3 Card Poker vs Ultimate Texas Hold’em: Which is Better?

3 card poker vs ultimate texas holdem

1 minute

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

3-Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em are two popular poker variations in which you don’t play against other players, but against the house. As such, it’s crucial to consider the house edge when comparing the favorability of the two games.

3-Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em have very similar house edge percentages, but 3-Card Poker can be slightly better or worse (depending on how you play it).

Namely, with an optimal Ultimate Texas Hold’em strategy, you can play with a very favorable house edge of around 2.19%. In comparison, the house edge in 3-Card Poker can differ depending on what bets you decide to place.

More precisely, the house edge in Three Card Poker is around 3.37%. However, you can lower it by an entire percentage point, to about 2.3%, by taking the Pair Plus bet. Additionally, if you make the Play bet with at least a Q, 6, 4 hand or better, you can lower the house edge even further, to just over 2%.

To go a bit deeper into this 3-Card Poker vs. Ultimate Texas Hold’em comparison, here are the odds you’ll find in these two games, starting with the latter one first:

Ultimate Texas Hold’em Hand Odds
Royal Flush 0.0032%
Straight Flush 0.031%
Four-of-a-Kind 0.167%
Full House 2.5%
Flush 3.03%
Straight 4.54%
Three-of-a-Kind or Less 90%

And here’s what winning odds you can expect when playing Three Card Poker:

Three-Card Poker Hand Odds
Straight Flush 0.22%
Three-of-a-Kind 0.24%
Straight 3.26%
Flush 4.96%
Pair 16.94%
High Card 74.39%

Three-Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em Gameplay Compared

3-Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em both require mandatory initial bets, and both offer a few side bet options. However, while 3-Card poker only includes a Play bet you can place after receiving your cards, Ultimate Texas Hold’em has several betting rounds. 

For instance, after the flop, you can bet two times your ante or check, and after the turn and river, you can bet your ante again or fold. Additionally, in Ultimate Texas Hold’em, you only get paid if you have a straight or better. If it’s anything lower, the outcome is a push.

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