Definition and Meaning
Among poker’s most powerful combinations, a Four of a Kind is always welcomed by many players. Also known as Quads, this poker hand contains four cards of equal rank along with one unrelated kicker card.
This guide covers everything you need to know about the third-best hand combination in the game.
Definition in short: A Four of a Kind in poker is a hand with four cards of the same rank and one unrelated card.
Four of a Kind Examples
An illustration of four Aces forming Quads can be seen below, including multiple examples of a Four of a Kind combination:
- A♣ A♦ A♠ A♥ 2♦
- 2♦ 2♥ 2♣ 2♥ A♠
- 7♥ 7♠ 7♣ 7♦ J♥
- Q♦ Q♥ Q♠ Q♣ 3♣
- 5♠ 5♦ 5♥ 5♣ 10♠
In total, there are 13 different combinations of four cards of the same rank. However, in general, a poker hand is made out of 5 cards. This means that we need to account for the 5th card, the kicker.
In that case, there are exactly 624 unique configurations of a complete Four of a Kind hand.
A Word on Kickers
If two players both make Four of a Kind using the community cards, the winner is determined by who has the highest-ranked kicker.
The board is Q-Q-Q-Q-8
- Player 1 holds A-J
- Player 2 holds K-10
Player 1 wins with their Ace kicker.
However, if both players make Quads using hole cards plus community cards, kickers are irrelevant – the highest set of four wins.
If Player 1 has pocket Qs and the board is Q-8-2-5-K, they beat Player 2 who has pocket 8s with the Q-Q-Q-Q-K board.
|1 in 4,165||0.0240%|
The probability of being dealt a Four-of-a-Kind in a standard 52-card deck is 0.0240%. Meaning that on average you will hit it once every 4,165 hands.
Note that this is the case for the more popular 5-card poker games like Texas Hold’em and Five Card Draw.
All in all, forming Quads is very rare. Players might only hit a handful of them within thousands of hands at the table. The odds increase slightly if you are holding a pocket pair as your starting hand.
Quads Strategy – How to Play it
Below we laid out some strategy tips for playing Four of a Kind in poker:
- Be cautious pre-flop: Four of a Kind is very rare, so don’t get married to a hand hoping to make Quads. Play premium pairs and suited connectors that have potential.
- Bet aggressively when you make your Quads: You want to build a big pot when you hit this monster hand. However, don’t overbet – you don’t want to scare people out.
- Pay attention to Straight and Flush possibilities on the board: A higher Straight Flush can still beat Quads. Make sure the board doesn’t allow that before getting all your chips in.
- Consider slow playing if you have a set pre-flop: Check-raising the flop can build a bigger pot when you fill up your Quads. Just don’t slow play too much – you want action.
- Value bet thinner on the river: You likely have the best hand, so get value from worse holdings like two pair or sets. But a large river bet may scare them off when the board pairs or flushes.
- Play Quads fast if the board pairs: Another player could have a Full House in that case. Bet strong to charge draws and isolate opponents quickly.
The key is balancing aggression with caution against Straight and Flush draws. Maximize value from your huge hand, but don’t lose your whole stack if an opponent hits a miraculous Straight Flush.
Is Four of a Kind a good hand in poker?
Yes, it is a good hand. To be exact it is the third-best hand in most poker games.
What is the best Four of a Kind?
The Four of a Kind is the one consisting of four Aces and with a King as the kicker. For example, A A A A K
What beats a Four of a Kind?
What is beaten by Four of a Kind?
What happens if 2 people have Quads?
If two players have Four of a Kind in the same hand, the one with the higher set of four matching cards wins – for example, four 10s beats four 9s. Kickers are irrelevant here.