In its quest to develop new successful proprietary games for casinos, Shufflemaster had one of its biggest hits when it secured the rights to Three Card Poker in 2002. There was then an obvious opening in the market for a four card game so Shufflemaster executive Roger Snow rushed to fill it. Many Americans love traditional poker and it was clear that there was still demand for even more variations of it.
Strangely, it is very hard to find 4 Card Poker at internet casinos in the USA because there’s not a lot of places currently offering it. Well, to clarify, there are currently no places offering it so it is technically impossible to play online – you’ll only be able to find it in brick and mortar operations in Las Vegas and the like.
Almost every gambling website in the world has 3 Card Poker (or Tri Card Poker) so there’s really no reason they shouldn’t have this version as well. We hope that this changes very soon and a software company releases a version of the game.
Four Card Poker is played against the dealer and not other players at the table. Two initial bets are available, the ante bet which is the play against the dealer, and a side bet that the player will be dealt a hand at least “Aces Up”, which is explained in detail below.
Each player receives five cards face-down and the dealer receives six cards with one delivered face-up. The house edge lies in that extra card which will help to form the strongest four card hand possible. The dealer will also win the player’s ante should the hand be folded by them without playing.
If after checking their cards the player decides not to fold, a bet must be placed that is at least equal to the amount of the ante, with the maximum raise being 3x the ante. The player then makes one discard and uses the remaining four cards as their playable hand. The strongest possible hands in Four Card Poker in order are:
- Four of a Kind
- Straight Flush
- Three of a Kind
- Two Pair
- Aces or Better
Any of these hands will win the Aces Up side bet mentioned above because they are “a pair of aces or better”, regardless of the cards that the dealer has in their hand. The payouts are based on the charts of each individual operator and are usually up to 50-1 for Four of a Kind, with the odds obviously changing slightly depending on the House you’re playing at.
After all of the players have made their decisions to fold or raise the dealer then reveals the house cards and discards two to make the best four card poker hand. This casino table game is somewhat unique as the rules dictate that the player wins all ties, which is definitely not the standard result.
Payouts are 1 to 1 but bonuses are usually awarded for Three of a Kind (2 to 1), Straight Flush (20-1) and Four of a Kind (25-1). Again, make sure to check the payout terms of the table you’re sitting at before gambling for real money to make sure you know the odds and rules.
Crazy Four Poker
Shufflemaster also has a popular version of Four Card Poker known as Crazy Four Poker, where both the player and the dealer make the best four card hand from five cards. There are three bets available: the ante, the “Super Bonus”, and the side bet, which pays out for a Pair of Queens or better.
Similar to the original version, players can only make raise bets up to 3x the ante with at least a Pair of Aces. In the showdown for the ante bets and raises if the dealer does not have at least a King High the hand is a push, with all other ties also being a push. The Super Bonus will pay for a straight or higher, and a lesser hand can still save the bet if the hand beats the dealer.
The odds in this version are different than its parent game due to the limited liability against higher raises, as well as player wins on ties. The house edge then drops to less than 2% as a result.
How To Play
Players pursuing perfect strategy in four card poker better set aside some nights for studying due to all of the possible hand combinations. Generally, a sound approach is to fold any hand less than a pair of 3s and bet the maximum for any hand of 10s or better. However, in Crazy Four Poker betting options are more limited, but anytime Aces or better are drawn and you are able to bet 3x your ante, you should do it.
The Super Bonus and side bets are not sucker bets like Blackjack Insurance and carry a 3% to 5% house edge, depending on the pay charts of the table, so feel free to put your money down on them as you wish.