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How to play and win at Tri Card Poker

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Three Card Poker, or Tri Card Poker, as it is called in online casinos, is similar to five card stud poker except that you get only three cards and play against the dealer's hand, rather than against other players. Playing with only three cards makes it much easier to get big hands like a flush. Playing against only the dealer means no other player can suck out on you! The playing strategy for online Three Card or Tri Card Poker is very simple. When the round begins, you may put up an initial ante wager and/or place a side bet in the Pair Plus circle.

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The online casino software then deals three cards to both the player and the dealer. There are wild cards, and no draws or community cards, so the three card hand you are dealt is all you have to work with. The only possible hands in Three Card or Tri Card Poker are the standard poker hands—straight, flush, straight flush, pair, three of a kind, and so on. The only decision you have to make in Three Card Poker is whether your hand is likely to beat the dealer, and you only have to make that decision if you've placed an ante bet. If you placed an ante bet and like your chances, you may place an additional bet equal to the ante to stay in the round. If you think your hand is a loser, the best move is to fold your hand and lose the ante. If your hand is a winner, and the dealer has a qualifying hand (more on that below), you will be paid even money. If you have a straight or better, you will also collect a bonus. If you placed the Pair Plus side bet, you will also win a bonus on that bet for a pair or better, regardless of whether or not you beat the dealer. These bonus payouts can be worth a lot in Three Card Poker. If you place only the Pair Plus bet, you have no decisions to make and you don't even have to beat the dealer. All you have to do to win is make a pair or better.

How to Bet at Three Card Poker There are three betting spaces. The circle nearest the dealer, marked PAIR PLUS, is where the Pair Plus side bet may be placed. The center space, marked ANTE, is where the ante bet is placed. You may place both the Pair Plus and Ante bet, or just one or the other, whichever feels lucky. The third space on the table, nearest the player, is marked PLAY. This is where to put the second bet for your ante if, after seeing your cards, you want to bet you'll beat the dealer. For the Pair Plus bet, the dealer does not have to qualify. Also, again, you do not have to beat the dealer's hand to win a bet on the Pair Plus. All you have to do to win this bet is get a pair or better and you will be paid according to the Pair Plus paytable. After you make all your betting decisions, the dealer's cards will be turned over for you to see. Then you are paid according to the proper paytable for your bets and according to whether or not the dealer qualified.

To qualify, the dealer's hand must contain at least a queen. The lowest dealer qualifying hand is Q-3-2. You can expect the dealer to qualify roughly 44% of the time. Again, the dealer does not have to qualify for you win on a Pair Plus bet. When the dealer has a qualifying hand, you have to beat the dealer's cards to win both the Ante and Play bets (at even money). If your hand is a straight or better, you are also paid the Ante bonus. If the dealer's hand beats yours, you lose both the Ante and the Play wagers. But if your hand is a straight or better, you win the Ante bonus even if the dealer's hand is better than yours. Ties just count as ties, and you neither lose your bet nor get paid on it. When the dealer's hand does not qualify, the dealer folds and pays even money on just the Ante bet. The Play bet is returned to you and the Ante bonus still pays off. In either case, if you made a Pair Plus bet you will be paid according to the Pair Plus bonus paytable.

The Ante Bonus: The Ante bonus is paid even if the dealer beats your hand. The Ante bonus is also paid if the dealer does not qualify. If your hand is a straight or better, you are paid a bonus on your ante wager as follows: Note: The house edge on the Ante bonus, with the paytable shown above, is 3.4%. The Pair Plus Bonus: The Pair Plus bet pays according to the paytable below, whether or not your hand beats the dealer hand. You may choose to place only the Pair Plus bet if you prefer. Anything less than a pair, and you lose the Pair Plus wager. (On average, you can expect to be dealt a pair or better about once every four hands.) If you are dealt a pair or better, you will be paid according to the following chart: The house edge on the Pair Plus bet, with the paytable shown above, is 2.3%.

The Best Three Card Poker Strategy The best Three Card Poker Strategy online is 1.) to play Three Card or Tri Card Poker on an online casino bonus, because that's free money(!) and 2.) to place only the Pair Plus bet, which has the lower house edge of 2.3%. If you'd like to play the Ante bet at Three Card Poker, call if you're dealt any hand containing a Q-6-4 or better. Otherwise fold. Three Card Poker is the kind of game where you will often lose a small amount in exchange for chances at really big wins less often. You'll like playing Three Card (or Tri Card) Poker if you like to go for big wins!

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