Four of a kind is undoubtedly a monster holding in Texas Hold’em poker. Since only straight flushes can actually beat this hand, you’re in great shape whenever you make quads. However, many players don’t really know how to play such spots correctly. 

Should we play fast or slow? Does position really matter when holding quads? These are just a few of the points we’ll cover in this guide to playing four of a kind effectively.

Four of a Kind – One of the rarest hand to make in poker

Four of a Kind Stats

In Texas Hold’em, you obviously begin with just two cards. Naturally, it’s not possible to make quads until the flop has been dealt.

Whenever you’re dealt a pocket pair, the chances of flopping four of a kind are tiny, at almost 1 in 406, or around 0.25%. By the river, the odds of your pocket pair turning into quads does increase a little, coming in at 1 in 122 (0.82%). 

If you don’t have a pair in the hole, the probability of hitting four of a kind on the flop is one in a If you don’t have a pair in the hole, you’ll only hit four of a kind on the flop one time in 100,000 thousand. That’s a 0.001% chance! 

The good news though, is when you do have quads, you are unlikely to lose. The exact calculation is complex. But quads over quads alone happens once every 312,663 hands at a ten-handed table. That’s pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime event and why many poker rooms pay out a Bad Beat Bonus for losing with four-of-a-kind.

What to Do When You Flop Quads?

As per the numbers above, you won’t be making four of a kind too often. As such, most average players are under-prepared and inexperienced when it comes to playing this hand. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you make the most of it.

Should You Slowplay Quads?

While all four-of-a-kind hands are massive, there are different types of quads. The board texture is the main factor in deciding whether to play slow or fast.

For instance, if you have pocket aces on a board of A-A-6, there’s obviously no chance of your opponent holding an ace for trips. But if you have pocket sevens on a board of K-7-7, there’s every chance you could be up against A-K, A-A, or even K-Q. These types of hands might fancy their chances in that spot, so you’re more likely to get action.

As a rule of thumb, if your quads are blocking a big chunk of your opponent’s range, it’s time to slow down. You want to give them a chance to catch up, or at least fire a bluff.

When to Speed Up

However, on draw-heavy boards, you can afford to go a little harder. For example, let’s say you have T(Club)-T(Spade) on a board of J(Heart)-T(Heart)-T(Diamond). 

Here, your opponent can easily have outs to straights and flushes, while already holding pairs, trips, and overcards. It’s not likely that they’ll give up quickly, so you can afford to fire. They may even be tempted to bluff and semi-bluff on such a board, so take every chance to build a good pot. 

How to Play Four of a Kind in Multiway Pots

Often in these poker strategy pieces, we’re assuming that you’re in a heads-up pot. After all, you shouldn’t ever be limping pre-flop, and the strategy is always to try and isolate opponents. But you will find yourself in three or even four-handed pots from time to time, especially in friendly live games.

Multiway pots do play differently though, so you should behave accordingly. No matter what happened pre-flop, if you’re out of position against any of the other players and have quads, you should check. Why? Because of your range.

As previously discussed, we’re extremely unlikely to be outdrawn with four of a kind. Therefore, we can afford to slow down, which protects our entire range. Remember, good opponents are watching your every move, and they are playing against your perceived range, not an individual hand. Since you should be more defensive in multiway pots, you should behave that way even when you hold the nuts.

However, if you have position on all your opponents in a multiway pot and have quads, aim to build the pot as normal. You should look to maximise your value. All of these actually apply to any incredibly strong hand, not only four of a kind.

Conclusion

If you’re sitting on a four-of-a-kind hand, you almost certainly have the nuts. While that’s an exceptionally desirable spot to be in, it doesn’t happen too often, so many players are unsure as to what to do.

First of all, don’t panic. Keep things nice and simple. Consider the board and your opponent’s range. If you’re blocking important cards, lean towards slowplaying. When faced with an action-heavy board, feel free to go big. Your aim with any strong hand should always be to maximise your earnings.

Now that you know how to play four of a kind, why not sign up for a free account with Natural8 today and start playing?

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