Three Card Poker Online in New York

Three Card Poker is a table game available at retail casinos in New York as well as at online casinos across the border in New Jersey. Additionally, if New York legalizes online casinos, players can enjoy 3 card poker online there as well. Read on to learn more about playing the game and where you can do so.

Best Three Card Poker sites in New Jersey

While we wait to see about legal online casinos in New York, your only legal options for online Three Card Poker are across the border in NJ.

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What to expect in our guide

Where to play 3 Card Poker online

At the moment, New Yorkers can play Three Card Poker at online casinos in New Jersey. You can download and create an account at a New Jersey online casino from New York, but you’ll need to be located in NJ to play the games.

The following online casinos in New Jersey all feature the game among their available table games:

Three card poker is a favorite among online casino games partly because it is easy to learn and quick to play, a combination that works well online.

How to play 3 Card Poker online

Much like Ultimate Texas Hold’em and other card-based casino table games, it is a game in which you play against a dealer or the “house.” As the name suggests, Three Card Poker is essentially a poker variant in which you try to make the best poker hand you can and beat the dealer’s hand, using three-card hands.

Step 1: Ante and make the pair plus side bet (optional)

Before the deal, you post an ante. The limits will appear at the table or on the screen if you are playing online. When playing in a casino, the minimum may be $5 or more. Online, you’ll generally be able to play for much less.

This is also the time to decide if you wish to place the pair plus side bet. That’s an additional bet on whether your hand will be one pair or better. This bet is optional, although many who play consider it a standard part of the game.

Step 2: The deal

The player and the dealer each get three cards face-down. You then look at your hand, and if you’ve placed the pair plus bet, you find out whether you’ve won (by making a pair or better).

Step 3: Deciding whether to make the play bet

At this point, you have a decision to make. If you think your hand will beat the dealer’s hand (still face down), you can place the play bet, which is equal to your ante. You can fold and lose your ante if you don’t think your hand will win. We discuss strategy below, but, generally speaking, you should play any hand with a pair or better and even ace-high, king-high and some queen-high hands.

The dealer also decides at this point whether to play the hand or fold. While you have total freedom in your decision, the game’s rules dictate what the dealer will do. The dealer must play any hand that’s queen-high or better and fold otherwise.

Step 4: Dealer reveals their hand

Unless you or the dealer have folded, now is the time for the dealer to show what you’re competing against.

Step 5: The outcome and settling of bets

If your hand ranks higher than the dealer’s hand, you win. If the dealer has you beat, you lose. At this point, the dealer then settles the main bet and any side bets or bonuses.

Examples of online 3 card poker steps above from the BetMGM Casino app:

That’s the order of play. In a way, the rhythm of the game resembles real money blackjack, in which you also compete directly against a dealer, although 3 Card Poker online has very different rules.

3 Card Poker Online Rules

Whether playing at a retail casino or online, there are a few essential rules that govern betting and determining the winner:

  • The play bet (if you choose to place it) must equal the ante bet.
  • You must decide whether to place a play bet before the dealer decides.
  • If the dealer has worse than queen-high and folds, and you have placed a play bet, that bet is a push (that is, you get your bet back). You do, however, win the hand and your ante bet.
  • If the dealer doesn’t fold and decides to play, you and the dealer compete for both the ante and the play bet. Whichever hand is higher wins the money. If the two hands are equal in value, the hand is a push, and you get your bets back.

By the way, that pair plus bet is a side bet that only concerns the value of your hand and has nothing to do with what the dealer has. In most 3 Card Poker games, you can also win an “ante bonus” if you make an especially strong hand like a straight flush, three of a kind or a straight. Again, you can win that ante bonus no matter what the dealer makes.

Most Three Card Poker games offer the chance to make another side bet called a six card bonus, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Three Card Poker hands

The hand rankings in Three Card Poker are easy enough to understand, especially if you are already familiar with traditional online poker.

  • High card — Three unpaired cards that are not the same suit. The hand is usually referred to by the highest of the three — K-5-2 is “king-high,” for example. The comparison of high-card hands begins with the highest card. If that’s the same, it moves to the middle and then to the lowest card. For instance, Q-9-2 would beat Q-7-6 because the nine beats the seven.
  • Pair — A hand containing two cards of equal rank. If both the player and dealer have the same pair, the third card or “kicker” determines who wins. For example, 5-5-J beats 5-5-8.
  • Flush — Three cards of the same suit. If both the player and dealer make flushes, the highest card determines who wins.
  • Straight — Three cards of different suits that are consecutive in rank, like 9-8-7 or Q-J-10. Note that an ace can be high or low, so both A-2-3 and A-K-Q count as straights. If the player and dealer both have straights, the highest one wins.
  • Three of a kind — Three cards of the same rank, such as 8-8-8. Again, the higher one wins if both hands contain three of a kind.
  • Straight flush — Three cards of the same suit that are consecutive in rank, such as J-10-9 of diamonds. Again, the ace can be high or low.

You’ll see Three Card Poker games that also recognize a mini royal or three-card royal flush (A-K-Q of spades, for example) for the purposes of the pair plus payouts.

3 Card Poker online odds

Here are the chances of getting the various 3 Card Poker hands:

  • No pair — 74.3% (almost 3 in 4)
  • Pair — 16.9% (a little better than 1 in 6)
  • Flush — 4.9% (not quite 1 in 20)
  • Straight — 3.2% (about 1 in 30)
  • Three of a kind — 0.23% (1 in 425)
  • Straight flush — 0.21% (about 1 in 460)

As you might have guessed, most of the time — three out of four hands — you won’t have even a pair. Interestingly, in Three Card Poker, it is easier to make a flush than a straight (the opposite is true in regular poker). That’s why a straight pays more than a flush in the pair plus payouts, but a flush pays more than a straight in the six card bonus payouts.

Online 3 Card Poker payouts

Both the ante bet and the play bet pay out at 1-to-1 or even money. Say you bet $10 for the ante and then decide to play your hand for another $10. If you beat the dealer’s hand, you win both bets and make $20 (getting $40 back total). If you win any side bets, you can win more on top of that.

Side bet payouts

The two primary side bets in Three Card Poker are the pair plus bet and the six-card bonus bet.

Pair plus payouts

If you choose this bet before the hand begins, you can win money if you get a strong three-card hand. This bet only concerns your hand’s value and has nothing to do with what the dealer has.

  • Pair — 1-to-1 (even money)
  • Flush — 3-to-1
  • Straight — 6-to-1
  • Three-of-a-kind — 30-to-1
  • Straight flush — 40-to-1
  • Mini royal — 200-to-1

Say you bet $20 ($10 for ante, $10 to play) and also put another $10 on this bet. You then beat the dealer with a straight. You double your $20 for beating the dealer. Then you win another $60 on top of that for making the straight.

Six card bonus payouts

In this case, you are betting that the six cards between your hand and the dealer’s hand will together produce a strong five-card poker hand. Once again, this bet has nothing to do with who actually wins the hand. Here are the payouts:

  • Three of a kind — 5-to-1
  • Straight — 10-to-1
  • Flush — 20-to-1
  • Full house — 25-to-1
  • Four-of-a-kind — 50-to-1
  • Straight flush — 200-to-1
  • Royal flush — 1,000-to-1 (or the progressive jackpot, if there is one)

Remember, these are traditional five-card poker hands. Say your hand is the 10 of clubs, 9 of clubs, and 2 of diamonds, and the dealer gets the king, jack, and 3 of clubs. His king-high beats your 10-high, which means you’d lose your ante and play bets. But if you made the six-card bonus bet, you’d win a nice 20-to-1 payout since there are five clubs between the two hands, making a flush.

Ante bonus payouts

The ante bonus is simply a nice extra prize you can win by getting a strong hand.

  • Straight — 1-to-1
  • Three-of-a-kind — 4-to-1
  • Straight flush — 5-to-1

Those payouts are for your ante bet only. If you bet $10 for the ante and get a straight flush, you would win $50. One nice aspect of the ante bonus is that you collect it even if the dealer folds and the play bet is a push.

Online 3 Card Poker strategy

When it comes to the 3 Card Poker strategy, there is one clear-cut play you should always make. You should play the hand if you have a hand of Q-6-4 or better. Anything worse, you should fold and lose your ante but save making the play bet. This is because the dealer has to play any queen-high hand and fold jack-high or worse. The math dictates Q-6-4 is good enough to compete with, but worse hands are not.

Beyond that, your only other strategic concerns are whether to make those side bets. You might know how in blackjack the house usually has a large edge when it comes to side bets, making them good only for a fun gamble. It’s sort of a similar story in 3-Card Poker.

If you stick to the strategy of just playing Q-6-4 or better, the house edge in Three Card Poker is 2.01% when you make your play bet. For pair plus bets, the house edge is a little greater at about 2.32%, which is one reason why many players opt for the pair plus bet. Meanwhile, the six card bonus bet is much more advantageous for the house, carrying an edge of 15% or more, depending on the exact payouts.

If you want to keep it simple, always play Q-6-4 or better. If you want to double the stakes, you can add the play plus bet, too, but understand that if you opt for the six card bonus, you’re venturing into that territory of blackjack side bets that are much less advantageous for the player.

How is 3 Card Poker online different from live?

You’ll readily find Three Card Poker in retail casinos in New York, as it is one of the more popular table games. It’s usually available in online casinos, as well. There are a few differences between live Three Card Poker and the game as it would usually appear at, say, online casinos in New Jersey.

Similarities

  • The game features similar rules both in-person and online.
  • Payouts are often the same in both.
  • Side bets and ante bonuses are generally the same.
  • Overall gameplay and layout are the same.

Differences

  • In a live game, multiple players sit around a table and simultaneously play against the dealer.
  • In standard online games, it is always just one player versus the dealer.
  • Stakes online can start as low as $0.05 or $0.10 whereas at retail casinos minimum bets often start at $5 minimum.
  • Live games sometimes feature progressive jackpots, which is less common online.

One thing to keep in mind is that the top sites for 3 card poker also offer a wide variety of online live tables, so you can easily enjoy playing against other players just like at retail casinos.

Online 3 Card Poker FAQ

No, though that would change if New York legalizes online casinos. New Yorkers can, however, travel over to New Jersey to play Three Card Poker at the online casinos in that state.

Yes, there is a strategy for Three Card Poker, although it isn’t too complicated. If you want to play in the most optimal way, you should always fold if your hand is worse than Q-6-4. But if you have Q-6-4 or better, you should always make the play bet and play your hand.

According to the probabilities, the dealer will make queen-high or better just under 70% of the time. You will, too, although the strategy dictates that you not play hands worse than Q-6-4.

All the commercial and tribal casinos in New York include Three Card Poker among their available table games. We also expect 3 card poker online casinos to come to New York soon.

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