As the name suggests, four card poker is played with a four card hand rather than a three card hand. The game was invented by a man named Roger Snow from Shufflemaster. There are several other differences between four card poker and three card poker that are best explained by going through the rules of the game.
4 Card Poker Game Format
To start the game, players place two bets. The first is the ante, and the second is the ‘aces up’ bet. Each player receives five cards. The dealer gets six cards.
After examining their cards, players decide whether they want to fold or raise. If they fold, they lose any money they have wagered up until this point. If they raise, they need to raise by the amount of the ante, and they can opt to raise by as much as three times the amount of the ante. To stay in the game, the player must raise.
Each player who has not folded discards one card, leaving four cards that form the best four card hand possible. The dealer chooses the best four out of six. If the dealer’s hand is better, the player loses both the ante and the raise. If the dealer hand is equal or the player’s hand is better, the ante and raise pay one to one. There is a bonus paid on the ante if the player holds three-of-a-kind, a straight flush, or four-of-a-kind.
Hands are ranked in the following manner, from best to worst:
- Straight Flush
- Two Pair
- High Card
Additionally, there is also an aces up bet, which is similar to the pairs plus bet of three card poker. This bet pays a bonus for a pair of aces or better, two pairs, a straight, a flush, three-of-a-kind, a straight flush, or four-of-a-kind. The top prize here pays 50:1.
Differences Between 3 Card Poker and 4 Card Poker
While four card poker bears some similarities to three card poker, it is radically different in a lot of ways.
For example, the dealer doesn’t have to qualify in order to play. This is very different from the rule in three card poker which states that the dealer needs a queen or better in order to qualify. It changes the odds of the game radically as well.
Another big difference between three card poker and four card poker is the fact that four card poker actually starts out with a five card poker hand and players get the chance to discard one excess card. This substantially raises the chances of getting a pair, which is why pairs only pay out if they are aces in the aces up bet. The dealer starting with a six card poker hand makes the odds even more difficult to calculate, so it’s important to know that the house edge is around 4%.
The strategy for 4 Card Poker is a lot tougher too. If you want to go into detail on 4 card poker, we highly recommend checking out our favourite gambling site, the Wizard of Odds. The Wiz’s 4 card poker page is here.