what beats four aces in poker

What Beats Four Aces in Poker?

Four aces is one of the strongest hands you can make in poker. If you find yourself holding four aces in any game that uses standard poker hand rankings, your chances of winning the pot are very, very good.

Is there any hand that beats four aces in poker? Let’s take a look.

Does Anything Beat Four Aces In Poker?

Four of a kind is one of the very strongest hands in poker. In the poker hand rankings, only a straight flush and a royal flush beat four of a kind.

Four aces is the strongest possible four of a kind. If four aces goes up against any other four of a kind, the four aces wins.

For example, if you have four-of-a-kind aces, and an opponent has four-of-a-kind jacks, you win.

If you have four-of-a-kind aces, there are only two possible hands you can lose to – a straight flush and a royal flush.

A straight flush is the second-strongest hand you can possibly make in poker. Only the royal flush beats a straight flush.

A straight flush is five consecutive value cards of all the same suit. A straight flush is essentially a flush and a straight at the same time. 

Examples of a straight flush could include hands like Q♠J♠T♠9♠8♠ and 76543. A royal flush is an ace-high straight flush (for example A♠K♠Q♠J♠T♠). 

The full poker hand rankings look like this:

what beats four aces in poker - poker hand rankings chart

In Texas Hold’em, a situation will arise where four aces loses to a stronger hand about once every 13 million hands. It’s very unlikely to lose when you have four aces, but let’s take a look at a scenario where that could happen.

An Example Of Four Aces Losing

One of the most famous hands in the history of the World Series of Poker happened at the 2008 WSOP Main Event. The ESPN cameras catch up with the hand as players Justin Phillips and Motoyuki Mabushi are heads up on the river with the board reading A9♣QTA.

Phillips bets, Mabushi yells “GAMBLE” and pushes all of his chips into the pot. Phillips calls, and as it turns out, has KJagainst Mabushi’s A♠A♣.

Mabushi’s four aces loses to Phillips’ royal flush. “Quad aces your last hand of the Main Event,” explains commentator Norman Chad, in a situation that might be one-of-a-kind in WSOP history.

Here’s the clip from that hand, courtesy of PokerGO:

Commentator Lon McEachern later says the probability of four aces losing to exactly a royal flush is around 2.7 billion-to-1.

The odds of losing with four aces changes depending on which poker variant you’re playing, but in any case, it’s one of the most rare events that can happen in a poker game.

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About the Author
Geoffrey Fisk

Geoffrey Fisk

Freelance writer and poker player based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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