THE HISTORY OF three card poker

Publsihed 28/09/2020

Some argue the origin of Three Card Poker derived from an Italian game called ‘Primero’ or the Spanish game similarly named ‘Primera’. The game grew in popularity across mainland Europe before arriving in the UK; where the name changed to Bragg (or Brag as it was later known). The game was then later developed into Three Card Poker which is available to play in Rainbow Casino and across the world. This blog looks at the evolution of the game starting with Primero.


This game is translated as ‘first’ and ironically is referenced as the first card game in Italian literature. Originally played with 40 cards, instead of the standard 52 card deck of today. The game combines elements of gambling and calling someone’s bluff which is often associated with Poker. Hands such as ‘four of a kind’ and ‘flushes’ have remained, yet ‘partial’ flushes have not. Straights and pairs were not part of primero.

Bragg (Brag)

Bragg is the British adaptation of Primero and is a lot more aligned to the game of poker played worldwide today. A 52 card deck is used and the hand rankings are similar too. In Bragg, three of a kind is the best possible hand to have, whereas a straight flush is the winning hand in poker. These rankings would later change when the five card version of the same was introduced.

Casino Brag/ Three Card Poker

In 1994, Derek Webb, an Englishman saw a gap in the market and begun to convert Bragg into one suitable for casino tables. To make this a game where a player played against the house, elements such as bluffing, checking and the double bet had to be removed. In their place, the introduction of the ante bonus and pair plus were added. These changes provided a blend of the traditional game and incorporated something more suited to a casino setting.

Due to gambling regulations in the UK, Webb could not launch the game here; instead he launched the game in America. The name ‘Casino Brag’ was not very relatable to the American market as the word ‘Brag’ was more of a European word. To make the game a success, the name changed to Three Card Poker.

2002 saw the relaxation of gambling regulations in the UK which allowed the game to be played in Rainbow Casino venues and across the country.

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