The player makes an ante bet and may also make an aces-up bet. Five playing cards are dealt to the player who has to make the best four-card hand possible. The dealer is dealt five cards face down, and one card face up, a total of six cards. He also has to make the best four-card hand. After seeing his cards and the dealer's face up card, the player can opt to fold, in which case he receives nothing, or play, by betting 1-3 times his ante.
The aces-up bet is resolved independently of the dealer's hand, purely on the rank of the player's payout. The specific payout depends on the payout in use, with payouts for a pair of aces (pays even money on the aces-up wager) or better.
The dealer has an advantage in having an extra card from which to select the best four, and the fact that if the player folds, he will lose his ante, even if his hand was better than the dealers. The player gets return from the bonus bet payment and from the ability to raise by more than one unit if the hand is good.
A simple strategy (as listed on the ShuffleMaster information pamphlet available at some four card poker tables) dictates the following when playing the ante bet: