Four of a Kind in Poker

Poker.Org Staff
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Posted on: April 28, 2022 10:12 am EDT

One of the best poker hands, four-of-a-kind is also known as quads. Four-of-a-kind refers to four cards of one rank, which means one of each suit. 

Quad aces, for example, is a hand that consists of the ace of spades, ace of clubs, ace of hearts, and ace of diamonds.

Four-of-a-kind is not an unbeatable hand, but it’s often a winning hand. It can be even more profitable if the player in Texas Hold’em has two of the four in his or her hand, making quads with the other two on the board. 

How does a 4 of a kind rank in poker?

Four-of-a-kind is the third-best hand in poker. It ranks after the very best hand of a royal flush and the second-best hand of a straight flush. 

Normally, a winning hand must consist of five cards. Since there are only four suits in a deck, it means there can’t be five of a kind. But the five-card hand including the quads also has a kicker (the fifth card). That kicker is the highest card in one’s hand or on the board that isn’t a part of the quads. The high card in this case decides the hand.

For example, a player holding two nines makes quads on a board of A-2-9-9-5. The kicker in that hand is the ace. In another example, a player holding A-9 finds four-of-a-kind on a 9-9-K-9-3 board. The kicker is the player’s ace. 

The kicker only really matters if the four-of-a-kind hand is all in the community cards. If four kings and a four are on the board, the player with the top kicker wins. One player may have a queen, but if the other has a king, the one with the king wins the hand. If the kicker is on the board, such as four kings and an ace, this type of hand results in a split pot.

What beats 4 of a kind?

The very best hand in poker is a royal flush, which consists of the highest-ranking five cards of the same suit. It’s an ace-high straight with an ace, king, queen, jack, and ten, all of the same suit.

The second-highest hand is a straight flush. This is also a five-card hand, all of the same suit and in order. However, it doesn’t need to be made up of the top cards. A straight flush can be any five cards in order, such as A-2-3-4-5 or 3-4-5-6-7. 

Four-of-a-kind beats all other hands, like a full house or three-of-a-kind.

Considering the low odds of making a royal flush or straight flush, those hands are often included in a bad-beat jackpot. Some casinos and online poker sites offer a bad-beat jackpot (BBJ) that awards prize money to a poker player who loses with one of those hands. Often, quads are included in the BBJ because the odds of beating quads are relatively small.

What is the probability of getting 4 of a kind in poker?

The odds of getting quads in a poker hand are 4,164-to-1. The probability of making 4-of-a-kind is 0.0256%.

There are only 13 sets of quads in a 52-card poker deck. However, there are 156 distinct hands and 624 possible combinations. Here’s why:

For every set of quads, there are 12 possible kickers. Since a poker hand is technically composed of five cards, that means there are 12 possible hands for every set of quads. That equals 156 distinct hand possibilities in a standard deck. With four different suits, that combination multiplies to 624 possible combinations. 

While 624 combinations may sound like a lot, there are actually 123,552 possible five-card hands in a deck.

Odds of flopping quads

For more perspective, the odds of flopping quads are 3,333-to-1. But considering that the average player only plays about a fourth of their starting hands, the odds of flopping quads extend out to about 13,333-to-1.

Texas hold’em

In standard Texas hold’em card games played with a 52-card deck, the probability of making four-of-a-kind is 0.0256%. And the odds of making quads at some point during a hand is 4,164-to-1.

The odds of winning or losing with quads varies greatly. It depends on the number of players, pocket card holdings, and how many of the players stay in the hand. 

Omaha

Four-of-a-kind in Omaha is trickier because the player can only (and must) use two of his or her four hole cards. The probability of making four-of-a-kind in an Omaha game is 0.0048%. This refers to quads that are usable in making a valid hand.

How many 4 of a kinds are possible?

Playing with a standard 52-card deck, there are 13 possible quads, such as four aces, four deuces, four tens, or four kings. Every card in the deck, per poker hand rankings, has four of its kind in that deck.

Since there are five cards in a Hold’em hand, this means that there are 156 quad hands possible.

Conclusion

Quads or four-of-a-kind is an exciting hand in poker. It’s a rare enough hand to excite players when they see it, but you must remember that it’s not the best possible hand in any poker game.

When playing quads, you must always consider the poker variant, texture of the board, and other possibilities that another player could beat 4-of-a-kind with a different set of quads or a straight or royal flush. Quads can remain exciting in poker if the player remains cautious.