3 Card Brag

Latest posts by Man of Mystery (see all)

Risk category C, sight risk

This game is similar to poker, but the hands are ranked slightly differently (see below).

To my mind it should be possible to play this game risk free if there is a refund providing that you are allowed to cover the pot when you are out of funds. Make sure that any bonus you get is not a sticky bonus as this would also result in it not being risk free.

I have added the Game Account rules from Boylesports at the bottom of this post.

3 Card Brag Hand Ranks

The hand rankings in 3 card brag are straight forward but as a lot of people now play poker and texas holdem in particular It’s important to know what beats what, there are a few differences between brag and poker so check out the hand rankings below.

High Card – High card is just a high card, Ace high being the highest down to the lowest possible 3 card brag hand 2-3-5. All 3 cards play so if player 1 has: A-K-8 and player 2 has: A-K-7 player 1 would win as the 8 players above the 7.

One Pair – All 3 cards play again here and aces are the highest pair down to 2’s, if both players have identical hands who ever call loses. Odds of having a pair are: 5 to 1

Flush – A flush is all 3 cards of the same suit, the higher the cards the higher the flush and again all 3 cards play, no suits are higher than any other, if 2 players have the same hand the caller loses. Odds of being dealt a flush are: 19 to 1

A Run – A run is a straight such as 7-8-9 and unlike in poker a run beats a flush in 3 card brag, a strange thing is that Ace-2-3 is the highest ruin followed by A-K-Q then K-Q-J and then in order down to the lowest being 2-3-4. The odds of being dealt a run are: 30 to 1

A Running Flush – This is a combination of a run and a flush so 2-3-4 all the same suit makes a running flush, the highest again is Ace-2-3 followed by A-K-Q, these hands are very rare and almost unbeatable, a great hand to win a big pot, a running flush can also be called a bouncer as in ace two three on the bounce. Odds of being dealt are: 459 to 1

A Prial – The very best hand in 3 card brag and the only time the cards are shuffled is when a prial comes out, a prial is 3 cards of the same value 3-3-3 being the highest followed by A-A-A, K-K-K down to 2-2-2. You will see a few in your time playing but that many.

Strangely the odds of being dealt a prial are also: 459 to 1

Odds of being dealt 3-3-3 are 5524 to 1

The rules appear to depend a little on where you are playing:

3 Card Brag Rules

At the start of any game the cards are shuffled and each player is dealt one card face up, the highest card is the dealer for the 1st round. The deal moves clockwise round the table after each hand. The cards are never shuffled again unless a player shows 3 of a kind also known as a prial!

Each player pay’s an ante which is usually a set amount agreed before you begin, the dealer deals each player at the table 3 cards face down one at a time clockwise (to his left).

3 Card Brag Betting.

The action always goes clockwise so the player to the dealers left is the first to act. At this point players have 2 options, they can look at the cards dealt and play “open” or choose not to look and play “blind” playing blind means all players who have seen their cards have to pay double the amount of a “blind” player. This adds loads of action and can bring greater rewards.

The action goes round the table and keeps on going as players decide to look or “open up” and then fold, when only two players are left they have the option to continue betting or “call” the other player. A lot of card schools say to call you have to pay double the bet at that point, this is something you need to check before you start.

When a player has called the highest hand wins, if the two players have the same hand the calling player loses, no suits are higher than any other in brag.

Calling and Raising in 3 Card Brag.

Again most card schools have their own rules so make sure you get these straight. A lot play there is a maximum bet but this is usually thrown out of the window as the game goes on and the pints go down, every game of brag i have ever been involved in starts nice and low usually at £1 and £2 bets, after a while it’s £10 £20 £50 and more. Set limits if you need too and stick to them.

In 3 card brag the rules about calling are another tricky point, we play as many do that you can NOT call a blind man “unseen cards” it’s important to remember that you can only call when there are 2 players left and no more. When there are 2 left and only 1 player is playing blind you can call him/her after 3 bets. If both are playing blind you can call anytime, the same goes if both players have seen their cards.

Covering The Pot.

In 3 card brag a lot of money goes nowhere and players often run out, in these situations in friendly card schools you can “cover the pot” when it gets to your turn you put the remaining money you have in the pot and place your cards on top. The other players can continues in a side pot which you can nit win. When the hand is over you show your cards, if you have the highest hand you take the cash from the pot you had covered.

DO NOT cover the pot, lose and then pull some more money from your pocket, being broke means being broke in this game!

The choice to cover the pot is one of the most important things you need to get straight when starting a game, a lot play if you have no money left you lose. A lot of lending goes on in 3 card brag from others around and from the other players, it’s a gentleman’s, game but old school gentlemen. They will lend you money to keep playing but you had better pay it back!

After the hand he winner grabs the cash and the cards are passed to the next player (clockwise) who deals again, the cards from the previous hand are placed on the bottom of the pack, remember the cards are NEVER shuffled unless a prial is shown.

Game Instructions – Boylesports


Three cards are dealt to each player. There are two betting rounds, with fixed limits, one before the draw and one after the draw. The best hand wins the pot.

Hand Rankings

The hands are ranked similarly to that in poker but with some key differences. The best and worst combinations are listed below:

RankingBest Hand2nd Best3rd BestWorstPrial (3 of a Kind)3,3,3A,A,AK,K,K2,2,2Running Flush (1)A,2,3A,K,QK,Q,J4,3,2Run (2)A,2,3A,K,QK,Q,J4,3,2FlushA,K,JA,K,10A,K,95,3,2P airA,AK,KQ,Q2,2High CardAKQ5(1) Cards must be of the same suit.

(2) Cards can be of any suit.


A pair of 3’s has no extra value.

Suits are all the same value.

A run beats a flush

K, A, 2 is not a run.

Sitting Down and Adding Funds

There are 6 seats to choose from. You can bring between 10x and 250x the big blinds to the table when playing Fixed-Limit and between 10x and 100x when playing No-Limit.

Betting and limits


Example from a Regular £1.00-£2.00 table Fixed-Limit Table:

Small blind = half size of big blind, left of the dealer (£1.00)

Big blind = double the size of small blind, two to the left of the dealer (£2.00)

NOTE – When two players are playing heads up, the dealer becomes the small blind and the other player the big blind.

The Deal

3 cards face down to each player

First betting round

Fixed limit betting with each bet half the table stake size (size of the big blind). Example from a Regular table, stake £2.00. There is a maximum of 3 raises in this betting round unless two players are playing heads up. If a player has not viewed their cards yet and is playing blind they pay half of the bet.

The draw

Players may exchange 0, 1, 2, or all 3 cards. This happens in turn starting from the left of the dealer.

Final betting round

The fixed bet size is now the table stakes and is double the previous round i.e. 2x the big blind. The action starts from the left of the dealer. There is a maximum of 3 raises in this betting round unless two players are playing heads up. Once betting has finished players reveal their cards and the best hand wins.

The Blind rule explained

Players who have not yet looked at their hole cards may call bets for half price. Blind players cannot raise the pot, only call or fold. Blind players may look at their cards at any time; thereafter they are treated as normal players. Blind players may draw blind if they wish (although there is little point!). All players start every round blind by default.

Miscellaneous rules

NOTE – In the event of a draw (two or more players have the same hole cards) then the money in the pot for that hand is shared.

All cards are shuffled after each round.

All suits have the same value.

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