three card poker side bets

Should I Make Side Bets in Three-Card Poker?

Three-card poker has a unique set of rules, which differentiates it from most other forms of poker. The primary difference, as you may discern from its name, is that hands are comprised of three cards, rather than the traditional five.

To learn the rules of three-card poker, you can take a look at our explanative post on the subject. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the optional side bets offered by three-card poker, investigating how they work and how they pay out.

What side bets can be made in three-card poker?

Three-card poker usually offer two different side bets. Players can choose to play Six-card bonus, or Pair Plus.

Six-card bonus

Six-card bonus combines cards from both the player’s and dealer’s hands. These six cards are then used to make the best possible five-card hand. If the five-card hand makes three of a kind or better, the player wins.

Pair Plus

This side bet rewards players for the hand they’re dealt, regardless of whether or not it beats the dealer’s hand. A payout is awarded for all hands that contain a pair of better.

What do side bets pay in three-card poker?

For both side bet games, the payout depends on the strength of your hand – you’ll earn a bigger return for a royal flush than a straight.

Generally speaking, Six-card bonus offers higher payouts than Pair Plus. This is because the odds of building a strong hand are shorter with five cards (even when considering the sixth available card) than with three. For example, it’s easier to build a three-card flush than a five-card flush.

The respective pay tables for our live casino three-card poker game are as follows:


Royal Flush: 1000:1
Straight Flush: 200:1
Four of a Kind: 100:1
Full House Flush: 20:1
Flush: 15:1
Straight: 10:1
Three of a Kind: 7:1

Pair Plus

Mini Royal Flush (A-K-Q-Suited): 100:1
Straight Flush: 40:1
Three of a Kind: 30:1
Straight: 5:1
Flush: 4:1
Pair: 1:1

You may note that a straight pays more than a flush for Pairs Plus. This isn’t a mistake. When using five cards to make a hand, a flush is more difficult to achieve. However, when using only three cards, the odds of being dealt a flush are 4.96%, while the likelihood of receiving a straight is 3.26%.

Which three-card poker side game has better odds?

As is the case with all casino games, the house has better odds than you do. However, the house advantage is diminished somewhat by the pay table enabling some potentially big wins – you don’t need to win 50% of the time to profit if you hit just one straight flush.

Overall, Pair Plus gives you a better chance to profit. Though it’s payout potential is considerably less than Six-card bonus, the player’s disadvantage is about half that of Six-card.

Which game should I play?

Neither game is mandatory when you’re playing three-card poker. You can choose to play one, both or neither on any given hand. You can test them out by making small wagers to find which, if any, you prefer. If neither pique your interest, you can simply abstain from side bets while making your main wager.

When choosing between the two games, keep in mind that Pair Plus has better player odds. However, if you’re feeling lucky and want to chase a big jackpot win, Six-card will be your preferred option.

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