4 Card Poker Rules – How to Play Four Card Poker
While poker is a game most commonly played among players, both live and online casinos around the world offer plenty of opportunity to play poker against the house as well.
Four Card Poker is one of the most popular casino poker games in which you goal is to make a poker hand stronger than the dealer’s.
Unlike games like Texas Hold’em, 4 Card Poker does not require too much strategy or complex thought process, but there is still some Four Card Poker strategy to keep in mind.
In this article, I will teach you the most basic 4 Card Poker rules that you need to know before you play, as well as some simple 4 Card Poker strategy, payouts, and more.
Before you go to your next casino trip, read this guide in full, and you will be able to play one of the most entertaining casino games out there with full confidence.
Let’s get started.
4 Card Poker Rules – Dealing, Antes and Aces Up
Before each hand of Four Card Poker is dealt, the player is required to place at least an ante bet to be active in the hand.
In a live casino, you will be given an option to place an ante bet along with the other players, but if you don’t place one in time, the game will go on without you for that hand.
In an online casino, you will have plenty of time to place your bet and play whenever you feel like it.
Once all the ante bets are placed, the dealer will deal five cards to the player and six cards to himself, exposing one of his cards to the player.
Your goal in 4 Card Poker is to make a poker hand stronger than the dealer’s according to slightly altered poker hand rankings.
In Four Card Poker, the hands are ranked as follows, from strongest to weakest:
- Four of a Kind
- Straight Flush
- Three of a Kind
- Two Pair
- One Pair
- High Card
There is no drawing or community cards in 4 Card Poker, which means the five cards you get at the start are the cards you will end up with in the end.
Unlike most poker games where five cards play, only four cards count towards your poker hand in this one, which is why the hand rankings are inverted in some cases (trips beat flush and quads beat straight flush).
Once you have taken a look at your cards, you will have the option to play or fold. Folding your hand will forfeit your ante bet, but will also save you from further loses. If you decide to play, you will need to pay either 1x or 3x the ante bet, as you choose.
All ante and play bets are paid at even money, while the following Ante Bonus 4 Card Payouts also apply:
- Four of a Kind: 25x Ante Bonus
- Straight Flush: 20x Ante Bonus
- Three of a Kind: 2x Ante Bonus
In addition to the ante bet, you will also have the option of betting on the Aces Up option before the cards are dealt, which puts you in play for the Aces Up payouts.
All Aces Up 4 Card Poker payouts are made in accordance with the following paytable, and you don’t have to win the hand in order to get paid:
- Four of a Kind: 50:1
- Straight Flush: 30:1
- Three of a Kind: 7:1
- Flush: 6:1
- Straight: 5:1
- Two Pair: 2:1
- Pair of Aces: 1:1
The ante bet and the Aces Up bet are two separate bets, and you can decide on their value yourself. The only thing to keep in mind is that the ante bet is obligatory to play the hand, while the Aces Up bet is completely voluntary and up to you.
The Showdown: Winning a Hand in Four Card Poker
According to the 4 Card Poker Rules, you need to make a four card poker hand stronger than the dealer’s to win your ante and play bets.
The dealer has an extra card to work with, which gives them a significant advantage, but the player wins all ties, which does offset some of the advantage gained by having the extra card.
Once all bets are made, the dealer exposes his cards and the two best four card combinations are compared to determine the winner.
Since there are no betting or bluffing options in Four Card Poker, the best hand always wins the pot and all the bets that have been made.
While many casino poker games require the dealer to make a certain hand combination (such as one pair) in order to qualify, the dealer always qualifies in Four Card Poker, which means you will have to beat his hand in order to win the pot.
Playing the Six Card Bonus
Four Card Poker rules sometimes also include another side bet you can make, which is called the 6 Card Bonus bet.
In order to activate this side bet, you must first place both an ante bet and an Aces Up bet, which means playing a hand with all three bets active can get a little pricey.
The 6 Card Bonus bet takes into account all five of the cards dealt to you along with an extra bonus card, and these six cards are then compared to a completely separate paytable.
The 6 Card Bonus bet, as well as the progressive jackpot bet, are only available in some versions of the game and are often not found when playing Four Card Poker online.
If you can make at least three of a kind, you will win according to the following paytable:
- Royal Flush: 1,000:1
- Straight Flush: 200:1
- Four of a Kind: 50:1
- Full House: 25:1
- Flush: 15:1
- Straight: 10:1
- Three of a Kind: 5:1
Four Card Poker Strategy
Unlike many other poker games, Four Card Poker is a game where the absolute strength of the hand you are dealt is the single most important factor.
According to the 4 Card Poker rules, your best four card hand will be compared with the dealer’s at showdown, which means you better have a good hand if you intend to make bets after the ante.
The optimal 4 Card Poker strategy is pretty simple, as you only get to make one decision in this game, and that’s whether to play or not after you are dealt your initial five cards.
After you make the ante wager, you will receive five cards in total, but only the four best of those will count towards the winning hand.
Keep in mind that you also get to see one of the dealer’s cards, which can come into play sometimes. Generally speaking, you should follow this simple strategy when playing 4 Card Poker:
- Fold if you don’t have a pair
- Play 1x ante with pairs under 99
- Play 3x ante with pairs over TT
In some versions of Four Card Poker you will also have the option to make a 2x bet, and you can make the decision on the size of your bet based on several factors.
The dealer’s up card is the most important of those, as it can help you make some informed decisions.
For example, if the dealer’s up card is lower than the pair you are holding, or the same as the pair you are holding, they are less likely to make a hand that will beat you at showdown.
That said, keep in mind that the dealer does have five other cards to work with, so holding some high card blockers along with your pair can be a decisive factor in going for a bigger bet.
If you have a pair of Tens but all your other cards are low, while the dealer is showing a picture card, you may want to go for a 1x bet after all, as there is a higher chance they will pair up and beat you.
These small nuances can make all the difference between winning and losing in a session of Four Card Poker, so make sure to always consider all the relevant factors before you make your decision.
Avoid the Extra Bets
Whenever you are considering playing a casino game, you should always weigh up the pros and cons of different betting options in it.
At the most basic level, Four Card Poker offers an RTP rate of 98.68% if player optimally, which is a very reasonable rate of return for a casino game, although still quite a bit lower than a game like Blackjack.
That said, this number is only true for your ante bet, as all other bets offer a lower return and should generally be avoided if you want to play the best possible Four Card Poker strategy.
The Aces Up bet, for example, offers an RTP of just 96.63%, which is a significantly lower return and a much bigger hit on your bankroll every time you play.
While there is certainly a chance of getting lucky with Aces Up or a progressive jackpot bet offered in some versions of the game, the theoretical return of these bets is simply not favorable.
If you do decide you want to play the Aces Up bet for entertainment value, make sure to bet less on that than you do in the ante box, and this will help you lose less and sail more smoothly moving forward.
Enjoyable Casino Poker Game for All
Whether you are an avid poker player simply looking to blow off some steam or a casino games player looking for a new game to enjoy, Four Card Poker can work quite well for you.
The game comes with a reasonably high RTP compared to most other games, especially slots, and a simple strategy anyone can learn.
The different Four Card Poker payouts make the game lucrative to play whenever you are running hot, and it is not rare to see players go on massive upswings in this one.
Still, keep in mind that 4 Card Poker is a negative expectation game like any other casino game, meaning you should keep your expectations in check and be in it mostly for fun.
You can now play Four Card Poker online at many online casino sites, so find the right casino for yourself, join the action, and follow our simple Four Card Poker strategy for optimal results and highest winning chances.