Four-of-a-kind marks one of the rarest and strongest hands you can possibly make in a poker game. The third-strongest hand in the standard poker hand rankings, four-of-a-kind only loses to straight flushes and royal flushes.
A 52-card poker deck features four aces, four kings, four queens, and so on. To make four-of-a-kind, you need to draw all four of the same card as part of a five-card hand.
An example of a four-of-a-kind looks like this:
You’ve made four-of-a-kind in this case by drawing all four tens out of the deck. Note that the 3♣ is just the high-card kicker in this hand and would only factor in if two or more players made the same hand in a community cards game like Texas Hold’em.
Other examples of four-of-a-kind could be A♠ A♥ A♣ A♦ 4♣ and 5♠ 5♥ 5♣ 5♦ T♦. In a battle of two or more four-of-a-kind hands, the hand with the strongest cards wins. For example, four-of-a-kind aces beats four-of-a-kind kings.
How Does Four-of-a-Kind Rank?
Four-of-a-kind stands as the No. 3 hand in the standard poker hand rankings, only trailing the straight flush and the royal flush. A 52-card deck yields 156 distinct ways to make four-of-a-kind. Combined with all possible different kickers, there are 624 possible ways to draw four-of-a-kind.
If you randomly drew five cards from the 52-card deck, you’d have an 0.0240% chance of making four-of-a-kind (4,165-to-1 odds against).
In Texas Hold’em, the object is to make the best five-card hand from seven total cards. With all five community cards dealt, the probability of making four-of-a-kind in Texas Hold’em is 0.168% or 594-to-1 odds against.