Poker has been present in the gambling community for about two centuries now. And over time, it has only grown in popularity. Therefore, it’s only natural that such interest in this casino game has resulted in a vast number of poker forms. Among these are the fan-favorite Texas Hold’em and Omaha variants.
Apart from including various types, poker also has certain rule variations which spice things up. Without them, this game might not be as interesting. The most common one is the lowball version. According to it, the weakest poker hand is a source of joy for any player. Namely, it wins the pot.
Moreover, there are other rule modifications, but they aren’t as prominent as the above-mentioned one. Four-before is certainly one of them.
What Is Four-before?
Are you tired of the same old game? Are you looking for something that could be played independently or incorporated into other poker variations? Well, don’t worry — we got you covered. We present to you the obscure Four-before. If you haven’t been familiar with it until now and you’re a self-proclaimed poker enthusiast, don’t dwell on it. Many others haven’t, either.
This is your chance to know more than your average gambler. And if you want to enrich your life with another card game, then look no further! Prepare your cards and sit tight. We’ll shed light on the rules of this game to you below.
Four-before is certainly a quintessential home game. You’ll rarely, if ever, come across it in some opulent casino. But don’t let this prompt you to think less of it. It’s still waiting for others to catch up and see how exciting it is. And if you’re wondering what to include in your Friday get-together, we’d recommend this variation. If you want to start, then you need to gather some friends, poker chips, and a stack of cards.
It’s recommendable to use blinds rather than an ante. Therefore, you’ll need two players whose actions will indicate the start. The first one will be sitting to the left of the dealer. As for the other one, they’ll be to that person’s left.
The former would post a small blind. This would be a sign for the latter to place a big one. And now, as the pot is increasing, you can showcase just how skillful you are. In Four-before, each participant receives four cards face down. You can all take a moment and inspect them closely. But don’t forget — in order to move on, a player to the left of the big blind needs to begin; they make the first wager.
And after everyone has participated in this betting round, you can start focusing your attention on improving your hand. Here, you’ll probably wonder what you should retain or discard. As soon as you have the answers, you should act on them.
Furthermore, the draw rules state that you can discard fewer cards than you take. So let’s pretend that you want to dispose of 3 cards — as a result, you would get 4. Of course, this would indicate that you don’t have a promising hand. But in case that you’re competing against your friends and the stakes aren’t high, by all means, continue enjoying your time. Aside from this, don’t expect to get a pat hand (i.e., a royal flush or a straight) before the draw.
Next, everyone should indulge in another betting round. Of course, all of you are well aware of your respective hands and have probably contemplated your next move. In case there are a few participants remaining, then the showdown begins. In the end, let the best person win!
So, as evidenced, Four-before is similar to some poker games. But it stands out in one respect — you can use it in a number of other poker variations.
We’ll mention the rules of some of them below. Who knows, if they appeal to you, you might start employing this rule in them.
This was a go-to draw game in California long before Texas Hold’em attracted everyone’s attention. And if you haven’t yet, you should see for yourself why people were spellbound by it in the past.
It was probably because of one rule. In particular, unlike in some other poker types, your main goal here is to have the lowest possible set of cards. Yes, you’ve read that right. And a straight or a flush don’t count. Focus your attention on landing the lowest possible hand. And in California Lowball, that’s: 5-4-3-2-A.
Depending on the place in which you’re playing, you might encounter some rule variations. So we’d suggest checking with the casino whether their version has something out of the ordinary. For instance, it might include four-before. But for the purpose of this article, we’ll describe the most common progress of this game.
To start with, you’ll probably notice how similar it is to Five Card Draw. But poker enthusiasts might notice one difference during the showdown. As we’ve already mentioned, the highest ranking hand is not required if you want to score big. You can emerge a winner with the lowest one.
In addition, you should be conscious of the fact that the ace here is always low. So it’s not difficult to infer how hand rankings work. As aces are always low, it’s vital that the other cards are low in rank as well. To illustrate, with A-3-4-5-6, you might strike gold. No reason to worry, you might even win with A-2-3-4-7 as well, provided that the other players don’t expose a better hand.
So most commonly, three blinds are posted. Firstly, everything starts with a small blind which needs to be posted by the dealer. This is a sign for the player to the left of the dealer to place the big blind. Then, a player to their left needs to put in another big one. It’s crucial that these two bets reflect the dealer’s minimum amount.
What’s more, every participant gets 5 concealed cards. They can examine their cards before betting commences. If blinds are used, then a player to the left of the big blind makes the first wager. However, on rare occasions, this game includes an ante instead. If it does, then it starts with a player to the dealer’s left.
The moment the first round is brought to an end, participants, starting from the dealer’s left, can dispose of their cards in favor of new ones. You can even draw up to 4 cards. And then the second betting round begins after which a participant to the dealer’s left places a bet. Conversely, if an ante is used, then this round begins by the person who started the first betting round.
Ultimately, the remaining players expose their hands at showdown. For instance, say that you have 7-5-4-3-2 and your opponent has 7-6-3-2-A. Who would be the victor? Well, you would — because of the second top card. Namely, as you both have a 7, you can disregard them and check the next card. In this particular case, you have a 5, while the opponent has a 6. As 6 is higher than 5, you’d win.
According to some reports, Badugi (or Padooki) emerged in Asia in the 20th century. It has since spread across some casinos. You might liken it to Lowball poker. The primary reason for this is that both types require you to combine the lowest hand in order to prevail over others. However, it has features which differentiate it from other poker games.
Specifically, we’re referring to its hand ranking system. Here, the top hand you might get is the one devoid of any pairs. It also needs to include four cards of the lowest rank. They need to have a different suit (e.g., Ace of diamonds – 2 of hearts – 3 of spades – 4 of clubs). If you get this hand, then you have a Badugi.
It’s crucial to mention that Badugi uses forced bets (i.e., blinds). Thus, in order to commence, a player needs to be sitting next to the dealer’s left start. That person posts a small blind. Then, the participant to their left is responsible for placing the big blind.
Also, each player is set to receive four cards face down. This would indicate that the first betting round would take place. Here, you can raise, call, or fold. If you remain in the game, then you can draw cards. Moreover, you can dispose of any that aren’t helpful and take new ones. In Badugi, you can even discard all cards you got initially. Otherwise, you can decide to retain all of them. If you do, then you can refer to this as “standing pat.” After this round, there is a new one of betting.
In total, everyone can draw three times. And once the third one has finished, the remaining participants can wager once again. Of course, if several players remain, they face off at showdown. Ultimately, the aim is to make a Badugi. To illustrate, the best combination would be 4-3-2-A.
But not everyone gets these cards. So how do you determine a winner then? Well, easy — you would just need to check their hand rankings. For instance, you have 9-8-6-5, and your opponent gets 8-7-2-A, which are all of different suit. Both of you are at showdown and are waiting to see who’ll win the pot. In this case, your opponent would because their cards are lower ranking ones.
Conversely, two players sometimes have two hands which begin with an identical card (e.g., with a 6). In order to proclaim the winner, the cards next to the top ones are examined. If your rival has a 5 next to a 6 whereas you expose a 4, then you’d win in this case.
Logically, sometimes players can’t form a Badugi. For instance, this happens when two of their cards are of the same suit. To illustrate, 7 of hearts – 6 of spades – 4 of hearts – 3 of diamonds. If this were the case, you’d ignore the 7 of hearts and only rely on 6-4-3. You’d call this a “Three Card Four.” Of course, you’d lose if someone else was lucky enough to have gotten a Badugi. Lastly, if two participants end up having identical cards, they split the pot.
Overall, California Lowball and Badugi can both use the four-before rule. This would make for an interesting experience, as any new addition brings more excitement into the games. Poker certainly can keep anyone on their toes.
In conclusion, this is just one rule variation in a sea of many others. We’d recommend trying it out just to see whether you’d be able to land a win. So perhaps you could start by playing a game of Badugi that features a four-before ruleset. Thus, don’t waste your time — start playing now.