Four Card Poker
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Description of play
The player can place an ante bet or an "Aces Up" bet or both. Five playing cards are dealt to the player, while the dealer is dealt five cards face down and a sixth card face up. Both the player and the dealer make their best four-card hands. The dealer's advantages are in having an extra card and the fact that if the player folds, he will lose his ante, even if his hand turns out to be better than the dealer's.
After seeing his cards and the dealer's face up card, the player can opt to fold the ante bet, in which case he loses it, or play by betting 1-3 times his ante. Unlike three card poker and some other games, the dealer always qualifies (plays). If the player ties or beats the dealer, he is paid the amount he has bet. A bonus is paid if the player has a three of a kind (2-1 for the original ante bet only), straight flush (20-1), or four of a kind (25-1). This bonus is paid out even if the dealer's hand is better than the player's; however, in this situation, the player would still lose his ante bets.
The Aces Up bet depends solely on the player's hand. If he has a pair of aces or better, he wins, otherwise he loses. The dealer's hand is immaterial. The payout for a win can range from 1-1 for a pair of aces to 50-1 for four of a kind, the best possible hand. Various payout variations are possible, depending on the casino, resulting in a house edge ranging from 1.98% to 6.15%.
Rank of hands
The possible four-card hands are (from best to worst):
A simple strategy (as listed on the ShuffleMaster information pamphlet available at some four card poker tables) dictates the following when playing the ante bet:
- Pair of 2s or less: fold.
- Pair of 3s through 9s: bet 1x ante.
- Pair of 10s or better: bet 3x ante.