Straights

A straight is five cards of sequential rank, not of the same suit. If they are the same suit, it is called a straight flush. In the rank of poker hands, a straight lies right about in the middle. Straights, flushes, and straight flushes are different in that they are the only hands that don't require the matching of similarly ranked cards. Straights uniquely deal with the synergy between adjacent cards.

Straights and straight flushes do not "wrap around", that is, you couldn't make a straight like this...

Queen of Hearts King of Clubs Ace of Diamonds Two of Hearts Three of Spades

...because the ace does not "wrap around", it is either the highest card in a straight or lowest only. Because of this there are only ten possible straights, not counting the suits of the individual cards.

Straights have a lot of names. They can be called a "run", although this is more often a British term, or more commonly used with three-card poker games (which not-so-coincidentally are more common in England). Straights are called out by the highest card in the straight, for instance a 56789 straight would be a "nine-high straight" or a "straight to the nine". A few of them have specific names, in particular "Broadway" is...

Ten of Spades Jack of Clubs Queen of Diamonds King of Hearts Ace of Hearts

A five-high straight can be called a "Bicycle" (or "Bike"), but is more commonly called a "Wheel"...

Ace of Clubs Two of Hearts Three of Spades Four of Diamonds Five of Spades

The straight flush versions of those two also have nicknames; the Wheel becomes a "Steel Wheel"...

Ace of Diamonds Two of Diamonds Three of Diamonds Four of Diamonds Five of Diamonds

And, of course, the straight flush version of Broadway is the Royal Flush...

Ten of Spades Jack of Spades Queen of Spades King of Spades Ace of Spades

A few fun facts about straights...

  • You can't make a straight without using a ten or a five.
  • If you have middle connected cards (like 87), your chance of flopping a straight is 1.31%.
  • ...unless it's suited, the it drops to 1.29%, because of the chance of flopping a flush too.
  • Straights are the most common hand in split pots.
  • In the 18th century, when straights were added to the rank of poker hands, the straight came between two pair and trips.

And finally a little trivia question that we will not answer for you. :)

"There are ten straights in holdem. Preflop, if you were dealt ten-five, you could potentially make any of those straights, except one. Which is it?"


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