Updated: Apr 6
You may have been told that there is no strategy involved in playing Three Card Poker – it’s just pure luck. Not exactly true. As always - with every single game you play in a casino - the key to winning more lies in the way you leverage your bets.
When it comes to Three Card Poker, I only want to play at a table that offers the 6th Card betting option. Most do, but not all.
The payouts shown on this page are common but can vary. For example, many casinos have lowered Flush payouts for Pair Plus wagers to 3-1 from 4-1. Double check the pay tables wherever you are so that you're fully aware of what you're getting yourself into.
The key to winning big with Three Card Poker is the PAIR PLUS wager, which returns the following:
40 - 1
30 - 1
4 - 1
1 - 1
So, as an example, a Straight Flush will pay $200 for a $5 wager. Off-strip casinos usually offer a $5 minimum, while strip casinos or larger off-strip resorts average $10-15 but can certainly go higher. Be aware of which bet qualifies you as having met the minimum. Hopefully, it’s Pair Plus, but often it’s the Ante, which returns OK money for a Three-of-a-Kind or Straight Flush but is not to your maximum advantage. If you’re feeling lucky or are extra “flush” with cash, go for it – or play elsewhere. Remember, we’re trying to leverage our bets to get the most for our money. Smaller casinos don’t quibble over how you fulfil the minimum bet requirement.
5 - 1
4 - 1
1 - 1
Some call the 6th Card wager a sucker bet, but I feel like a sucker if I don’t play it. My bacon has been saved by the 6th card more times than I can count. Minimums for the 6th Card wager can start as low as $1, but many houses require a $5 minimum. They usually cap the bet at five times the minimum. That tells me that there is added value in that wager for players, or higher minimums would be permitted.
6th Card Pay Table:
1000 - 1
200 - 1
50 - 1
25 - 1
20 - 1
10 - 1
5 - 1
More than once I've been seated with players who trash the idea of playing the 6th card, only to be dealt a 6th card hand that would have paid them well. They usually huff off in disgust at that point. Watch the "Stories" section of this site for more, and feel free to add your own.
The Progressive option has its own schedule of payouts. As far as I know, every casino with this feature requires a wager of just one dollar to activate. Place your dollar chip on the red button, which lights up when the dealer has accepted and acknowledged the wager. It is then removed from the table and only a lighted red circle indicates that you are in the running for that round. Notice the small print at the bottom of the Progressive Payout display: “Original Wager Not Returned”. They’re keeping that dollar no matter what else happens.