How to Interpret the Three Card Draw

The 3 Card Layout:

The 3 Card Layout is the perfect spread to use for daily guidance, or to answer a question quickly.   This layout provides a good amount of information regarding a specific question, topic or situation.  I like to use the 3 Card Layout at the end of a longer reading to address any questions the querent may still have, or to provide more information on a topic the querent wants to know more about.

For this layout I choose 3 cards at random and lay them out in the order in which I chose them.


The cards are then read from left to right like reading a sentence on a page: 

  • The first card can be read as “the premise” of the situation, or it may
    indicate the past influences on the matter.

  • The second card represents the actual question, problem or situation, and
    often reflects the current influences on the matter.

  • The third card indicates the outcome or result, and has the strongest
    effect on the final interpretation of the layout.

The interpretation of each card in the layout is influenced and modified by the card falling on top of it to the right.  The final card bears the most influence, and if a “good” card falls last, it can nullify the negative effects of any “bad” cards falling under it.  If the issue at hand is a specific question, the final card will provide the answer.

The action in the layout also moves from left to right:

  • The first card indicates what action the seeker takes.

  • The second card indicates what action the seeker shares.

  • The third card indicates what action the seeker receives.

For yes/no questions, 2 red cards indicate a “yes,” and two black cards indicate a “no.”

Sample 3-Card Layout:

Here is an example of an actual 3-Card Layout I did this morning, May 16, 2007.  I asked the cards a specific question about a female friend from college that I have not heard from in a couple of years.  My question was: “Will this friend contact me?”  Here are the  playing cards I pulled:


  • 4 of Clubs
  • 3 of Clubs
  • Queen of Diamonds

I was surprise at first by the Queen of Diamonds because I wouldn’t have immediately associated my friend with this particular card.  I did expect a queen to show up, but I guess I thought she would be more in line with my friend’s physical coloring.  But then I realized that the Queen of Diamonds is the best card to represent her energy and intelligence.

The 4 of Clubs can indicate a form of electronic communication such as a telephone call or an email.  So I can see right away that the cards are on track with answering my question.  Because the 4 of Clubs falls first, in the spot that would indicate me taking action, it looks like I’m going to be the one to initiate the contact and reconnect with my friend.

The 3 of Clubs indicates good luck and success, so if I make the effort to track her down, I should not have a problem finding her.  All Clubs indicate activity, thinking and talking, so it may be that I can reach my friend through other mutual acquaintances.  Also in the number 2 spot of “shared action,”  the 3 of Clubs would indicate that she’s been thinking about contacting me a well.

The Queen of Diamonds represents my friend, and as the final card also represents the outcome, result or answer to my question.  The red suits of the playing cards are usually considered positive, so the basic answer to my question is “yes.”  My friend will contact me, but only after I make an effort to reach her first.

Now I understand why the cards chose to represent my friend as the Queen of Diamonds as opposed to the expected Queen of Spades based on her dark hair and eyes.  If the Queen of Spades had fallen last, it would have indicated a definite “no” to my answer.  And this layout would have indicated that although I would probably have been successful in reaching her, she would not have responded to my contact.


12 thoughts on “How to Interpret the Three Card Draw

  1. Hi and thanks for this informative post. I remember reading some of your other words of wisdom elsewhere (facebook? another post here??) that in a three card spread the first card represents the querent’s actions, the second card what is exchanged between the parties, and the third card another person’s actions. It looks like in your example this interpretation meshed nicely with the past-present-future or premise-question-outcome meanings you’ve outlined here. Since this was an example involving you and another person that makes sense. Do you decide beforehand how you’ll interpret or do all of these positional meanings (past-premise-querent actions/present-question-exchange/future-result-other person’s actions) just flow together naturally?


  2. Thank you, Annie. I’m glad you found the post informative. 🙂

    For me, the interpretation always depends on both the context of the question, and the specific cards that appear in the spread. The first card always sets the tone for the reading, and the final card always shows the outcome of the matter. For more specific information, I look at the flow of action within the trio to see what the querent gives and receives in the situation. Most of the time both structures prove meaningful and relevant.

  3. I did a card reading this morning just so that i can start learning and would like some help if you dont mind. I asked the cards how my day would turn out and i got 4 spades, 8 hearts and a jack of hearts?

    1. No, for me electronic equipment is ruled by the Diamond suit. The Clubs rule social activities, and although the telephone is an electronic apparatus, its influence in our lives is predominantly social. So for example, the 6 of Diamonds represents a computer. The combination 6 of Diamonds and 4 of Clubs can refer to social media, or even a Skype call.

  4. Hi David, today i have my daily three cards draw, and i got 8s-1d-6c, than also my wife ask for a daily three cards draw and she got 1d-6c-4c. As you can see both of us we got the same pair: 1d followed by 6c! Statistically very improbable, so i was very interested about those cards.
    I think it could be something that we will happen to us together. Now i am thinking that after a few hours, we invited by chat a friend of us to have a videocall on skype, and he after few minutes videocalled us and we had a conversation. Could it be the meaning of 1D-6C? We sent to him a writing message (1D), than he called us to have a conversation (6C). I don’t know if i am forcing the interpretation. I would like to have your opinion. Thanks very much, have a GREAT day! Mirko

    1. Hi Mirko. No, I don’t think you are forcing the interpretation in the least. Those are primary meanings for AD and 6C. I’d say that your cards are speaking to you. It’s amazing how both you and your wife drew the same cards revealing a shared experience! This is why I think drawing daily cards can be so much fun and such a great way to learn the language of the cards.

      1. Thanks David for your opinion! Yes I find the daily spread a big help to understand the cards! I am really in love with playing cards, and this thank to you, really! I have some book of cartomancy and also the handbook of Regina Russell, but in my opinion your teaching are the best for me! If one day you will write a book, I will definitely buy it! Thanks!

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