How To Play Casino Games

Texas Hold ‘Em Vs Three Card Poker

August 22, 2023

You’ve heard about having a good ‘’poker face” and seen the players on TV wearing ridiculous sunglasses inside. Maybe you’ve played some $1 video poker at a casino bar to get free drinks, or maybe you’ve never played at all. Whatever the case is, there are many forms of poker, all which are lots of fun and some might be a lot easier to learn than you think. So, what’s the difference between Texas Hold ‘Em vs Three Card Poker?

Poker Basics

Let’s start with the types of ways to have a winning hand. Here is a list of the types of hands you can have (from worst to best):

High card

In poker, aces are the highest, and twos are the lowest. In a table game like Texas Hold ‘Em, having a high card can sometimes be enough to win a hand. This also comes into play as a tiebreaker when two players have hands of the same strength.

One pair

Two matching cards, like a pair of nines.

Two pair

Two sets of two matching cards, like a pair of nines and a pair of jacks, for instance. If you’re facing off against another player with two pair, the player with the highest pair wins.

Three of a kind

Three matching cards. Also known as “trips” or “a set.” In situations when two players both have the same three of a kind (like when they’re using the same community cards to make their hand), the player’s next highest card decides the hand. (For example, 5-5-5-A-K beats 5-5-5-K-3.)


Five cards in sequential order, like 8-9-10-J-Q. The suit doesn’t matter. When comparing straights, the higher, the better.


Five cards all in the same suit. An ace high flush is the best you can put down.

Full house

Three of a kind and a pair. Also known as a “full boat.” Full houses are ranked first by the strength of the triple, so Q-Q-Q-4-4 would beat J-J-J-10-10. If the triplets are equal, then the hands are ranked by the pair.

Four of a kind

Now we’re getting into the rare hands! If you see four of a kind, which is all four cards of a particular rank, you’re going to have a good night.

Straight flush

Five cards in sequence like 5-6-7-8-9 and in the same suit.

Royal flush

The most powerful hand in the game (unless you’re playing with a wildcard, which is for a more advanced lesson). A royal flush would be, for example, 10-J-Q-K-A in the same suit. It can’t get better than this hand.

Three Card Poker

Debatably the simplest form of poker is Three Card Poker. This poker game is a popular choice among casual players at online casinos due to its simplicity. (At Tipico we offer both Live Dealer Three Card Poker and regular Three Card Poker.)

So, let’s start with how it works. It’s you versus the house, and you’re each dealt three cards from a 52-card deck. The objective is to have the better hand than the house. Since you are only dealt three cards, you don’t have to worry about a full house, a two pair, or a four of a kind.

Subsequently, flushes and straights now only require three cards instead of 5. So, having 3, 4, 5 (or any other sequence of three cards in a row) is a straight! Normally, you’d need 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, so hitting a straight is a lot easier.

The Ante

Each game of Three Card Poker starts with an ante — this ante wager is the first step in a potentially rewarding game of Three Card Poker. From there you can decide to play (where you put another stack of chips equal to your ante in) or you can choose to fold, forfeiting your ante and your cards.

With each player only having three cards, and no flop to create better hands, this makes having a hand which may be considered weak in Texas Hold ‘Em are a lot more powerful. Even having a high card in Three Card Poker is effective. A low pair in Three Card Poker is also very good, considering having two out of the three cards match is pretty rare.

Whereas in Hold ‘Em, you essentially have seven cards to make a combination — so getting a pair in Hold ‘Em is a lot more common, but a lot less powerful. A low pair in Hold ‘Em might be a reason to fold, whereas in Three Card Poker, it’s a green light to up the ante!

Texas Hold’Em

Texas Hold ‘Em is the most popular form of poker. This poker variant has gained massive interest, especially in major tournaments and in online poker rooms. It’s often the type of poker people play against each other in tournaments, but at Tipico you can play the house one-on-one!

The most obvious difference between Hold ‘Em and Three Card Poker is the number of cards you’re dealt. In Hold ‘Em you are only dealt two cards, and from there you must decide if you’re in or if you’re going to fold. If you’re in, you place another bet to trigger the flop.

The flop is a set of three community cards that everyone will use to make combinations with. After the flop, you have the option to fold if you don’t like your cards, or to keep going by checking or making another bet. This triggers the “turn” card, an additional community card.

The same process is repeated for the last and final community card, known as the river. Once the river card is dealt it’s time to see the cards of the house and find out who has the winning hand.

In Hold ‘Em, understanding the community card dynamics is key to making the best hand possible. This whole process is something you don’t have to worry about in the much simpler Three Card Poker. But because of all the stages in Hold ‘Em, you can really get the most out of a good hand by betting big when you feel you’re going to win.

Comparative Strategies and Tips for Texas Hold ‘Em vs Three Card Poker

While both Texas Hold ‘Em and Three Card Poker fall under the broad umbrella of poker, their strategies and gameplay can differ significantly. This section explores these differences, offering tips and strategies to excel in both games.

Understanding Dealer’s Hand in Three Card Poker

In Three Card Poker, players should be mindful of the dealer’s qualifying hand. The dealer must have a Queen high or better to qualify. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, the ante bet is paid out even money, and the play bet is returned. This rule adds a strategic layer to deciding whether to fold or continue after seeing your cards.

Hand Rankings and Variations in Texas Hold ‘Em vs Three Card Poker

Hand rankings in Texas Hold ‘Em and Three Card Poker have some similarities but also key differences due to the number of cards in play. In Texas Hold ‘Em, traditional poker rankings apply, from high card to royal flush. In Three Card Poker, because players only receive three cards, a straight ranks higher than a flush. Players should familiarize themselves with these variations, especially when playing Three Card Poker in an online casino setting.

Texas Hold ‘Em vs Three Card Poker: Advanced Techniques and Side Bets

Both games offer advanced techniques and side bets. In Texas Hold ‘Em, players may explore techniques like hole card analysis and dealer bust predictions. Three Card Poker offers side bets like 6 Card Bonus and Pair Plus Wager, which can significantly increase winnings if played wisely.

Responsible Gaming and Bankroll Management

Regardless of the game, practicing responsible gaming and effective bankroll management is crucial. Set limits on bets and stick to them, whether playing Ultimate Texas Holdem at a Las Vegas casino or enjoying Three Card Poker online.

Texas Hold ‘Em Vs Three Card Poker: The Final Verdict

The name of the game may be similar, but the games are unique in their own way! Whether you choose the traditional Texas Hold ‘Em or the faster-paced Three Card Poker, each offers a unique table game experience. The simplicity of Three Card Poker is great for trying to learn poker or if you don’t want to think about too many combinations.

Whereas the combinations to consider in Hold ‘Em make the game more complex and strategic. Tipico offers both games in a standard version and a Live Dealer version through our Casino app if you’d like to give either — or both — a try

For more gambling guides and best practices, be sure to check out our guides on how to play baccarat, how to win at roulette and more!


James Reynolds
James Reynolds is Tipico's copywriter. He's also a go-to resource in both online slot games in Tipico's Casino...and pizza.