Four Card Poker Guide – How to Play, Strategies, and Tips

Four card poker logo

Casino players, particularly poker aficionados will enjoy this relatively new card game called Four Card Poker, invented by Roger Snow and operated by Shuffle Master. Four Card Poker is a variant of poker that is played in which each participant squares off against the house, instead of playing against other players. Unlike Three Card Poker and Caribbean stud, there is no dealer qualifying rule in order to play.

If how to play Four Card Poker is not your thing; there are other guides about other variants of poker, such as a guide on playing Three Card Poker, then, by all means, read articles and check out our reviews as well. You’ll learn more about card games these casinos offer by reading these reviews; like Slots.lv no deposit bonus review, Double Diamond slots review, Microgaming slots review, and Vegas Crest casino review to name a few.

Features Four Card Poker

Those who play Four Card Poker know these features. A head-to-head play against the dealer and an optional side bet called Aces Up, which wins when a player’s final hand contains a three-of-a-kind or better. It’s similar to Three Card Poker but with one major difference: In Three Card Poker, the play wager must equal the ante; in Four Card Poker, players may wager up to three times their ante when staying in the game.

Pros and Cons of Four Card Poker

A quick look at some of the good sides and bad sides of Four Card Poker.

Pros

  • Players only had to play against the dealer, making the odds of winning better.
  • The side bet is on play regardless of the outcome of the game (optional depending on casino rules).
  • A player can raise up to three times the Ante bet, unlike other poker games.
  • A Bonus is paid to the player with at least three of a kind, regardless of the outcome will be.

Cons

  • All players get five cards each while the dealer gets six cards.
  • Even though there are seven pay tables are available, only one is actually used (pay table 5).

Four Card Poker Terminologies

  1. Ante bet- is an initial bet in which all players put an equal amount of money or chips into the pot before the deal begins.
  2. Aces up bet- is a side bet wagering that your hand will contain a pair of aces or better.
  3. House edge- is the term that is used to describe the advantage that the casino has over the player.
  4. Dealer’s hand- the person who deals the card to be used in card games.
  5. Ante bonus- is paid on the ante wager for a straight or better.
  6. Pay table- a table of values determining the payouts for various outcomes at the game.
  7. Straight flush- (in poker or brag) a hand of cards in the same suit and in a continuous sequence (for example, the seven, eight, nine, ten, and jack of spades).
  8. Four of a kind- also known as quads, is a hand that contains four cards of the same rank and one card of another rank as the kicker.
  9. Three of a kind- also known as trips or a set, is a hand that contains three cards of the same rank and two cards of two other ranks as the kickers.
  10. Flush- is a hand that contains five cards all of the same suit, not all of the sequential rank.
  11. Two pair- is a hand that contains two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank, and one card of a third rank as the kicker.

Four Card Poker Rules

Like most poker games this has its own set of rules, and these are as follows:

  1. The play begins with the player making independent wagers on the Ante and the Aces Up.
  2. All players get five cards each and the dealer gets six cards. One of the dealer’s cards is dealt face-up, and five faces down. The dealer is given a sixth card that is used to make the best four-card hand.
  3. Players must decide if to make the original Ante bet pushes and raise the bet or just fold.
  4. If the player folds he forfeits his Ante bet. He may or may not forfeit his Aces Up bet, depending on casino rules. It shouldn’t matter because if the player has a paying Aces Up bet, he shouldn’t be folding anyway.
  5. If a player raises, the minimum bet you can make must be equal to your original bet and at most, three times the Ante.
  6. The player keeps his best four cards and discards one.
  7. Following are the hand rankings from lowest to highest: high card, pair, two pair, straight, flush, three of a kind, straight flush, four of a kind.
  8. After all, decisions have been made, the dealer will turn over his cards and select the best four out of six.
  9. The player’s hand shall be compared to the dealer’s hand, the higher hand winning.
  10. If the dealer’s card is higher, then the player loses the Ante and Raise.
  11. If the player’s hand is higher or equal then the player wins even money on both the Ante and Raise.
  12. If the player has at least a three of a kind, then he shall also be paid a Bonus, regardless if the dealer beats your hand or not.

Four Card Poker Strategies

This game also requires you to play with optimal strategy to win.

Basic Strategy

The basic strategy for one who wants to be a winner.

  • Raise 3X with a pair of tens or higher.
  • Raise 1X with a pair of twos to nines.
  • Fold all other combinations.

 According to the second edition of “Beyond Counting” by James Grosjean, this “simple strategy” results in a house edge of 3.396%.

Intermediate Strategy

Intermediate strategy for winning hands.

  • Pair of Aces or better: Bet 3X
  • Pair of Js, Qs, Ks: Bet 3X if the dealer’s upcard is lower than your pair or matches a rank in your hand, otherwise bet 1X
  • Pair of 9s, 10s: Bet 1X if the dealer’s upcard outranks your pair, otherwise bet 3X
  • Pair of 8s: Bet 3X if dealer’s upcard is a 2, otherwise bet 1X
  • Pair of 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s: Bet 1X
  • Pair of 2s or AKQ: Bet 1X if the dealer’s upcard matches a rank in your hand, otherwise fold
  • Fold all others.

Against the 2-20-25 Ante Bonus pay table, the house edge is 2.8526% and the element of risk is 1.3233%. The house edge is dependant on the pay schedule but is usually around 3.63 percent.

Advanced Strategy

Advanced strategy for Four Card Poker enthusiast.

  • Pair of Aces or better: Bet 3X
  • Pair of Ks: Bet 3X, except bet 1X against an Ace and you don’t have an Ace nor 4.
  • Pair of Js or Qs: Bet 3X, except bet 1X if the dealer’s card
  • outranks pair your pair rank and does not match a singleton in your
  • hand.
  • Pair of 9s or 10s: Bet 3X, except bet 1X if dealer card outranks your pair rank.
  • Pair of 8s: Bet 1X, except bet 3X against a 2
  • Pair of 4s thru 7s: Bet 1X
  • Pair of 3s: Bet 1X, except fold against a Jack if your highest kicker is a 10 or lower
  • Pair of 2s or AKQ: Fold, except bet 1X if dealer card matches a rank in your hand
  • AKJT: Fold, except bet 1X against a Jack
  • AKJ9 or lower: Fold

Four Card Poker Payouts and Bonuses

A bonus is paid if the player has a three of a kind, flush straight(20-1), or four of a kind (25-1). This bonus payment is paid out even if the dealer’s hand is better than the player’s; however, in this situation, the player would still lose their ante and play bets. Bonus that is paid in addition to the Ante and play bet, based on the player’s hand for the Ante game, and two different pay tables are available for the Bonus.

Crazy 4 Poker uses poker terms similar to 4-Card Poker but the Aces Up wager is replaced by a Super Bonus bet. The super bonus bet pays off according to the their pay table.

The payout for a win can range from 1-1 for a pair of aces to 50-1 for four of a kind, the best possible hand. Various payout variations are possible, depending on the casino, resulting in a house edge ranging from 1.98% to 6.15%.

In addition to the Ante and Play bet, 4-Card Poker also offers an Ante Bonus paid based on the player’s Ante game hand. Players are paid the Ante Bonus even if the dealer wins the hand.

The most common pay table for the bonus payout is:

Hand Ante Bonus Payouts

Four of a Kind 25 to 1

Straight Flush 20 to 1

Three of a Kind 2 to 1

Aces Up does not depend on the dealer’s hand. Players that make a pair of Aces or better are paid on the Aces Up bet based on the Aces Up pay table. A pair of aces pays even money. Players can win an Aces Up wager even if they lose the Ante bet.

Four Card Poker Tips

  • The key is to consider your five-hole cards, and the dealer’s one-up card carefully. For instance, the dealer is showing a king, and you have a pair of kings in your hand. Chances are he won’t make a pair of kings.
  • For “Aces Up,” you simply table your hand and see what you have. Simple as that.
  • If you have a pair of face cards like jacks, queens, or kings. You might only bet 3X when the dealer’s exposed card is lower than your pair. If it’s bigger, like an ace, you might consider lowering it to either 1X or 2X.
  • You win if your four-card hand is at least a pair of aces, the higher the poker rank the better.
  • Make better decisions involving when to make the play wager and how much to wager.

Conclusion

This Four Card Poker game all packaged with the Shuffle Master brand and quality tested will give you continuous satisfaction, just like sports betting, whether you play as a beginner, intermediate, or advanced.

Advanced players may reduce the house edge further, but I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. You probably shouldn’t worry so much about the house edge anyway. Just have a fun game and enjoy your moment.

Once you know hand rankings and the rules in playing the four cards game. Practice with your friends and learn first the basic strategy. There is no perfect strategy for beginners. As a neophyte, you must not wager money at first, just try to familiarize yourself with the game; get the hang of it and enjoy. Don’t get so excited about the ante play.

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