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Rather than compete with the other players at the table, Novelty poker games pit you against the dealer or a pay table. Some of the rules and pay tables may vary slightly by casino, but each game has its own unique spin on the poker classics.

A number “3” is shown with three cards.

Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker is based on one easy-to-follow concept: whoever has the higher three-card hand—dealer or player—wins. That’s it.

Object of the Game

Win the pot by making the best three-card hand possible. Bets are paid either by beating the dealer’s hand or simply based on how good a hand is.


Three cards are flipped over on each side. On the left is a 7 of diamonds, a 7 of spades and a Jack of Diamonds. On the right is a King of Diamonds, a King of Spades and a 3 of clubs

Once all the cards on the table have been revealed, it’s time to see who won.

  • If the player has the higher poker hand, both their Ante and Play bets pay even money e.g., A winning bet of $1 will result in the player getting back $2.
  • If the dealer has the higher poker hand the player loses all bets.
  • If the player and dealer tie, the player’s Ante and Play bets push into the next round.

How bets are paid

A poker chip.

Ante bonus

If the player made an Ante bet and ends with a straight or higher, they win an Ante bonus no matter what hand the dealer has.

Two cards with a heart symbol on each has a plus sign next to them.

Pair Plus bet

If the player made a Pair Plus bet, their payout depends on the value of their hand.



Straight flush
40 to 1
Three of a kind
30 to 1
6 to 1
3 to 1
1 to 1
A stack of cards say “six” on top.

Six Card Bonus

If the player wagered on the Six Card Bonus, the bet pays based on the best five-card poker hand that can be made combining their hand and the dealer’s three-card hands.



Royal flush
1,000 to 1
Straight flush
200 to 1
Four of a kind
25 to 1
Full house
20 to 1
10 to 1
Three of a kind
5 to 1

Know the hands

Three stacks of cards are shown. One stack has a King of Diamonds on top, another has a Queen of Diamonds and the last has a Jack of Diamonds.

Since each hand consists of only three cards, Three Card Poker rankings are different from standard poker. Hands are ranked from high to low as follows:



Straight flush
Three consecutive cards of the same suit
Three of a kind
Three cards of the same rank
Three consecutive cards of mixed suits
Three cards of the same suit
Two cards of the same rank
High card
One single card


A hand holds a phone that shows a calculator on the screen. The calculator is displaying the number 44.91%.

While there is no way to make the cards fall in any particular order, the game does offer a 44.91% chance of winning on the Ante. Some players consider this to be one of the better bets in a casino.

Odds on the Pair Plus bet are less favourable: while it pays out 40 to 1 when it wins, it’s more likely to lose than win. It’s a gamble!

Want to know how poker odds work?

Learn more about poker odds


Three Card Poker has one strategy considered to provide optimal odds or the lowest house edge: raise on any hand higher than a Q-6-4 and fold on anything else.


If you want to feel the excitement of the Pair Plus bet, go for it, but don’t use it as a strategy for chasing back your losses.