3 Card Brag The Complete Guide

3 card brag rules3 Card Brag is my personal favourite card game of all time. Here we look at the rules, how to play, betting structures and hand rankings to make sure everyone know exactly whats going on!

This is an easy game to play but the rules can get a little tricky and cause some tension when large sums of money are concerned.

3 card brag is a pure gambling game and would appear to be all about gambling and how much bottle you have. Although that is true to some extent as shown in Lock Stock and Two Smokin Barrels there is a bit more to it than was portrayed in Guy Ritchie’s film.

A game of brag starts with 2 or more players, normally a maximum of 6 players (not official rules but common sense) can sit at the table.

When only 2 players exist the game can still be played however, it’s often just played as a game of turnovers where both players ante a higher amount, deal and turn over the cards straight away.

If you are looking for a quick guide here it is below, if you want to know everything then please read on….

3 Card Brag Rules Quick Reference

  • All players ante before dealing any cards
  • The deal moves round to the next player after each hand
  • Play always moves in a clockwise direction
  • The cards are never shuffled unless a prial has been dealt
  • 333 is the highest hand
  • A-2-3 Is the highest run or straight
  • A run beats a flush
  • An open player cannot raise a blind man
  • A blind man can raise an open player
  • If players show the same hand at showdown, the player that called loses

There are some unusual terms and phrases used in 3 card brag that may be unfamiliar. Before we get down to explaining everything it would be beneficial to many readers to get to grips withe the lingo used.

3 Card Brag Lingo Explained

  • Blind = A player who has not yet seen their cards
  • Open = A player who has looked at their cards
  • Prial = 3 of a kind
  • Run = Also know as a straight, 3 cards in number order i.e 2-3-4
  • Flush = 3 cards of the same suit
  • Running Flush = 3 cards in number order and the same suit i.e 5-6-7 all hearts
  • pot: Where the money that is bet goes, normally in the middle of the table

The Game of 3 Card Brag Dealing and Betting

To begin a game the first dealer must be chosen. To do this simply shuffle the deck and deal each player 1 card face up. The player with teh highest card deals first and aces are high for this part of the game only after which they can be either 1 or 11.

The cards are now shuffled for the first time and are never shuffled again unless a prial is dealt in the game. Every player taking part places an ante in the pot let’s say £1, and each player is dealt 3 cards one at a time face down in a clockwise direction.

The first player t act is to the left of the dealer and then in order around the table in the same direction. The minimum bet is always the same as the ante unless it is raised in which case that must be at least match.

You have 2 options when betting:

1: Don’t look at your cards and bet blind

By not looking you are taking a risk, but any player who has looked has to bet double what you as a blind man bet. You cannot be raised unless it’s by another blind bettor, but you can raise and make any player open pay double your bet.

2: Look at your cards and bet open

When you’ve seen your cards you are “open” and must pay double the bet of any blind man and/or match that of any open player.

It’s important to know you cannot raise a blind man when you are open so don’t try as your raise means you will have to pay more each time and anyone blind can stay the same!

You can of course fold and take no further part in the hand.