Crazy 4 Poker is a proprietary table-comparing game currently published by Shufflemaster (now Light and Wonder), based loosely on the basic rules of Poker.
However, as a Banking table game, Crazy 4 more closely resembles other casino table games such as Spanish 21, than it does Poker.
Players face off against the Dealer, rather than each other, attempting to form the best possible hand according to the rules of Crazy 4 Poker.
How to Play Crazy 4 Poker?
Crazy 4 Poker is played using one standard Anglo-American 52-card deck. The Dealer is considered a Player, and a game can have up to 8 Players.
Players are dealt 5 cards, and attempt for form the best 4-handed Poker hand according to Crazy 4’s poker hierarchy, explained below in the “Hand Rankings” section.
There are 4 zones in front of each Player’s seat:
First Round of Betting
Before cards can be dealt, Players must make two equal wagers.
These are the Ante and The Super Bonus. Despite its name, the Super Bonus is actually a compulsory wager that Players must make if they wish to participate in the game.
Players must place an equal wager into both the Ante and Super Bonus zones, and will usually have to meet or exceed the table’s posted betting minimum.
For example, if the minimum is $10, then a Player that wishes to participate must pay $10 into the Ante zone, and $10 into the Super Bonus zone, for a total of $20.
Once each Player has paid in the required amount the official deal will begin. The Dealer will give five cards face-down to each Player. Players are allowed to look at their own hands, but should not look at other Player’s hands.
Players are then given the choice, after looking at their hand, to Play or Fold.
Folding Players simply surrender their Ante and Super Bonus, as well as the Queen’s Up wager if one was made. Players cannot make any money from folding, but they also do not risk losing even more money by playing and losing to the Dealer.
Players that wish to play must make a wager equal to the Ante. If the Ante was $10, then the Play must be $10. This is true in all cases except where a Player has in their hand a pair of aces, or better.
Cards in Crazy 4 Poker are valued according to the Hand Ranking explained below. When a Player has such a meld in their hand, they are able to “Triple Down” or wager 3x their original Ante.
Players are permitted to do this even if they will exceed the table’s betting maximum, as the maximum applies to the original Ante, and not this triple down.
Once all Players have played or folded, each will reveal their hands and take turns comparing their hand against the Dealer’s.
If the Player’s hand is ranked more highly in the Hand Ranking, then they win and are paid out 1:1 based on their Ante and Play zones. The Super Bonus and Queen’s Up Bonus will pay out differently, explained in the Payouts and Odds section.
The Dealer must qualify however, in order for Players to receive their Ante payout. The Dealer does not qualify unless they have a King-Ace in their hand, or better.
This essentially gives the Dealer a “free-fold” that slightly edges the odds in favor of the house, as the Dealer can simply force a push if they are going to lose with a junk hand.
When the Dealer fails to qualify, a Player’s Ante wager is pushed, meaning it is returned to the Player. However, their Play wager, Super Bonus and Queen’s Up Bonuses will still pay out.
Ending and Next Hand
Players will take turns, surrendering their wagers or receiving their payouts where appropriate.
Once every Player is accounted for, cards will be collected and reshuffled as Players wager new Antes and Super Bonuses and prepare to play another hand.
The Crazy 4 Poker rules can be summarized as follows:
- The Super Bonus is not optional. Players are required to pay into the Super Bonus in order to be dealt cards. The Super Bonus must be equal to the Ante.
- When choosing to Play rather than folding, a Player’s wager must be at least equal to the Ante. If a Player has a pair of Aces or better in their hand, they may wager either 1x the Ante, or 3x.
- Players receive a 1:1 payout for their Play and Ante zones, and receive additional payouts based on the strength of their hand for the Super Bonus and Queen’s Up zones.
- Players are attempting to form the best 4-card Poker hand, rather than the best 5-card Poker hand as is more normal. As such, Crazy 4 does not use the traditional Poker Hierarchy.
Crazy 4 does not use the traditional Poker rankings, as it is only a 4-card game. Players use their 5 cards to form the best possible 4-card Poker hand that they can. Below are those possible 4-card melds, ranked from highest to lowest:
|Four-Kind||4♦ 4♣ 4♠ 4♥|
|Straight Flush||7♦ 8♦ 9♦ 10♦|
|Three-Kind||3♥ 3♦ 3♣|
|Flush||3♦ 5♦ 7♦ 9♦|
|Straight||2♥ 3♦ 4♠ 5♣|
|Two-Pair||2♥ 2♦ 5♦ 5♠|
A higher-ranking meld beats a lower-ranking meld, even if it has cards of a higher rank (A pair of kings loses to a three-kind of 2s, for example).
In cases of a tie in meld, the highest ranking card in the meld determines the winner.
- If the Player has a flush and the Dealer has a flush, but the Player has an Ace in their flush, then the Player would win.
- If the Dealer also had an ace in their flush, then a push would occur.
Payouts and Odds
Although the Play and Ante wagers pay one to one and only if they are able to form a 4-card hand better than the Dealer’s, the Super Bonus and Queen’s Up Bonus offer special payouts regardless if the Player was able to beat the Dealer or not.
The house edge in a standard game of Crazy 4 Poker is 3.42%.
As the Super Bonus is compulsory in order to Play the game, it will be explained first.
The Super Bonus is a special wager that pays out extra if the Player is able to form a straight in their 4-card hand or better according to the above ranking.
Players receive their Super Bonus payout based on a pay table with the strength of the meld determining the money won.
If a Player is not able to form at least a straight, and lost their hand against the Dealer, they lose their Super Bonus wager. However, if a Player does not form a Straight, but is still able to defeat the Dealer, their Super Bonus is pushed instead.
Here is the pay table for the Super Bonus in Crazy 4 Poker:
|Straight||1x (Also called Even Money, or doubling the wager)|
|Less Than Straight, But Won Hand||Push|
Queen’s Up Bonus
The other Bonus available is optional, and only paid into if a Player wishes. This is the Queen’s Up Bonus.
When wagering Queen’s up, Players are hoping that their hand will contain a pair of Queens or better. The stronger the hand, the higher a Player’s payout will be.
Here is the pay table for the Queen’s Up Bonus in Crazy 4 Poker:
|Pair Queens, Kings, or Aces||1x or Even Money|
Unlike the Super Bonus, if a Player does not make at least a pair of Queens, then they forfeit their Queen’s Up Bonus completely, even if they are able to beat the Dealer.
Crazy 4 Poker Example Hand
Imagine the following are the five cards dealt to you after you have paid your Ante and Super Bonus, and assume you paid a $10 Queen’s Up Bonus:
8♣ 3♥ 10♥ 9♣ 8♥
Although you were able to form a pair, you did not form a pair of Queens or better. This nullifies your Queen’s Up Bonus.
Although you were very close to a 4-card straight, you did not achieve it. As such, folding may be the best option here. With only a pair of eights, your odds are not very high to beat the Dealer.
But, for the sake of example, we shall suppose that you do. The Dealer reveals their hand:
A♦ K♠ K♥ 6♦ 7♦
The Dealer qualifies, and as such the Player compares their pair of 8s to the Dealers pair of Kings. The Dealer wins, and the Player forfeits their Ante, Super Bonus, Queen’s Up Bonus, and their Play wager.
Strategy and Tips
Careful with playing the Queen’s Up Wager
The Queen’s Up wager may seem tempting, but you are probably better off not playing it.
The Queen’s Up only rewards hands where you have already won, they only allow you to win harder. Charting this out on thousands of games increases the likelihood of paying into the Queen’s Up without seeing any reward.
After enough games, even with the Queen Up paying out on occasion, you are much more likely to lose money than you are to win it betting on the Queen’s Up Bonus.
Do not always triple down
Furthermore, it is not advisable to always triple down in Crazy 4 Poker. It is less risky than in other games, as if the Dealer does not qualify you will still be paid out for your Triple wager on the Play area.
However, Players are allowed to triple down with a pair of aces or better. A pair of Aces may seem very strong, but it is only the strongest possible configuration of the weakest meld in the game.
Your pair of Aces will lose to a measly two-pair of 2s and 3s. Only Triple down if your hand has at least a straight or better.