How To Play Brag Card Game {Ultimate Guide}

Date:2023-12-02 Category: Games

You may not heard a lot about this ancient British game, but you better know that Brag is one of the ancestors of your favorite game, Poker. In fact, the game is pretty much the same as three-card Poker. Brag dates back to the early 18th century and has been popular in Britain since. According to Henry George Bohn and his popular game guidebook called The Hand-Book of Games, the Three Card Brag was the third most popular among British people.


What we know as the Brag card game and play today varies from its original version in gameplay and rules. Modern Brag or Three Card Brag is what you will mainly see at online casinos. In this guide, you will learn everything about Brag and its modern version, from rules, gameplay, and payouts to simplified winning strategies and the best online casinos to play the game for real money.

Brag Card Game Setup: Land-Based VS Online Setting

Things change when you play the game at home with friends and family compared to when it is played for real money at a physical or online casino. In the casino setting, you will be playing against the dealer(the house or software) rather than other players. It means, unlike the classic game where bluffing plays an important role, you cannot bluff your way out of a sucker hand. But it also means you will not be bluffed by others, as dealers never bluff.


How To Play Brag: What Are The Rules, Objective, And Scoring?

Unlike poker, where you should create the best 5-card hand, Brag is played with 3 cards(hence the name).


Your objective is to win the pot by being the last player who did not fold OR having the highest ranking hand at the showdown.

Basic Rules

The game is played using a standard deck of 52 cards, regardless of where you play it. Like every poker game, players have to place a mandatory bet called Ante to be eligible to play the game. But how much is the size of the Ante bet? It depends on the house. If you play at home setting, you can agree on the amount beforehand. But at the casino, the house will specify the Min&Max betting limits as well as the valid amount of Ante bets.


Card Values and Hand Ranks

Although card values are the same, the hand rankings are different between Brag and Poker. Aces are the highest cards, while deuces are the lowest(A→K→Q→J→10→9→8→7→6→5→4→3→2).  Let’s review hand ranks from lowest to highest.

Brag Card Game Hand Rankings From Weakest to Strongest

Hand Ranking Description Example
High Card Weakest hand Any card combination A♣ K♠ J♥
Pair 2nd weak hand Two cards in the same rank. 2♥ 2♣ K♦
Flush 3rd weak hand Three cards in the same suit. A♣ K♣ J♣
Run 3rd best hand Three sequential cards, regardless of suit. A♣ K♥ Q♦
Running Flush 2nd best hand Three sequential cards in the same suit. A♥ 2♥ 3♥
Prial Best possible hand(Strongest) Three cards in the same rank. A♦ A♠ A♥

Hand Rankings: What Beats What?

  1. Three 3s is the best hand and beats every other hand. Then three As, three Ks, down to three 2s.
  2. A-2-3 is the highest Running Flush. Then A-K-Q, down to 4-3-2.
  3. A-2-3 is the highest Run, then A-K-Q, down to 4-3-2.
  4. If players tie with a flush, the card ranks will be compared, with Aces being the highest and 2s the lowest.
  5. If players tie with a pair, the rank of the pair will be compared. If it is still a tie, the rank of cards will be compared to break the tie.
  6. When no player has a winning hand, high cards should be compared. If multiple players have high card hands; first, the highest card in each hand will be compared. Then, the 2nd highest and, finally, the lowest card will be compared to determine the winner.


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When everyone places their Antes, the dealer deals three cards face-down to each player. The player left to the dealer is first to act. They have two options:


  • Play(or make a bet).
  • Fold and leave the round.


If you choose to play, you must place a bet equal to your ante. Then the action continues to the next player with the following options:


  • Fold and leave the round,
  • Call or match the bet made by the previous player,
  • Raise the bet amount.


If you play the classic version, the betting continues until one player is left and wins the pot, or two players remain and go to the showdown. At this point, one player can “call” or “see” the other player’s bet by putting in twice the current amount wagered. If the player with revealed cards has the stronger hand, the other player won’t reveal cards and folds. Otherwise, they reveal cards according to the hand rankings explained above; the player with the highest ranking hand wins. The dealer position rotates clockwise to the next player, and the next round begins without shuffling the deck of cards.


If you play three-card Brag online, you will decide to play or fold only once. Because the three-card Brag played online only allows for one round of betting. When you choose to play and place a bet, you directly go to the showdown with the dealer and your hand will be evaluated according to the classic Brag hand rankings. But how the dealer’s hand will be evaluated?

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The Dealer’s Hand

Like Casino Hold’em and Caribbean Poker, the dealer’s hand must qualify before they can compare hands with the player. In Three Card Brag, the dealer’s hand only qualifies if they hold a Queen high or better. There will be four possible scenarios according to the dealer’s and player’s hands:

Dealer’s Hand Qualifies Winning Hand Outcome
No Does not matter It is considered as a push. Your bet is returned, and your ante pays out 1:1.
Yes Player You win your ante and your play bets and will be paid 1:1.
Yes Dealer You lose both bets.
Yes Tie Both bets are a push, and your bets return to you.

5 Best Brag Strategies

5 Best Brag Strategies

  1. When playing three-card Brag, choose Play or place a bet only if you have a strong hand with a high chance of winning.
  2. Never bet big or chase your losses.
  3. Master your bluffing skills. It will come in handy when you play at a physical casino or a poker table.
  4. Make sure to learn and practice the Brag hand rankings before playing for real money.
  5. Always fold any hand lower than a hand of Q-6-4. Why? Because in the three-card Brag, the dealer will qualify with a Q high or better. So, you would have no chance of winning with a hand weaker than that.


Where Can You Play Brag: 3 Best Real Money Online Casinos For US Players

If you visit Vegas, you can be sure to find a Brag table at nearly every casino on the Vegas Strip. But it does not mean that you have to go to Vegas to play the game. Thanks to Playtech company, since 2019, players from the US and all around the world can enjoy playing Britain’s most popular card game from the comfort of their homes.


Online casinos that work with Playtech company also offer live dealer three-card Brag tables. Live dealer games are more interactive with HD streaming quality, making the experience even more authentic. The top three online casinos available to US players are:


Online Casino Welcome Bonus Availability Across US Crypto Banking
Fanduel $1,000 All States No
888 Casino and Poker 50% Up to $2,000 NJ, DE, and NV No
BetMGM $1,000 16 States, including NJ No


Wrap-Up: Should You Play Three Card Brag?

Yes. The game has fairly easy rules and gameplay to learn. However, you need to master the hand rankings and practice enough before risking your hard-earned money. The classic version of the game is similar to poker with simplified rules like using 3 cards instead of 5. On the other hand, the modern version of the game, Three Card Brag, is a single-stake, fast-paced game quite similar to three-card poker. In other words, you can experience the simplicity of Brag and the complexity of poker at the same time. So, if you have not tried the game yet, I suggest you give it a shot today.


Happy Bragging!

Brag Card Game FAQs:

  • What Are Payouts For Brag Bets?

    Typically, the payouts are even money unless you play online and the casino lists differing odds. Also, you may find side bets with higher payouts at some online casinos.

  • What Does “Play Blind” In Brag Card Game?

    It means you do not look at your cards when you are dealt and you play without knowing what you have been dealt. In this case, all your bets will be worth double.

  • What Happened If Players Tie At 3 Card Brag?

    If no tie-breaker works, the pot will be split among the tied players.

  • What Is The Difference Between Three Card Poker And Three Card Brag?

    The hand rankings and the names of the hands differ between the two. The highest hand in three-card poker is Straight Flush, while in three-card Brag, the highest hand is Prial.

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