Three card brag card game can be played with between four and eight players and is recommended as an adult card game, mainly because children might find the rules a little complex. However, if you’ve got a little Doyle Brunson in the family, feel free to introduce them to the game, too, if you think they can handle it.
Three cards’ brag shares some similar attributes in terms of strategy as the card game Teen Patti, which is a popular card game played in India. However, Three card brag is popular with British card players.
The game involves keeping a poker face and playing a bluff, deceiving your opponents.
Now, let’s look at what you’ll need to play Three Card Brag and how to play.
Before You Begin – What You’ll Need
To play, you will need a standard deck of cards. Although there are many variations of this game, including several other amounts of cards, I will be telling you about the most commonly played three-card brag, as this is the one I am most familiar with. At the end of this guide, I will brief you slightly on the other variations should you want to mix things up a bit.
You will also need a pack of chips, you can use whatever you like for these, but I love these Inheming 100 Pieces Denominations Poker Chips Set. It comes with a convenient acrylic case making it portable, and you can impress your gaming friends with it and show them what a pro you are.
Before you begin playing 2 card brag, you will also need to decide what the ante will be, discuss this with your opponents, and ensure everyone agrees.
Once you’ve decided on the ante, each player must place this amount in the pot. For example, if the ante is five chips, all players must put five chips each into the pot.
You must also agree on a minimum and maximum bet that a player can make to continue the round and a limit on how high a bet can be raised.
Now, you’re ready to deal.
Starting The Game – The Deal
Once you’ve selected a player to be the dealer, make sure that you shuffle the deck of cards. This is the only time the deck will be mixed unless it was seen and won.
The deal moves clockwise, and the dealer will give each player three cards, one at a time, ensuring that the cards are facing down.
It’s entirely up to you to view your cards, but your hand must be kept secret from your opponents.
Players may only view another person’s cards if a round ends with a “see.”
Okay, so before I explain the rules of three brag card games, I will talk you through the ranking of the cards. I always advise that it’s much better to familiarize yourself with this before you start playing to avoid pauses mid-game.
So, starting with the lowest:
- High Card – A hand containing three cards that don’t include any combinations will need to depend on the highest card they have.
- Pair – Any two matching cards in your hand.
- Flush – Three cards of the same suit, though not in a sequence.
- Run – Three cards of sequence, for example, 6, 7, 8, of any suit.
- Running Flush – This hand beats any run and must include three cards of the same suit and in sequence. For example, 2, 3, 4 of clubs. A, 2, 3 is the highest running flush, and A, K, and Q are the second highest.
- Prial – Three cards of equal ranking, for example, three Queens.
Now that you’re clear on the ranking rules, let’s learn about the gameplay.
3 Brag Card Game – Rules and Play
So, hopefully, by this point, you’re fully set up and loaded with all the key points you need to start playing Three Card Brag. So, let’s learn the rules.
The person to place a bet can choose one of two options:
- Fold: Throwing down their cards and risking their entire ante.
- Bet: Place a bet within the minimum and maximum allowance.
If all but one player decides to fold, that one player takes the pot, and the round is over.
If you decide to place a bet, players taking their turn after you must either match your bet or raise it, or if they don’t want to take the risk, they can fold. You will notice, at this point, that the rules for three card brag are pretty similar to that of poker. If you’re unfamiliar with them and want to learn more and spice things up, you can do this with my simple guide to playing strip poker.
So, back to the gameplay. Let’s say most players have opted to fold, and there are now only two players left in the game; another rule comes into play, which allows you to double the previous bet and ask for the other remaining player’s cards to be revealed.
If your cards are better than the cards your opponent’s, you win the pot. However, if the other player has the higher hand, they win the pot instead. If both your hands are equal, you (the player who asked to see) lose the round. I referred to this earlier as the game ending with a “see.”
The game can only end when only a single player remains in the round, or a see has taken place.
Run Out of Chips?
If the scenario arises where you have run out of cash but still want to continue in a round, then there is something you can do known as covering the pot.
What happens here is that you can use all your remaining chips that weren’t accounted for in this game and place all your cards face down, covering the top of the pot.
The game continues with the rest of the players using a new pot to place their bets. Once this round is over and the winning hand has been revealed, the winning hand is compared with the cards covering the pot. If the hand that won the new pot beats the hand covering the new pot, this hand wins the lot.
Extra Rules – Playing Blind
I mentioned earlier that when you’re dealt your cards at the very beginning of the game, it’s up to you whether or not you look at them. If you have decided not to look, otherwise known as “playing blind,” and all your opponents opt to fold that round, you get to hold on to your hand for the next game, yet you’ll still be dealt a fresh set of three cards in the next round. Now you have three options; you can either look at your original hand, look at your new hand, or play a double-blind.
If you choose to look at one of the hands, you must either play it or fold it right away. If you decide to play it, you must discard or fold the other hand. However, if you choose to fold the hand you took a peek at, you then have the option to play the other hand, but it must be played blind.
If you decide to play both hands blindly, and everyone else folds again, you must now give up one of your hands. It’s impossible to have three hands at any point in the game.
So, that’s my step-by-step breakdown of how to play three card brag. I hope I have made it simple enough to follow so that you can feel confident teaching your friends and family how to play.
Once you’ve got this version down to a tee, there are things you can introduce and other variations that can make the game a little more challenging, such as a four or five-card brag, which involves more cards, and means that at the start of the game, you discard one or two cards to bring your hand down to three. In the case of a tie in these games, the cards you discard are the deciders.
You can also introduce wild cards to the game, such as one-eyed Jacks or Jokers. Practically whatever you like. Ensure that you agree on the cards and their meaning before you begin the game. These can’t be introduced halfway through just because you’ve landed yourself one.
Wildcards can also be used to represent any other card in the deck. However, if a player has a natural winning hand of the same value as yours, your winning hand with a wildcard becomes null and void, meaning the fewer wild cards you have, the better.