The Rules of Four of a Kind In Poker

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Four of a kind, typically played in the dealer’s choice of poker, is an interesting offshoot of poker that encourages a game with a greater number of players. Played with a standard 52 card deck, four of a kind, is a family game, typically played for small stakes.

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Object of the game

The object is to collect four of a kind i.e. four cards of the same rank or to have the lowest hand when someone else achieves this. The players who manage to do that win half the pot each.

Back to basics

  • This game is for four or more players (best for six to eight players).
  • A 52 cards pack devoid of jokers will be used for the game.
  • Ace is always ranked high, above the king.
  • The ante is a fixed stake paid by all players to the pot before the deal.
  • Check’ implies that you have decided to let your current stake in the pot stand as it is. This stake will be equal to all the other player's stakes.
  • A ‘Bet’ or ‘Raise’ implies that you wish to add an extra stake to the pot. A minimum and maximum bet or a raise will be determined in advance.
  • Call’ implies that you wish put enough money into the pot to make your stake equal to the highest amount contributed by any other player.
  • Fold’ implies that you wish to drop out of the play for that deal and abandon the amount that you have already contributed to the pot.

Initial deal and betting

  • The game begins with each player placing the agreed ante into the pot.
  • The cards are then shuffled and cut, and each player is dealt one card. The card must be dealt face up.
  • It is mandatory that all these cards must be of different ranks, in the absence of which, the duplicate card or cards and all remaining cards are re-shuffled.
  • A fresh card is dealt to all the remaining players, until each player is holding a different card.
  • It is after this that the first round of betting begins.
  • The player holding the highest card begins this round and can choose to either check or bet. If he or she chooses not to and no one has made a bet yet, then other players have the option of checking or betting.
  • After a bet is made then the remaining players can either call the bet or raise the bet or fold.
  • The betting round continues until everyone has checked or until the last bet or raise has been called by all players who have not folded their hand.
  • The betting round ends as soon as the stakes of all players who have not folded are equal.
  • Please note that in this game there is an outer limit of three raises per betting round. The only option after exhaustion of these three raises is to either call or to fold

Continuation of play and winning

  • The dealer is then tasked with turning cards from the top of the undealt deck, one after the other.
  • The minute the turned card matches a card held by a player, then the card is given to the player that holds the matching card.
  • Each time a player gains an additional card, the highest hand commences a new round of betting, as outlined before.
  • In case the card does not match the card of any of the players, then it is cast away to the discard pile and the card on the top of the undealt deck is turned face-up and the game proceeds in the same fashion.
  • Please remember that the players who have folded no longer receive any cards as they are out of that game.
  • The deal finds its end when a player has collected "Four of a Kind".
  • The High hand and low hand (player holding the least number of cards on the table) on the table divide the pot amongst themselves.
  • If it is not possible to do so, the odd amount will go to the high hand player i.e. the player holding the four of a kind.
  • In case of a tie the lower cards share the low half of a pot.
  • The only time you have a sure win (from the angle of a low hand) is when you hold the lowest triple, when everyone has three matching cards.

To wrap it up

Four of a kind is an interesting poker variant that traces its roots to the late 1950s when William Moore introduced it to his family back in New York. There is no reason why you should not play this low-stake, high energy game with your loved ones over this weekend. Don’t deprive them of their dose of weekend fun!

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