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It's Time for Four-Card Poker

28 August 2022

Karl is a longtime acquaintance who emails or texts from his New Jersey home once in a blue moon.
"
You know I used to go to the casinos practically every week, but the last couple of years have mainly been online," he texted in mid-August. "Once I got used to it, I really like all the options and new games to play.

"You know which one I really like right now? Four Card Poker."

Four Card Poker has been around since the early 2000s when it was released by Shufflemaster, now part of Scientific Games. It's carved out a niche for live play in larger casinos, and it's a natural for online play where there are no physical space constraints.

The game has an ante-play option and an Aces Up option. That's similar to Three Card Poker's ante-play and Pair Plus options.

But Four Card Poker isn't just an adaptation of Three Card Poker. One key difference is that in the ante-play section, dealers don't have to make a qualifying hand for play bets to be active.
Instead, the house gets its edge by dealing more than four cards. Players each get five cards and the dealer gets six. Everyone then makes their best four-card hand.

That gives the dealer more chances to make a better hand.

According to calculations at wizardofodds.com, the house edge in the ante-play portion is 2.78 percent of the ante, or 1.30 percent of total wagers. That compares favorably with the 3.37 percent of the ante or 2.01 percent of total wagers in Three Card Poker.

The top hand is four of a kind, outranking straight flushes, including royals. Quads and straight flushes are followed by three of a kind, flush, straight, two pair, pair and unpaired high card. Note that three of a kind outranks flushes and straights, and there are no full houses.

To start a hand, you must place an ante. You also may make an Ace Up bet, but that is not mandatory.
You're dealt five cards from a single deck. The dealer gets one card face up and five face down.

After you look at your cards, you must decide whether to fold or raise. When raising, you must bet at least as much as your ante, but may bet up to three times the ante.

If you fold, you lose and the dealer collects your ante. If you raise, you must discard one card.

After discards are made, the dealer turns his cards up and discards two to make a four-card hand.
You lose if the dealer hand outranks yours, but you win if you either beat or tie the dealer.

There is an ante-bonus on high ranking hands. Regardless of whether you beat the dealer, you get a bonus on three of a kind or better. On one pay table, you get 25-1 on four of a kind, 20-1 on a straight flush or 2-1 on three of a kind. Another pays 30-1 on quads, 15-1 on straight flushes and 2-1 on three of a kind.

ACES UP

The other wager in Four Card Poker is easy. In Aces Up, you win any time you have a pair of Aces or better.

The most common table pays 50-1 on four of a kind, 40-1 on a straight flush, 8-1 on three of a kind, 5-1 on a flush, 4-1 on a straight, 3-1 on two pairs and 1-1 on a pair of Aces.

You'll win on only about 19 percent of hands, but the payoffs are large enough that the house edge is 3.89 percent.

Karl's ruling: "I like it."
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski