What’s the Difference Between a 4 of a Kind and 3 of a Kind?

In a poker game, a dealer distributes five playing cards to the players. And they call this a poker hand. In some games, you may get a 4 of a kind and a 3 of a kind. Which is higher? And how do you come up with these poker hands? We answer these questions next up.

Four of a Kind

Four of a kind is the same as Quads. You can get a poker hand where 4 cards are the same value or rank. The remaining card is your kicker. For example, in a poker hand of 5 playing cards, you got:

  • 5 of Hearts
  • 5 of Clovers
  • 5 of Diamonds
  • 5 of Spades
  • 9 of Spades

In this example, the player has a “four of a kind, fives.” You rank this poker hand based on the quads, then the kicker. Let’s check these examples below, where the first poker hand ranks highest, the second ranks next, and so on.

  •  First poker hand:

Queen of Hearts, Queen of Clovers, Queen of Diamonds, Queen of Spades, 5 of Hearts

  • Second poker hand:

10 of Hearts, 10 of Clovers, 10 of Diamonds, 10 of Spades, 5 of Hearts

  • Third poker hand:

10 of Hearts, 10 of Clovers, 10 of Diamonds, 10 of Spades, 3 of Hearts

Two hands that show identical figures but different suit are equal in rank. For example:

  • First poker hand:

Jack of Hearts, Jack of Clovers, Jack of Diamonds, Jack of Spades, 3 of Hearts

  • Second poker hand:

Jack of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds, Jack of Clovers, Jack of Spades, 3 of Diamonds

Three of a Kind

Three of a kind is the same as Trips or Sets. You can get a poker hand where 3 cards are the same value or rank. The remaining 2 cards are your kickers. For example, in a poker hand of 5 playing cards, you got:

  • 5 of Hearts
  • 5 of Clovers
  • 5 of Diamonds
  • 10 of Spades
  • 9 of Spades

In this example, the player has a “three of a kind, fives” or “trip fives” or a “set of fives.” You rank this poker hand based on triplets, then the higher value among the kickers. Let’s check these examples below, where the first poker hand ranks highest, the second ranks next, and so on. 

  • First poker hand:

Queen of Hearts, Queen of Clovers, Queen of Diamonds, 10 of Spades, 8 of Hearts

  • Second poker hand:

10 of Hearts, 10 of Clovers, 10 of Diamonds, Jack of Spades, 5 of Hearts

  • Third poker hand:

10 of Hearts, 10 of Clovers, 10 of Diamonds, 9 of Spades, 6 of Hearts

  • Fourth poker hand:

10 of Hearts, 10 of Clovers, 10 of Diamonds, 9 of Spades, 3 of Hearts

Two hands that have the same figures but different suit are equal in rank. For example:

  • First poker hand:

Jack of Hearts, Jack of Clovers, Jack of Diamonds, 5 of Spades, 4 of Hearts

  • Second poker hand:

Jack of Hearts, Jack of Clovers, Jack of Diamonds, 5 of Spades, 4 of Diamonds

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to form a 3 of a kind and a 4 of a kind. Time to take out the cards and start having fun playing poker with friends!

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