able to learn how the game works and even employ a few strategies.
  • Manage your bankroll Learning how to manage funds set aside for gambling is also important. It’s very important when it comes to practicing responsible gambling. Simply put, it will prevent you from wagering the money you can’t afford to lose.
  • Don’t place the pair plus bet Try to avoid the pair plus bet because it increases the house edge, it’s not worth it to take that risk. This is especially so if you’re just starting out.


Three Card poker is one of the best variants of poker you can play. It’s fast-paced, and you can apply a strategy to improve your winning chances. But most importantly, it has simple rules, which makes it a great choice for beginners. However, you must be keen to avoid small mistakes that might cost you. Additionally, it’s also important to play at a licensed and reputable online casino. But if you don’t have a gaming destination just yet, check out our casino reviews to find a match.


Three card poker is fast-paced because it's only played with three cards.

Absolutely! Three card poker is available in most online casinos in Malaysia.

While there’s no 100% sure way of winning a game of 3 card poker, you can do a few things to increase your winning chances. This includes practicing, managing your bankroll, and avoiding the pair plus bet.

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