Five Quick Tips—How to Play Four of a Kind

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FIVE QUICK TIPS

HOW TO PLAY FOUR OF A KIND IN POKER

If you find yourself with four of a kind—the third-best hand in poker—you have a unique opportunity to chip up significantly. Only a few hands can beat four of a kind, and the odds of someone getting a straight flush, a royal, or a higher ranked four of a kind are minimal at best. So, your only real concern should be how to extract the maximum value out of this rare hand. Here are five quick tips for playing four of a kind.

1. PLAY TO THE CONDITIONS

Unfortunately, just because you have a good hand, doesn’t mean you will win a big pot. If everyone else has subpar cards, they are unlikely to make a large bet if you are too aggressive; if you slow play, the pot might not get very big. If your opponents are betting aggressively, only call their bets until the turn, then double their bet, and push them all in if necessary. If nobody is making larger wagers, try to up the stakes, make a small bet, only a few chips more than the previous wager and try to get more people involved in the pot.

2. WATCH OUT FOR A STRAIGHT FLUSH

The only hands you realistically have to worry about are a straight flush, or if you are very unlucky, another four of a kind. While the odds of encountering a card combination better than four of a kind are low, it's worth watching the board and your opponents, just in case.

3. DON'T FOLD

Some hands are too good to fold; a straight flush and four of a kind are the only hands you should never fold. Ultimately, it's up to you to assess the game and decide whether you should stay in the hand or fold, but unless you are playing for huge stacks, you should seriously think about playing four of a kind to the end of the round, regardless of the outcome. You should win nearly every time with four of a kind; you'd have to be pretty unlucky to lose.

4. REMEMBER GOOD POKER ETIQUETTE

Take a breath and play the hand like you would any other. Four of a kind is one of the best poker hands in the game, but you still need to remember basic poker etiquette. Don't get over-excited and bet out of turn, discuss the hand in progress, act out of turn or otherwise impede the game. Aside from potentially losing chips or other sanctions, the casino might void your cards, and that's the last thing you want after hitting a four of a kind.

5. TAKE A BREATH… AND THINK

Don't be in a rush to play the hand; take a breath and think about what your best course of action might be. Are you going to slow play, bet aggressively, are you alert for tells and other signs that might indicate what your opponents have? Four of a kind is a rare hand, and it's worth taking a moment before acting to think of a solid strategy to maximize the profitability of your cards.