Crazy 4 Poker online is the internet-based version of a Shufflemaster table game. It’s been around for at least 15 years as of 2020.
Crazy 4 Poker is popular.
The purpose of this post is to teach you how to play Crazy 4 Poker online well enough to win more often than the average player.
How to Play Crazy 4 Poker Online
Playing Crazy 4 Poker online is more or less just like playing it in a land-based casino.
You start by making 2 bets:
- Super Bonus
These 2 bets must be of the same size.
You can also choose an optional side bet, the Queens Up bet.
You get 5 cards. And the dealer gets 5 cards too.
After you get your cards, you can either fold or make a Play bet.
Folding in Crazy 4 Poker is just like folding in any other poker game. You forfeit any chance of winning, but you also don’t have to put any more money into action.
Folding is a good idea when you have a lousy hand.
If you have a pair of aces or better, you can place a Play bet of up to 3 times the size of your ante bet.
If you have any hand lower than a pair of aces, you can only place a Play bet of the same size as your ante bet.
After that, you discard a card so that you can make your best possible 4-card poker hand.
The dealer does the same thing, and you compare hands.
The better hand wins.
How Do the Hands Rank in Crazy 4 Poker Online
The standard poker hand rankings don’t apply in Crazy 4 Poker, because it’s not a 5-card game.
Here’s a list of the possible hands in Crazy 4 Poker online, from best to worst:
- 4 of a kind
- Straight flush
- 3 of a kind
- 2 pair
- Anything else
You’ll probably notice that a straight flush, which is normally the best hand in any game of poker, is the 2nd-best hand in Crazy 4 Poker. You’ll probably also notice the lack of a full house. (It’s impossible to have a full house because that hand requires 5 cards.)
Memorize these hand rankings. It won’t take you long. It’s impossible to make the right decision about which cards to hold and which card to discard if you don’t understand the hand rankings.
The ranking of your hand is going to affect your payout when you win, but it’s not like video poker. You don’t just get paid off on the value of your hand.
You also must beat the dealer hand.
How the Payouts in Crazy 4 Poker Work
The payouts vary based on whether or not the dealer is able to “open.” The dealer only opens when he has a king or higher in his final hand.
Here’s how the payouts work if the dealer opens:
The ante bet pays off at even money if you have the better hand.
It’s treated as a push if you have a tie with the dealer. And if the dealer has a better hand, you lose your ante bet.
The Play bet works the same way if the dealer opens — if you win, you win, and if the dealer wins, you lose. If there’s a tie, it’s treated as a push.
The differences come up if the dealer DOESN’T open.
The play bet WINS if the dealer doesn’t open, no matter what you have in your hand.
So far, these bets all pay out at even money.
The only bet that doesn’t pay out at even money is the Super Bonus Bet, which pays off based on the strength of your final hand. And the Super Bonus Bet pays off whether the dealer opens or not, as follows:
- 4 aces pays off at 200 to 1
- Any other 4 of a kind pays off 30 to 1
- A straight flush pays off at 15 to 1
- 3 of a kind pays off at 2 to 1
- A flush pays off at 3 to 2
- A straight pays off at even money
The Queens Up Side Bet and Its Payouts
The Queens Up side bet has its own pay table. (Remember that one? It’s an optional bet you can place at the beginning of the hand.)
The payouts vary from casino to casino, but they’re always based on the following hands:
- A 4 of a kind pays off at 50 to 1 everywhere.
- A straight flush pays off at 30 to 1 or 40 to 1, depending on where you play.
- A 3 of a kind pays off at 7 to 1, 8 to 1, or 9 to 1 — again, depending on where you play.
- A flush pays off at 4 to 1 everywhere.
- A straight pays off at 3 to 1 everywhere.
- 2 pair pays off at 2 to 1 everywhere.
- A pair of queens or higher pays off at even money.
What Kind of House Edge Does Crazy 4 Poker Have?
When discussing casino games, the concept of house edge becomes useful. It’s just a projection or estimate of what you’re expected to lose over time playing a specific casino game.
It’s based on the discrepancy between the odds of winning and the amount of the payoff you get.
In all casino games, the odds of winning are always longer than the payout odds.
In other words, if you’re getting even money, you can bet that you have a less than 50% probability of winning.
When you’re playing Crazy 4 Poker, the house edge varies from bet to bet, but you can estimate the overall house edge for the game if you ignore the Queens Up bet.
If you play with the optimal strategy — or close to it — the house edge for Crazy 4 Poker is only about 1.1%, making it one of the better casino games available. It’s not blackjack, but it’s still a good deal.
The house edge on the Queens Up bet, though, isn’t as good. It’s at least 3.4%, and that’s with the optimal pay table. The worst pay table has a house edge of over 6%.
My advice is to skip the optional side bet.
That’s good advice with most casino games, by the way — skip the side bets.
Optimal Crazy 4 Poker Strategy
The mathematically optimal Crazy 4 Poker strategy is hard, but you can get close to the optimal house edge by following this simple 3 point strategy:
First, make the 3X raise whenever you can. That’s always the right move.
Next, make the 1X raise any time you have a king, queen, 8, and 4 or better.
Finally, fold anything else.
That’s it. This simplified strategy was available on the Wizard of Odds site, and I have no reason to doubt its accuracy.
That’s my short, sweet, simple guide to Crazy 4 Poker online.
The only thing you need to do now is find an online casino that offers the game.
If you have any suggestions for good online casinos offering the game, leave me a note in the comments.