Unlike three card poker, the strategy for four card poker is quite complex. James Grosjean wrote a book called ‘Beyond Counting‘ that gives a complex ten step strategy guide for playing four card poker. Others have written simpler strategy guides.
The main idea behind most strategies is to raise as high as possible when you have a good hand and to fold when you have no chance of winning. Determining those and determining what lies in the middle, however, is not easy. One strategy that is quite popular was written by Stanley Ko.
He suggests raising by three times with a pair of tens or higher. For a pair of twos to nines, he recommends raising the minimum raise of one times the ante. For anything less than a pair of twos, Ko said that it’s best to fold, because the chances of winning are too low.
This strategy yields a house edge of 3.396% when combined with the most popular payout schedule. If the payout schedule is different, the house edge can obviously be affected.
The most popular payout schedule for the aces up bet yields a house edge of 3.89%, meaning that the aces up bet is not a good bet in four card poker. While it might be tempting because of the high jackpot, good play at the regular game will ultimately yield better results, so you should avoid the aces up bet.
Since four card poker is relatively new and isn’t available in very many casinos, you can’t go casino-hopping looking for the tables with the best payout schedule.
Very little statistical analysis has even been done to determine the difference in house edge between different payout schedules, so you might not end up coming out ahead by much even if you were able to find a casino with a better payout schedule for their four card poker game.
If you want to win at four card poker, remember the basics of winning at a casino. Be sure to keep your wits about you. Don’t play when you’re drunk or overtired. Don’t play with money that you can’t afford to lose. Keep an upper and lower limit and if you reach either one, be sure to leave. This is especially important with an upper limit. Be sure to hold on to some part of any major win so that you end up leaving the casino with at least a little bit more money than you came in with on a day when you had a major win.
Most importantly, remember that you’re playing for entertainment. If you want to earn money in a casino, become a dealer or a pit boss. Casino gambling is for fun. If you make money, enjoy it and be happy, and if you don’t, remember that you were there to have fun, not to make a living.