As the name implies, Three Card Poker is a poker variation using 3-card hands.
Rules and Play
Three Card Poker has two betting options -- a Pair Plus bet and a Ante & Play bet. With the standard paytable, the Pair Plus bet has the lower house edge per initial bet, and the Ante & Play bet has the lower house edge per unit wagered (and smaller expected loss over a wagering requirement).
The play for Pair Plus is straight forward. After placing a bet, you are dealt a 3-card hand. If the hand contains a pair or better, you are paid winnings. There are no card selections, betting raises, or other strategy decisions. Most casinos use the standard pay table listed below for Pair Plus. Note that a good portion of the overall payout for this game is in rare straight flush and 3 of a kind hands.
The Ante & Play bet is not as straight forward as the Pair Plus bet. After placing an Ante bet, the player is dealt three cards. The player then must choose to either fold and forfeit his bet, or raise and double his bet. If the player raises, then there are several possible payouts.
If the dealer has a queen or better, the dealer "qualifies." If the player wins the hand and the dealer qualifies, then both the ante & raise bets pay 1:1. If the dealer does not qualify (regardless of whether the player wins or loses the hand), then the ante bet pays 1:1, and the raise bet is returned. If the player loses the hand and the dealer qualifies, then both bets lose.
If the player gets a straight flush, 3 of a kind, or straight; then the player receives additional winnings as listed in the table below. This bonus is not dependent on dealer "qualification."* Most casinos use the standard bonus paytable listed below for Ante & Play.