Here is an explanation into 3 card brag hands, how they rank and what beat what! Three card brag has a unique hand ranking system based around the number 3. Whereas in three card poker, the best hand you could hope to achieve would be three aces, in 3 card brag, the best hand is a “prial” of 3s (three 3s), with three aces coming next in the rankings.

Similarly the best “running flush” (a three card straight flush) is A23, rather than AKQ, along with the best “run” (three card straight). However, a pair of 3s has no enhanced ranking and only beats a pair of 2s or a hand containing no better than a high card.

Quick 3 Card Brag Hand Rankings:

  • A Prial – 333 is highest hand, then A-A-A, K-K-K, and so on.
  • A Running Flush – A Run all same suit, A-2-3 highest followed by A-K-Q, K-Q-J etc
  • A Run – 123 is highest, followed A-K-Q, K-Q-J Etc
  • A Flush – A-K-J is highest flush, followed by A-K-10 and so on, all 3 cards play.
  • A Pair – A-A-K is the hiest as again all 3 cards count.
  • High Card – Ace, then King, Then queen and so on. All 3 cards play in a tie so A-k-J would beat A-K-10

Another notable difference is that a run or straight beats a flush and similarly to poker, no one suit is better than another and AK2 does not make up a run.

The order of 3 Card Brag hands is listed below.

Ranking Best Hand 2nd Best 3rd Best Worst
Prial (3 of a kind)
333
AAA
KKK
222
Running Flush*
A23
AKQ
JQK
234
Run or Straight**
A23
AKQ
JQK
234
Flush
AKJ
AK10
AK9
235
A Pair
AA
KK
QQ
22
High Card
A
K
Q
5

* Cards must be of the same suit
**Cards maybe of any suit



Knowing Your Odds in Three Card Brag

There are 22.100 different combinations of cards that can be dealt in three card brag, so the chances of hitting a prial of threes on the deal are extremely remote (There are 4 combinations, and therefore odds of 5524/1).

However, it is worth knowing that approximately only one in three hands will be dealt any better than a high card, and even when your opponent may have been dealt a pair, the odds of converting that into a prial is 23/1, allowing you the opportunity to improve on your hand by drawing a card that will give you a run or a flush.

Chance of being dealt any hand pre draw

Hand Frequency % Chance
Prial – 333
4
0.0002
Running Flush
48
0.2172
Any Prial
52
0.2353
Run
720
3.2579
Flush
1096
4.9593
Pair
3744
16.9412
High Card
16440
74.3891
Total
22100
100%

As you can see the chance of getting a running flush are slightly less than a prial even though a prial is ranked higher. Don’t blame me I didn’t make the rules I just write about them!!

Now lets look at the chances of completing a hand when drawing cards when playing 3 card brag online.

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Chance of Completion: Drawing Hands

Drawing Hand Chances of Competion % Chance
Two Suited Cards to a Flush
1 in 4.3
22.9%
Pair into a Prial
1 in 24
4.2%
Open Ended Run
1 in 6
16.7%
Inside Run
1 in 12
8.3%
Running Flush (open at both ends)
1 in 24
4.2%
Running Flush (inside only)
1 in 48
2.1%
Holding one Card and Getting at Least a Pair
1 in 3.9
25.6%

A lot of hands can change drastically during the draw, so it is worth bearing this mind when considering your Three Card Brag Betting Strategy during the first round of betting.

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