Three Card Brag

In this guide you will see all you need to know about Three Card Brag.
First you will see some basic stuff and then we will move to useful tips.
Sounds good? Let’s dive in…


1: What is Three Card Brag?

2: The Rules of Three Card Brag

3: Variations of the Game

4: Playing Three Card Brag Online


1: What is Three Card Brag?

In this chapter I will explain what exactly Three Card Brag is.
I will show you how and why it is interesting.
Then in later chapters we’ll go through some important tips…

Three-card Brag is a British card game originally from the 16th century. The game is, in fact, a direct descendant of the Elizabethan game of Primero and one of the several ancestors to Poker, although it varies in betting style and value of cards, i.e. hand rankings.

Three-card Brag is widely considered to be the first British card game to use the concept of “bluffing,” thus paving the way for the poker variants we know and love today.

Three-Card Brag is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards, without jokers. It is best played with four to eight players, although it can be played with as little as two players.

Interestingly enough, cards are only shuffled once at the start of the game, or after a winning Prial hand (Pair Royal), and in general cards are not mixed so often. Each game round lasts approximately five to 10 minutes.
The aim of Three Card Brag is to get the best three card combination possible. This way you can beat all other players – although you also have the option of bluffing (“bragging”).

Bluffing means you can lie about the value of your hand and thus deceive other players. If they believe you have a stronger hand than theirs they will fold out of the game.

As for the bet, the initial ante bet is to be determined before the game starts, along with the minimum and maximum amount of that initial bet. A limit on the amount is also determined.

There is one variant of the game that is truly popular in Trinidad, India, Bangladesh and Nepal, where it is known as “faras” and teen patti (whish literally means ‘three cards’ in Hindi). This game is played numerous local variations.

The game is then played in parties or other social events and gatherings during festival times. It is the game of choice since many people of different skills can play together and have fun.

It is also a very popular game among British fairground showmen, who usually get together at the bigger fairs and play for quite high stakes.
Since the game has similarities with Poker, it is very much popular and many people enjoy playing it. Moreover, the game is good for those who enjoy the bluffing concept and can learn some things about it by playing the game.

2: The Rules of Three Card Brag

In this chapter I will explain the rules of the game.
And then you will see exactly how the cards are valued.
I will also show you some useful strategies for playing the game…
First, each player makes a bet and then everyone gets three cards face down. There is then a round of betting that starts to the left of the dealer. Every player can either bet or fold. You must either contribute at least the amount of the previous bet.

This betting continues until there are only two players left. Then either player may double the previous bet to see their opponent’s hand. After this, the two hands are revealed, and the player with the better hand takes all the money. If there is a tie, the player who is seeing loses.

Card Value

Now let us understand how the cards are valued.

You can, for example, have three cards with the same number value, three sevens or three Kings, and so on. You can get a Straight Flush – which means you have three successive cards of the same color and suit, or you can have simple Straight or Run – three successive cards in numbers, but of different colors.

Another possible combination is Flush, where you have three cards of the same suit, for example three spade cards. Among your three cards you can have a pair, or you can have a high card.

Of course, the best “prial” is 3-3-3, followed by the usual order of A-A-A, K-K-K, Q-Q-Q, etc.

The flushes, pairs, and high cards have rankings identical to poker (aces high).

Mathematically, a pair will beat three-quarters of hands, but you must watch out for unexpected runs and flushes. Prials and running flushes are extremely rare but are more common in versions of the game in which a hand is chosen from more than three cards.

Therefore, you could see that this game is quite similar to Poker, or more precisely to Three-Card Poker.

Unlike in other forms of poker, a run beats a flush.

Another possible option, which makes things more interesting, is playing blind. This means players can bet without looking at their cards.

If you wish to play blind, this means that each of your bets will cost half the amount of the standard non-blind bet. You can check your cards in your hand at any point, but then you will no longer be considered a blind player. Then you will be subject to the standard bets.

Another rule for playing bling is that if all other players fold, you are not going to win the pot. Instead the pot carries over to the next game and you can keep your current hand.

When the next deal takes place, you can then decide whether to play with your new hand or keep your old one.

At any time, a player with two blind hands may look at one of them and decide whether to keep it or discard it.

If he or she keeps it, he or she throws away the other hand and is considered open. If he or she throws it away, he or she keeps the other hand and is still blind.

If everyone folds to a blind player with two hands, he must throw away one without looking. As with many rules in card games, regional differences apply to this rule.

Again, another unusual custom of Brag is that the deck is rarely shuffled. Unless a hand is seen and won by a prial, the cards from the hand are just placed on the bottom of the deck, and the next hand is dealt without shuffling.

So, once again, let us see the hand rankings listed from best to worst. Hand rankings in Three Card Brag are slightly different to classic poker, and come with some different terminologies. The potential hands are listed below in value from best to worst, along with their odds:

• Prial (three of a kind) – odds of 459 to 1
• Running Flush (straight flush) – odds of 459 to 1
• Run (straight) – odds of 31 to 1
• Flush – odds of 20 to 1
• Pair – odds of 1 to 6
• High Card – odds of 3 to 1

The best possible hand you can get is a Prial consisting of three threes (which comes with odds of 5,524 to 1), although all other Prial hands rank in regular order descending from three Aces to three twos.


The fact that the cards in Three Card Brag are rarely shuffled can help you in certain ways. If you are astute enough and familiar with the concept, you can apply card counting then.

Another possible strategy suggests that players should really embrace the concept of bluffing. Bluffing is not only a fun element of the game, but it also increases your chances since playing strictly by the odds is not very profitable.

Playing blind is among the best strategies, but it is to be done by more experienced players. You should make sure you are financially prepared and have some experience in this kind of gambling.

3: Variations of the Game

Now you will see what other possible variants are.
I will show you how this game can also be played…
Let’s see some interesting facts!

Would you believe it that Three Card Brag can actually be played as X Card Brag (X being almost any number)? There are so many variations of the game, depending on the region, or a group of people playing it, but it also depends on casinos where the game is played. Generally, the game is a three-card table game, but it can be played in other forms as well.

For instance, there is a Four-card Brag. In this variation, players get four cards and then each player must choose which card to throw away – place at the bottom of the deck. He or she will choose a card that he or she needs the least and will try to make the best possible combination.

After this, the game is actually played in the same manner as Three Card Brag.

Another possible variant of the game is the so-called Seven Card Brag. In this game, each player is dealt seven cards and then he or she must choose three cards to play from their hands. They can also make two hands, with only a successful winning of both hands winning the pot.

Three Card Brag can be even played with nine cards. This is then called Nine Card Brag. As in other variants, players are dealt nine cards and then they sort the cards into three sets.

Four antes are played, one for each set, and a main pot.

After this, each set is played out, usually without further betting. The winner of each set takes one lot of antes; if a player wins all three sets they receive the main pot as well, otherwise it remains for the next hand.
Players are required to play the next best set they have.

It is so often that a player makes two good sets and a poor third (e.g. prial, straight, ten-high), so players that do not think they will be able to win all three will order their hands to leave themselves with a strong third set to protect the main pot.

The game can also be played with thirteen cards! As in all other variations, thirteen cards are dealt and then each player needs to choose three cards to play. There is also a variation within this variation: players can make four hands from the thirteen cards.

Four of a kind can also be played, and is usually rewarded by an additional fee to be paid by the other players, apart from any original stake.

Then each player shows their best hands, then second best hands, etc., with each winning hand scoring that player a point, or points. In some regions the game is known as ‘Crash’.

There is also one interesting variant of the Three Card Brag and it is called Bastard Brag. In this game, three cards are dealt to each player and three face-up are dealt as communal cards (in some versions only two are face up, one is face down).

Players take turns at exchanging one or all (but not two) of their cards for any or all of the communal cards.

Play continues until one player ‘sticks’, or ‘knocks’, meaning that they are satisfied with their hand. All the remaining players then exchange one last time before hands are compared. The player with the lowest hand is out, or loses a life.

Knocking on the first round is not allowed, or forcing anyone dealt a good hand to break it up. Knocking is not allowed directly after an exchange, rather instead of an exchange, etc.

Players can’t exchange two cards at once, which perhaps prevents the immediate accumulation of a good hand, with the card needed to complete the hand maybe taken by another player before the next opportunity. It is otherwise known as Stop the Bus.

Now, can you imagine that the game can also played with as many as fifteen cards! The Fifteen Card Brag is, however, a family game then and it is not a gambling variant of the game.

Players are dealt fifteen cards and from them they make five three-card tricks.

Each player must then lay their tricks down in order, highest first. The winner is the one who wins the most tricks. This variant gives you better odds since you have so many cards in your hand.

4: Playing Three Card Brag Online

In this chapter I will show you the benefits of playing online
I will show you how Three Card Brag is played online
Let’s start!

Playing online is always a great opportunity. You can play and bet from the comfort of your home and is quite enjoyable and appreciated by many players across the Globe. A great thing is that casinos will offer you free bonuses and, most importantly, you will be able to play for free and understand the game thoroughly before you decide on investing some money.

The same goes for the Three Card Brag, especially since this is a game where you can literally practice your bluffing and learn to recognize it in other players.

It is exactly the Grosvenor Casinos that offer this great and popular game.

You can choose a stake from the selection of chips and then place them on the table, just like in real-life game, where you place a bet, in the square “ANTE” bet area and/or in the “PAIR BONUS” bet circle.

You can choose to play either the main game (by placing an ANTE bet) or the Pair Bonus game (by placing a PAIR BONUS bet) or both.

You can place as many chips as you would like on each bet area.
And for instance, if you press the ‘Double Bet’ button, the total bets you have placed so far on ANTE and PAIR BONUS will be doubled.

In online casinos, if you press ‘Undo’ you can undo your last action. So if you have removed a chip from the table, ‘Undo’ will replace it, or if you have just pressed ‘Double Bet’ then ‘Undo’ will remove those chips you just added.

If you change your mind and want to start again, press ‘Clear All Bets’ to remove all chips from the table.

Then when you wish to start the game, you just press the Deal.
Rules are of course the same with playing bets, folding, etc.