POKER FAQ - please read BEFORE starting a new thread

Noob questions, poker rules clarifications, "who wins?" questions

POKER FAQ - please read BEFORE starting a new thread

Postby HalfSugar » Fri Jul 09, 2004 8:11 pm GMT

Due to popular demand, here is the definitive guide to who wins in various showdown situations so please give it a read BEFORE posting a question about this type of situation:

The primary rule to remember when deciding who wins the showdown is always that the winning hand is decided on the best 5 cards out of the 7 available to each player. The 7 cards are of course:

The two cards they were dealt (their 'hole cards')
The 5 community cards in the centre of the table

Here are some examples:


Scenario 1.
Two people have a flush, who wins?

A flush (5 cards of the same suit) is always ranked by it's highest card so if you hold the Ace as part of your flush, you are holding the best possible flush (also known as the 'nut flush')

The part that confuses people is when the highest card in both players' flushes is part of the community cards. For example:

Player 1 holds : [Jh][2h]
Player 2 holds : [7h][6h]

The community cards are : [Kh][Kc][3h][4s][8h]

Both players are holding a heart flush with the highest card being the [Kh] which is on the table. In this case, the NEXT highest ranked card of each player is considered. Player 1's next best is the [Jh] in his hand. Player 2's next best is the [8h] which is on the table. Player 1 is therefore the winner of the pot because his Jack beats Player 2's 8.

NB. The only way a flush can EVER split a pot is when the best 5 cards of the same suit are all 5 community cards. This is quite rare but nevertheless can occur. Even if the players in the showdown hold other cards of the same suit, they are inconsequential if none of their face values beat the board because the 6th and 7th cards do not count.

Scenario 2.
Two people have two pair, who wins?

If a player holds two pair, the important pair is the higher of the two pairs. In a showdown situation where two or more players declare two pair, the player with the highest pair wins the hand. For example (the suits are not important here):

Player 1 holds : [Kc][Js]
Player 2 holds : [Ac][2d]

The community cards are : [Ks][Js][Ad][2c][6h]

Player 1 has 2 pair - Kings and Jacks
Player 2 has 2 pair - Aces and Twos

Player 2 wins by virtue of his highest pair being larger than Player 1's highest pair (Aces vs Kings). Player 1 may hold Jacks which are higher than Player 2's Twos but they are inconsequential.

NB. Two players may hold the same 2 pair in which case the 5th card is considered. For example (again ignoring suits):

Player 1 holds : [Ah][10s]
Player 2 holds : [Ac][7s]

The community cards are : [As][3h][3d][5c][9d]

In this case, both players have the same two pairs - Aces and Threes but Player 1 will win because his fifth card (his kicker here) is the [10s] he is holding whereas Player 2's is the [9d] that is on the table.

Scenario 3.
Two people have a full house, who wins?

A full house is having 3 of a kind AND a pair as your 5 cards eg AAA88. It is possible that two players can both declare different full houses on the same hand in which case it is the face value of the 3 of a kind that decides the winner. For example (ignoring suits once more):

Player 1 holds : [Ac][8s]
Player 2 holds : [Js][Jh]

The community cards are : [Ad][Jc][8c][8h][4d]

Both players have a different full house - Player 1 has 'Eights over Aces' ([8s][8c][8h][Ac][Ad]) and Player 2 has 'Jacks over Eights' ([Js][Jh][Jc][8c][8h]). Player 2 wins because his three of a kind is Jacks while Player 1's three of a kind is 8s.

Scenario 4.
Two people have a straight, who wins?

A straight is 5 cards in consecutive rank order, regardless of suit. Two players can declare different straights on the same hand and it is the highest card in the straight that decides it. For example (ignoring suits):

Player 1 holds : [6h][7c]
Player 2 holds : [Qs][Jh]

The community cards are : [As][2h][8c][9d][10h]

Player 1 holds a straight from 6 to 10 but Player 2 holds a straight from 8 to Queen. Player 2 wins because the highest card in his straight is the [Qs] which beats the highest card in Player 1's hand which is just the [10h].

Scenario 5.
A player holds a pocket pair but the board pairs twice higher

Player 1 holds : [7c][7s]
Player 2 holds : [Qh][2c]

The community cards are : [As][Ac][Jh][Jc][3d]

Player 1 held a pocket pair pre-flop but now, because the board has paired twice and both pairs are higher than the sevens, they are now worthless. Player 1 now holds [As][Ac][Jh][Jc][7s] while Player 2 holds [As][Ac][Jh][Jc][Qh] so while Player 1 was ahead pre-flop, he ends up losing to the better kicker as his pocket pair is reduced to a mere kicker.

============

New section added 9th Jan 2005 by K-Rug
Basic Beginner FAQ's for Texas Hold'em

#1 Do you have to use the cards in your hand?
You do not have to use your pocket cards if the best five cards consist of the ones on the board.

#2 If I use five cards to make my hand and someone has the same hand, is the winner determined by a kicker?
The best five cards win. Even if the best five cards are on the board. If two players can make a five card straight 3-7 and one has an A, the other a Q, it is still a split spot since both have the same five card straight. The unused cards are irrelevant.

#3 When do you use a kicker?
A kicker is used when two or more players have the same hand WITHOUT using five card. Example: Player A has a pair of Jacks and Player B has a pair of Jacks. Player A has a Q in his hand and Player B has an Ace. Player B wins because they have Jacks with an Ace kicker. Player B only has Jacks with a Queen kicker.

#4 Can a person flip their cards up before a hand is complete?
Only house rules can determine if someone is allowed to flip their cards over and not have them be considered dead or folded. House rules vary from place to place.

#5 When do I need to show my cards?
You only need to show your cards if you are the LAST person to bet/raise. If you are the last person to bet/raise than you are the first to show. If you only CALLED a bet than you DO NOT have to show your cards first. If you call CALLED a bet and the first person shows their cards and has you beat you can muck/fold your cards without showing anyone. Obviously, if you have the person beat, you need to show your cards to win the pot.

#6 What if I can't cover the blinds for the next hand?
If you do not have enough to cover either blinds, you are considered all-in with the amount you have left. The rest of the players still have to call the blinds as they normally would.

#7 When there are two players left, who is the dealer?
When it comes down to two players left, the dealer is always the small blind and acts first pre-flop. Post flop, the other person acts first.
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HalfSugar
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