How to Play Four Card Poker – A Brief Overview
Four Card Poker is played on a blackjack-type table with a single deck of 52 cards. The steps to playing this poker variant are as follows:
- Each player has to place an ante bet before the cards are dealt. The players bet they will have a hand of at least a pair (or better).
- The dealer then provides each player with a hand of five cards face-down to make their best four-card hand.
- The dealer keeps six cards for themselves to make their four-card poker hand.
- After looking at their five cards, the players can either:
If you fold or forfeit, the hand is over, and the dealer will take your ante wager.
If you look at your hand and believe it can beat the dealer’s, you place a second wager, i.e., raise.
The play wager needs to be 1 to 3x the ante for you to stay in the game. All “Ante” and “Aces Up” bets must be placed before the dealer announces no more bets.
- After you and the rest of the participants have taken action on your hands, the dealer reveals their four-card poker hand.
- The dealer then compares their hand to that of each player. If your hand ties or beats the dealer’s, your ante and Play bets win 1 to 1. If your hand loses, both your ante and Play bets lose.
Ante Bet and Aces Up
Four Card Poker consists of the ante bet and Aces Up bet. That means you have to place a wager on one of these bets. However, you can place bets on both.
The Aces Up Bet
As mentioned, the Aces Up bet is a wager that your hand will contain a pair of aces (or better). If you have an aces pair, you will get a 1-to-1 payout on your bet. The dealer will pay you better odds if you have a better hand. Below are the possible payouts for the Aces Up bet:
|Four-of-a-Kind||50 to 1|
|Straight Flush||40 to 1|
|Three-of-a-Kind||8 to 1|
|Flush||5 to 1|
|Straight||4 to 1|
|Two Pairs||3 to 1|
|A Pair of Aces||1 to 1|
You lose your Aces Up bet if your hand does not consist of at least a pair of aces. Note that this kind of bet does not depend on the ante, which means it does not matter what the dealer has. This is merely betting on the strength of your hand.
The Ante Bet
After you place your ante bet, you look at your card. You must then look at the dealer’s face-up card. Based on that, you decide whether you want to play or fold. You must place a bet on the Play spot if you choose to play.
If you choose the latter option, you push your cards to the dealer and give up your ante bet. As it is apparent, this format is different from its Three Card counterpart, making the play wager equal to the ante. If your hand beats the dealer’s, you receive a 1-to-1 payout. If there is a tie, you win.
If you place an ante and play wager, you receive an “Automatic Bonus” if your hand consists of the top three (shown in the table below). Though this is rare, you become eligible even if you lose to the dealer.
|Four-of-a-Kind||25 to 1|
|Straight Flush||20 to 1|
|Three-of-a-Kind||2 to 1|
When you bet the Aces up and the ante wager together, you play against two different paytables with different payout criteria. If you place both ante and Aces Up wager and choose not to place a Play wager, you will forfeit the ante bet, but not the Aces Up bet.
Once all the bets are made, the dealer will reveal their cards. They will then select the best four-card combination from their six cards.
No Qualifying Hand
Most casino card games require a qualifying hand for the dealer’s participation. For instance, the dealer’s hand must have a queen-high or better to qualify in the Three Card variant. If that is not the case, the dealer must pay the player’s ante bets 1 to 1, but the Play bets are returned.
In Four Card Poker, you do not have to concern yourself with that detail since the qualifying requirement does not exist. Each hand plays - that means you will always be in action.
Progressive Jackpot Bets
Some casinos provide players with multi-link progressive wagers in their offered games, and this deal extends to Four Card Poker. This is usually done as an option €1 side bet where the player tries to make Three-of-a-Kind or better.
If you make a Royal Flush, you will win the jackpot. The standard progressive payouts are as follows:
|Royal Flush||100% of the jackpot|
|Straight Flush||10% of the jackpot|
If you choose to place a “Progressive Wager”, you may become eligible for an “Envy” bonus. You will get paid if another player makes a Royal Flush or a Straight Flush.
If it is the former, you may receive €1000, and in the case of the latter, you may receive €300.
Four Card Poker Strategy
For the Aces Up bet, you table your hand and see what you have. The strength of your hand makes everything clear.
In the case of the ante wager, the strategy focuses on two decisions –
- making an additional Play bet or forfeiting the ante bet. If you choose the former,
- decide whether you will wager 1, 2, or 3 times the ante.
A straightforward Four Card Poker strategy for rookies suggests the following:
Once you gain more experience, you can further polish your strategy. For instance, your hand consists of face cards such as kings, queens, or jacks. In this case, you may only wager 3x when the dealer’s face-up card is lower than your pair. If it is higher, e.g., an ace, lower your wager to 2x or 1x.
You must consider your five-hole cards and the dealer’s face-up card. If the dealer shows a king, and you have a pair of kings, they (the dealer) may not make a pair of kings. Therefore, you can make a 3x Play wager with confidence.
Regardless of your game, it is crucial to remember that the house will always have an edge in all card games. In the case of the Four Card Poker, the dealer receives six cards, and you five. Other than that, the dealer advantages off you forfeiting your ante wager.
Ultimately, as fun as this game is, it is vital to gamble responsibly while you enjoy playing. That being said, Four Card Poker is an exciting game for poker lovers once you learn to play it properly.
Four Card Poker FAQs
Based on the player’s initial bet, the game’s house edge is 2.79%.
Players are dealt five cards, of which they use the best four.
The rules are straightforward, but learning the different strategies may require practice.