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General Description

The inventor of this game is Roger Snow from Shuffle Master. This game is similar to Three Card Poker, but it has a number of significant differences. A standard 52-card deck and a table with a special layout are used in this game.

Aim of the Game

The aim of the game is to beat the dealer by collecting a higher-ranking hand or choosing the right time to make an Aces Up bet.


Since the players use only four cards, the ranks of hands in this version of poker differ from the standard ones that are adopted in five-card variations of this game. The hands that are valid in Four Card Poker are listed below in descending order.

  • Four of a kind is a hand that contains four cards of one rank.
  • Straight flush is a hand consisting of four cards of one suit in sequence.
  • Three of a kind (tris) is a hand that contains three cards of one rank.
  • Flush is a hand consisting of four cards of one suit.
  • Straight is a hand that contains four cards of different ranks in sequence.
  • Two pairs is a hand that contains two matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank.
  • Pair is a hand that consists of two cards of the same rank.
  • High card is a dealer's or player's hand that contains the highest-ranking card.

It is easy to notice that the main differences in the ranks of hands include: a four of a kind beats a straight flush; a three of a kind beats a flush and straight. This is explained by the high frequency of the appearance of them in four-card hands.

Types of Bets

It is allowed to make two independent kinds of bets in Four Card Poker.

  1. Ante/Play are basic bets, which win or lose after the comparison of the player's cards with the dealer's hand. When the player makes them, he or she hopes to get a hand whose rank is higher than the dealer's hand. The ante is the initial bet. The Play bet is made when the player decides to continue the game. The Play bet size is selected by the player. It varies from one to three antes. Their sizes are equal. If you win, these bets are paid 1:1.
  2. Aces Up is an optional bet that wins if the player receives a pair of aces or better. It can be made without the ante, and if you make both of bets, its size should be equal to the size of the ante. This payout is made even if the initial bet loses.

Payouts for the Aces Up bet can vary significantly (the multipliers for hands are not always proportional), so that the range of possible multipliers is available below:

  • Four of a kind - 50:1
  • Straight flush - 30-40:1
  • Three of a kind - 7-9:1
  • Flush - 6:1
  • Straight - 4-5:1
  • Pair of aces - 1:1

Information about multipliers should be clarified at a casino that you have chosen for gambling.


The game starts when the players make independent antes or Aces Up bets, or they place bets directly on both fields (in this case, the bets should be equal.) The croupier thoroughly shuffles the cards and deals five cards to players (despite the fact that this version of poker is called Four Card Poker) and six cards to himself, placing one of them face up.

The dealer and players form hands. However they can use only four cards for that. One of the main features of this variation of poker is that the term "dealer's hand" is technically not used here, i.e. the comparison of dealer's and player's cards will occur in any case unless all players fold.

Players evaluate the rank of their cards, taking into account the rank of the dealer's upcard, and make the decision whether to fold, losing all their bets, including an Aces Up bet, or to call, making an additional Play bet. As soon as all players have made their decisions, the dealer reveals his cards. If the Aces Up bet wins, it is paid at once.

Then the dealer compares his cards with the player's cards. If the player wins, the ante and Play bet are paid 1:1. If the player loses, money goes to the casino. If the hands are equal, the player usually wins. Only the four highest-ranking cards are taken into account, and the rank of the other cards is irrelevant.


Four Card Poker allows players to get a bonus without making a side bet. The bonus is paid if the player collects one of the following hands: four of a kind, straight flush, or three of a kind.

Bonus payouts vary at different casinos. Users can become familiar with the possible range of multipliers (for the ante) in the following table:

  • Four of a kind - 25-30:1
  • Straight flush - 20-15:1
  • Three of a kind (tris) - 2:1.

The bonus is paid without taking into consideration the fact whose hand will be higher.

Basic Strategy

The strategy for Four Card Poker does not seem to be complicated.

  • A pair of tens and higher - it is necessary to make a Play bet in the amount of three antes,
  • From a pair of threes to a pair of tens - it is necessary to make a Play bet in the amount of one ante.
  • A pair of deuces and lower - it is necessary to fold.

The house edge for Ante/Play bets is about three per cent (the range depends on the size of bonus payouts.) When you make an Aces Up bet, the house edge varies between four and six percent.

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