4 Card Poker is a popular poker variant where each player aims to form the best possible four-card poker hand than the dealer. You’ll commonly find this at online casinos and on the floor of a casino. What really makes this game stand out from other poker variants is that all players are against the house, so you could easily add this game to your mix of games if you like blackjack or roulette.

4 Card Poker Gameplay

In order to win with the best 4 card hand, you’ll need to understand how to play the game.

Like most poker games, Four Card Poker is played using a standard Anglo-American 52-card deck. The table, which can accommodate 2-6 players, has a set of boxes where players place their wagers. These boxes include the Ante, Play, Aces Up, and 6-Card Bonus. All players are required to place at least one wager in these boxes before they are dealt any cards.

Dealing the Cards

Once players have placed their first bet (Ante), they are dealt 5 cards each, which they can use to make the best 4-card poker hand. However, it is important to note that players can receive the sixth card if they choose to participate in the sixth card bonus. In this case, players will be aiming to form the best 5-card poker hand to beat the sixth bonus payout table. The dealer, on the other hand, receives 6 cards – one which is face up and 5 face down.


If you feel that you can’t beat the dealer with the cards dealt, the best thing to do is to fold. Folding means that you are not willing to continue with the game, and your Ante bet will be taken by the dealer. This will also forfeit any bonus wagers.


If you feel that your hand is strong enough, then you can choose to play and face off against the dealer. This involves placing bets equal to 1X, 2X, or 3X your Ante bet. After placing play wagers, the dealer reveals their hand and compares it to each of the player’s hand. If the player’s hand is better than that of the dealer, then they receive even money for their Ante or Play wagers. Players will also receive an even amount if their hands tie with that of the dealer.

It is important to bear in mind that an automatic bonus is paid on all Ante bets if the player’s hand is three of a kind or better. This is paid regardless of whether the player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand or not. If you had placed an Aces Up bet (optional side bet), it will win if you have a pair of aces or better.

Ending a Hand and Starting a New One

Once every player has faced off against the dealer, all the winning poker hands are paid out. The dealer also takes the losing bets, and the new hand begins.

4 Card Poker vs Other Poker Variations

Four Card Poker is usually found alongside Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. If you are already familiar with these two variants, you will quickly learn and understand 4 Card Poker rules. However, there are several key differences you need to note.

Differences to Other Poker Variants

  1. Both Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em require the dealer to have a qualifying hand for your bets to win, while 4 Card Poker doesn’t. The qualifying hand rule started with the Caribbean Stud Poker and was provided to give the house an edge.
  2. Another major difference is that the best possible hand in 4 handed poker consists of 4 cards, while the best hand in Three Card Poker is made of three cards. For the Ultimate Texas Hold’em, you will need to form the best 5-card poker from two hole cards and 5 community cards.
  3. The play wagers in the three poker variants are also different. In Four Card Poker, you can place 1X, 2X, or 3X your Ante bet. On the other hand, the play wager in Three Card Poker should be equal to the Ante bet, while Ultimate Texas Hold’em requires you to place 3X or 4X the Ante bet.

Similarities with Other Poker Variants

  1. One main similarity between the four-card game poker and other poker games is that their hands rank the same.
  2. The dealer in most poker games also has more chances of winning than the dealer. For instance, in 4-Card Poker, players form the best 4-card poker hand from 5 cards, while the dealer uses 6 cards. The casino also benefits more when you forfeit your Ante wager.
  3. Some poker sites that allow you to play Four Card Poker online offer a progressive wager on popular poker games. The poker games link to the same progressive jackpot that increases every time a bet is placed. Hard Rock Casino, for example, has a multi-link progressive jackpot that joins Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Let it Ride, Mississippi Stud Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. The Progressive wager is usually a $1 side bet placed before cards are dealt for a chance to win the entire jackpot amount or a portion of it. Moreover, the jackpot pays out when you have three of a kind or better. The payout table looks like this:

Hand Payout
Royal Flush 100%
Straight Flush 10%
4 of a kind $300
Full house $50
Flush $40
Straight $30
3 of a kind $9

Online casinos with progressive wagers also offer an envy bonus in which you receive $1000 for making Royal Flush and $300 for making Straight Flush.

Bovada Casino is currently one of the best offshore poker sites where you can play poker online for free or with real money.

Four Card Poker Hands (Lowest to Highest)

As stated earlier, hands rank the same as other poker games. The ranking from lowest to highest is as follows:

Hand Example
High Card 3-4-6-8
Pair 4-4-6-7
Two Pair 2♥ 2♦ 6♠ 6♥
Straight 3♣ 4♣ 5♣ 6♠
Flush 3♥ 5♥ 6♥ 8♥
Three-of-a-Kind 77♠73
Straight Flush 3♥ 4♥ 5♥ 6♥
Four of a Kind (Quads) QQ♠QQ♣


Poker Bets on a 4 Card Game – Ante Bets and Aces Up

4 Card game has two types of bets – the Ante bet and Aces Up. All players in the table must place at least one of these two bets before receiving their cards. Payers are also allowed to place the two types of bets at the same time.

Ante Bet

The Ante wager is a type of bet that every player must make before cards are dealt. After placing the Ante bet, all players at the table receive 5 cards each. The dealer also receives 5 cards down and one card up. Once you receive your cards, you should take a look at them and then check the dealer’s up card. This will help you decide if you want to play or forfeit your Ante Bet.

If you decide to forfeit, you should push your cards to the dealer and let them take the wagers. But if you decide to play, you must place a play wager on the play spot. This play wager must be 1X, 2X, or 3X your Ante bet. If your hand is better than the dealer’s, you will receive a payout of 1:1. Your hand also wins if it ties with that of the dealer.

The Ante bet is also eligible for the premium hand bonus. Also known as the automatic bonus, the premium hand bonus is activated once you form 4 for a Kind, Straight Flush, or Three of a Kind. The main highlight of this bonus is that you will still get paid even if the dealer makes a better hand than the premium hands mentioned above.

The payout table for this bonus is as follows:

Hand Payout Odds
Four of a Kind 25:1
Straight Flush 20:1
Three-of-a-Kind 2:1

Aces Up

The Aces Up bet is simply a wager that you will have a pair of aces or better. If you get a pair of aces, you will receive a payout of 1:1 on your bet. And if you get a better hand than a pair of aces, you will receive an automatic bonus and win more money. The Aces Up bonus payout table looks like this:

Hand Payout Odds
Four of a Kind 50:1
Straight Flush 40:1
Three-of-a-Kind 8:1
Flush 5:1
Straight 4:1
Two Pair 3:1
Pair of Aces 1:1

It is important to note that the Aces Up bet is paid out even if the dealer has a better hand than you. However, the Aces Up bonus is always in the favor of the casino. The house edge for Aces Up is 3.9%, meaning that the casino will take 3.9% more than you will get.

Besides the Aces Up bonus, there is another bonus wager known as the Sixth Card. As the name implies, this is simply a wager that you make to be dealt the sixth card. To make this wager, you must make an Aces Up wager, but the bet amounts don’t need to be equal. Plus, the aim of this bet is to make the best 5-card hand against the following payout table:

Five-Card Hand Payouts
Royal Flush 1000X
Straight Flush 200X
Four of a Kind 50X
Full House 25X
Flush 15X
Straight 10X
Three-of-a-Kind 5X

Four-Card Poker Strategy

Learning how to play Four Card Poker online requires a lot of patience. It is a skill-based game, meaning you need to learn a poker strategy that will help you beat the dealer. 

You need to have a clear understanding of when to fold, raise, and pay into bonuses. The good thing is that you can play free Four Card Poker online and learn the strategies without risking your own cash.

A Simple Beginner’s Strategy

When you play four-card poker as a beginner, you should try out these simple strategies:

  • Raise 3X the Ante when you have a pair of tens or better
  • Raise 1X the Ante when you have a pair of two to nines
  •  Fold all other hands less than a pair

Intermediate Strategy

As an intermediate player, your win depends on the strength of the five hole cards versus the dealer’s upcard. Once you evaluate these two, you can apply the following strategies:

  • Bet 3X with a pair of Aces or better
  •  Bet 3X with a pair of Ks, Qs, or Js ( If your pair is better than the dealer’s up card)
  • Bet 1X with a pair of 10s 9s (If the dealer’s up card is better than your pair)
  • Bet 3X with a pair of 8s (If the dealer’s up card is a 2)
  •  Bet 1X with a pair of 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6S
  • Bet 1X with a pair of 2X or AKQ (If the dealer’s up card matches any rank in your hand)
  • Fold all others
Key Takeaways

4 Card Poker is an exciting casino game that can deliver massive wins, especially if you apply the right strategy. However, like any other poker variant, this game is designed to give the house a mathematical edge over players. The dealer getting 6 cards while you receive 5 is a clear indication that the house always has the edge over you. The house also automatically wins when you decide to fold. That said, you should take your time to learn how to play poker before committing your real cash. Knowing the best time to fold, raise the Ante bet, and place bonus wagers will make your poker gaming adventure more profitable in the long run.

Four Card Poker FAQs

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