Among the top-tier poker hands that are constantly being sought after by poker players is the four of a kind. Ranked after the royal flush and straight flush, the four of a kind is a superb hand in poker, and any player holding such a hand often ends up being the winner of the round.
Being dealt such hands is far from commonplace, but it is important to know how to use a four of a kind hand effectively by exploiting this hand’s strength.
To that end, we at LV BET have explored the strength, probability and effectiveness of the four of a kind poker hand in the context of multiple poker variants, but especially Texas hold’em.
FOUR OF A KIND IN POKER HAND RANKINGS
As mentioned above, the four of a kind poker hand is the third best hand in the poker hand ranking, with the first place occupied by the royal flush and the second by the straight flush.
If you want to find out more about traditional poker hand rankings, feel free to check out our dedicated blog.
The hierarchy of poker rankings typically follows this order in Texas hold’em poker games:
- Royal Flush: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, all in the same suit. For example, ace, K, Q, J and 10 would make a royal (straight) flush. The royal flush is the best hand that sits at the top of the hand rankings.
- Straight Flush: Five consecutive cards of the same suit, but not the highest-ranking ones.
- Four of a Kind: Also known as quads, this hand includes four cards of equal rank.
- Full House: Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.
- Flush: Five cards of the same suit, not in consecutive order. An ace, 10, 6, 3 and 2 of spades make an ace-high flush, since the ace is the highest-ranking card in the hand. A king high flush would be K, Q, J, 8 and 3 of clubs, for example.
- Straight: Five consecutive cards of different suits. (3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 makes a seven high straight). Ace to five makes an ace high straight. A Broadway Straight refers to a 10 to A straight.
- Three of a Kind: Three cards of the matching rank.
- Two Pair: Two sets of pairs.
- One Pair: Two cards of the same value. Two 10s make a one pair. Pair hands loses to all poker hands except high card hands. A one pair wins against lower ranked pairs, as well.
- High Card: The highest card in your hand when no other combinations are present.
HOW IS FOUR OF A KIND STRUCTURED?
The structure of a four of a kind hand is relatively straightforward.
It consists of four cards of identical rank, and one additional card that is not part of the four, making it a five-card hand.
The rank of the four cards determines the strength of the hand, with higher-ranked four of a kind hands holding more power at the poker table.
FOUR OF A KIND IN POKER – THE CARDS SAME SUIT
It is worth mentioning that a four of a kind does not require the four cards to be of the same suit.
Instead, it focuses on the rank of the cards. This means that one can have four of a kind with four cards of the same rank but of different suits.
For example, four 8s from different suits and a 2 makes a four of a kind with 8s.
WHAT BEATS FOUR OF A KIND ON THE POKER TABLE?
In the world of poker, few hands can surpass the power of four of a kind, but this isn’t to say that it is an unbeatable hand.
The only hands that trump it are the straight flush, which is a sequence of five cards of the same suit, and a royal flush (a 10 to ace straight of identical suit).
Therefore, if you have a four of a kind poker hand and your opponent has a straight flush, you’ll find yourself on the losing end of the showdown.
IS FOUR OF A KIND ALWAYS WORSE THAN STRAIGHT FLUSH?
Indeed, the four of a kind poker hand is typically considered inferior to a straight flush in poker.
However, it’s essential to remember that the likelihood of landing a straight flush is significantly lower, making four of a kind a more common hand, albeit still a decent hand.
The comparative value of these hands is determined by the context of the game, the actions of the players, and the community cards.
PROBABILITY OF HITTING FOUR OF A KIND IN POKER
The four of a kind poker hand is one of the best poker hands, which means that the probability of seeing it is quite low.
In Hold’em, each player is dealt two hole cards, and there are five comm. cards dealt (flop, turn, and river).
The probability of making a four of a kind in this poker game can be calculated as follows:
First, let’s consider the probability of getting one pair of a specific rank in your hole cards. This can be achieved in 6 different ways (e.g., if you have two eights, there are six combinations to choose from with the other two eights).
Next, you need to calculate the probability of getting two more cards of the same rank on the community cards. The probability of getting the first matching community card is 3/50 (there are 3 remaining cards of the same rank out of 50 cards left).
The probability of getting the second matching community card is 2/49.
So, the probability of getting a four of a kind in Texas Hold’em is (6/1326)*(3/50)*(2/49), which simplifies to approximately 0.00168067227, or about 0.17%.
In Omaha, each player is dealt four hole cards, and there are still five comm. cards dealt.
The calculation is similar to Hold’em, but it’s a bit more complex due to the number of hole cards and the need to choose two of them. The probability is as follows:
First, calculate the probability of getting a pair of a specific rank in your four hole cards. This can be done in various combinations.
Then, calculate the probability of getting the two matching comm. cards needed for Four of a Kind.
The probability of getting Four of a Kind in Omaha is, therefore, approximately 0.1065%, or about 1 in 940 poker odds.
FOUR OF A KIND HAND EXAMPLES IN POKER GAME
As far as four of a kind hands go, the best possible hand is four aces, since they are the highest-ranked card in the game.
A close second is four kings. This said, whether it is four aces or four kings, players with such a hand are usually winners, since making quads (four of a kinds) is very difficult.
In cases where two four of a kind poker hands clash and the rank of both hands is the same, the highest fifth card (the kicker card) determines the winning hand.
HOW TO PLAY FOUR OF A KIND IN TEXAS HOLD’EM AND OMAHA POKER
Four of a Kind can be a game-changer in Hold’em, Omaha poker and other poker real-money games. Let’s take a closer look at how this hand is played in each of these popular poker variants.
FOUR OF A KIND IN TEXAS HOLD’EM
To maximise the potential of your four of a kind poker hand in Hold’em poker, it’s essential to consider the following strategies:
- Conceal your strength: Avoid revealing your powerful hand too early, since if you play aggressively, you can scare off multiple players from betting.
- Slow-play: Bet modestly in the early rounds to entice your opponents to stay in the game and build the pot.
FOUR OF A KIND IN OMAHA
In Omaha poker, players receive four cards, and they must use exactly two of them in combination with three of the five comm. cards to form their best hand. When you have four of a kind in Omaha, consider the following tactics:
- Choose the right starting hand: Select your cards carefully, focusing on the potential to create four of a kind. A pocket pair is always handy.
- Evaluate your position: Your position at the table can greatly influence how you play your hand. There’s a big difference between early and late position.
CONCLUSION – USE THE BLUFF AND WIN WITH THE FOUR OF A KIND HAND
Knowing when to employ bluff tactics is very important, but seeing how much of a powerful poker hand four of a kinds are, there is not much point in bluffing.
Other possibilities of poker hands may well require bluffing, especially when dealing with weaker five-card hands such as a pair.
However, exercise caution when bluffing, since any five-card hand can win if played correctly and in the right context.
✅ WHEN DOES A FOUR OF A KIND WIN?
A four of a kind typically wins when it faces off against weaker poker hands, such as a three of a kind, full houses. However, it’s important to be cautious, since of straight flushes, as that hand beats four of a kind.
✅ WHAT IF TWO PLAYERS IN THE SAME HAND HAVE A FOUR OF A KIND?
In the rare event that both players have four of a kind in the same hand in poker, the player with the higher set of four cards wins. If both players have the same set of four cards, the fifth card (kicker) determines the winner. If this one card is also the same, the result would be a split pot.
✅ WHAT IS THE VALUE OF ACES IN FOUR OF A KIND?
These can be used to create four of a kind, just like any other rank in a standard deck of cards. The value of these cards in four of a kind is determined by the rank of the other four cards. If the other four cards are, for instance, kings, then the four of a kind with aces will be stronger than the one with kings. It’s all about having the highest-ranked combination of five cards.