What Is A High Card In Poker?

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Last Updated: December 18, 2023

What Is A High Card In Poker

In poker, a high card refers to a combination that did not make a complete hand.

It is the lowest-ranking combination in the poker hand rankings and is only used as a tiebreaker when multiple players do not have a made hand.

The ranking of the high cards in poker follows the standard deck rankings, with the Ace being the highest, followed by the K, Q, J, T, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and the 2.

If multiple hands have the same high card, then the 2nd highest card is used as a tiebreaker, and so on.

In some poker variants, the high card is used as a tiebreaker and has strategic value. For example, in  7-Card Stud, the player with the highest-ranking card is the player that starts the betting round.

Poker High Hand Example:

Let's say you have come to the showdown with As 7s against your opponents Kc 7d, and the board is 8s Qd Js 2c 3c.

  • The best hand combination you can assemble is As Qd Js 8s 7s (ace-high).
  • The best hand combination that your opponent can put together is Kc Qd Js 8s 7d (king-high)

Since neither you nor your opponent has a made hand (a pair, a straight, a flush, a full house, etc.) in this situation, the high card is used to determine who will win the pot, and since the highest card in your combination (A) outranks the highest card in your opponent's combination (K), the pot will go to you.

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