How to Play 3-Card Poker Online

By Ben Hamill - December 02 2015

3-Card Poker Online

Three-card poker is one of those poker variations that actually more suitable for playing online than in a traditional poker casino. The important thing when learning how to play three-card poker is to remember that 3-card poker is actually two games in one: Pair Plus and Ante & Play. You can play both games simultaneously, but you still have to keep them separated in your mind to prevent becoming mixed-up and confused.

How to Play "Pair Plus" Poker

Pair Plus is the simpler of the online 3-card poker games. To play this game, you simply place your bet in the Pair Plus circle on the virtual poker table, and then click the Deal button. You will be dealt three cards. The dealer will also be dealt three cards, but that is just for show; the dealer's cards are irrelevant. The Pair Plus games is based on your three cards and only your three cards.

If your 3-card poker hand contains a pair, you win a 1-to-1 payout on your Pair Plus bet. And if it contains something better than a pair — here is where the "Plus" in "Pair Plus" comes in — you win an even bigger payout. The Pair Plus payouts you can win are 1-to-1 for a pair, 4-to-1 for a flush, 6-to-1 for a straight, 30-to-1 for three of a kind, and 40-to-1 for a straight flush.

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How to Play "Ante & Play"

Ante & Play is a little more complex, in that it involves two betting rounds and real competition against the dealer. Still, it is not at all difficult to learn.

The main idea of Ante & Play poker is that you win by getting a better hand than the dealer's. Knowing this, you try to increase your bet when you are likely to win, and fold and cut your losses when you are likely to lose. Now let's look at how it is done, step by step.

Your first step in playing Ante and Play poker is to place a bet in the Ante circle on the virtual poker table, and then click the Deal button. You will receive three cards face up, and the dealer receives three cards face down. Now you have a decision to make: Fold or Play. If you click the Fold button, you lose the game, you lose your Ante bet, and the game is over. On the other hand, if you click the Play button, an additional bet — equal to your Ante bet — is placed in the Play circle, the dealer's three cards are turned over, and the hands are compared to determine a winner.

The dealer needs at least a Queen High hand to qualify to play. And so, there are three results that can occur in an Ante & Play game after the dealer reveals his hand.

One: The dealer does not qualify. In this case, you win the game, regardless of whether or not your hand is better than the dealer's. You win a 1-to-1 payout on your Ante bet, and your Play bet is a push, meaning that it is returned to you with neither profit nor loss.

Two: The dealer qualifies, and your hand beats the dealer's. In this case you win the game and you win a 1-to-1 payout on both your Ante bet and your Play bet.

Three: The dealer qualifies, and his hand beats yours. In this case, you lose the game and you lose both your Ante bet and your Play bet.

Another interesting feature of Ante & Play poker is the Ante Bonus. This is a bonus prize you are awarded for receiving one of the top 3-Card Poker hands: a 1-to-1 bonus for a Straight, 4-to-1 for three of a kind, and 5-to-1 for a Straight Flush. If you have one of these top hands, you are guaranteed your Ante Bonus, regardless of whether or not you beat the dealer's hand.

Playing Two 3-Card Poker Games at Once

Most experts recommend playing both three-card poker games together. It's easy to do: you place a bet in the Pair Plus circle and another bet in the Ante circle, click Deal, and you're on your way. Playing Pair Plus and Ante & Play simultaneously can give you twice as much fun and twice as many chances to win. And, of course, fun and chances to win are the main reasons that people play online three-card poker.

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