OBJECT OF 3-CARD LOO: The object of 3-card Loo is to win bids and collect stakes from other players.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 5 to 16 players. 

MATERIALS: A standard deck of 52 cards, chips or money for bidding, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Rams Card Game



3-Card Loo is a Rams card game. The goal is to win as many tricks as possible so you can win stakes.

Players should determine before the game begins how much a stake will be worth.


The first dealer is chosen at random and passes to the left for each new deal.

For 3-card Loo the dealer places 3 stakes in the pot and deals each player and an additional 3 card hand to the side. This is called Miss. The remaining cards are placed facedown near the dealer and the top card is revealed to determine the trump suit for the round.

Card Ranking

The ranking for 3-Card Loo is Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low). Both games have trumps suits that rank over the other suits.


3-card Loo starts with players making their announcements to either play or fold. Starting with the player left of the dealer, each player must decide to either fold or play. If they decide to play, they may also have the option to exchange for the miss. If no other player has done it before them, they may exchange their hand for the miss without seeing it prior. They may not change their mind after seeing the miss and must play the round.

If all players fold before the dealer, the dealer automatically wins the pot. If a player exchanges or decides to play and all other players fold, then they win the pot. Finally, if at least one other player before the dealer plays, but does not exchange for the miss the dealer has two options. The dealer may play either exchanging or not or may decide to defend the miss. If choosing the later the dealer plays but will not win or lose anything for the round, only the other player will win or lose according to the round’s outcome. If none of the above applied, then a traditional game is played.

Starting with the player closes to the dealers left who is playing they will lead the first trick. They must lead the ace of trumps (or the king if the ace was revealed during setup) if they cannot, the must lead a trump, and the highest one they have if playing with only one opponent.  If no trumps at all, any card may be led.

Following players must always try to win within the requirements listed. A player must follow suit if able, and if not must play a trump if able. If not able to follow the above restrictions, you may play any card.

The trick is won by the highest trump, if applicable, if not by the highest card of the suit led. The winner leads the next trick and must lead a trump if able.

Play continues until all tricks are won.


In 3-card Loo each trick earns the winner a third of the pot. Any player who wins no tricks must pay three stakes into the current pot after payouts.


The game ends when players wish to stop playing. There is no set number of rounds, though each player may want to be dealer an equal number of times, so it is fair to all players.

Amber Crook
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