Kicker Card in Poker

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In Texas holdem, the player with the best 5 card hand wins the pot. At the showdown, although is it fairly easy to determine a winning hand by looking at the ranks of the hands, sometimes to determine a high ranking hand, we need to do more than that.

This is where the kicker in texas holdem comes in and we use the kicker rules of poker. In this article we discuss what exactly is a kicker poker texas holdem and how to implement the kicker rules of poker. But first let’s brush up on the basics of Texas holdem poker.

What is Texas holdem poker?

Texas holdem is the most popular variant of poker in the world. Being played in different tournaments all around the world, texas holdem has made quite a name for itself in the world of poker. Down below are the basic playing instructions for a game of texas holdem poker –

1.       Usually played between 2 to 10 players, this poker game is played with a standard 52 card deck.

2.       Each player gets 2 hole cards which are dealt face down by the dealer so that no other player can see the cards except the receiving player.

3.       Then 5 community cards are dealt face up on the board in an orderly fashion – first three cards are dealt, then another and then the 5th and last card is placed on the board.

4.       The first three community cards that are dealt at once is known as the ‘the flop’, the next single community card dealt is known as the ‘turn’, and the last community card dealt is known as ‘the river’.

5.       The betting takes place before and after each community card is dealt.

6.       The objective of the game is to create the best 5 card poker hand in conjunction with the hole cards and the community cards.

Thus, the player with the highest ranking 5 card poker hand wins the pot. These poker hands are determined by using the official poker hand rankings.

Now, sometimes it so happens that the players in the showdown have the same hand rankings. How to determine the winner then, you ask?

Since the players are in a tie, we need a tiebreaker. This is essentially the job of a kicker in Texas holdem.

What exactly is a kicker card?

As stated above, in simple terms, a kicker card is basically used to break a tie between players having the same hand rank. The kicker in texas holdem helps in determining the winner, breaking the tie by using the kicker rules of poker.

Let’s understand this by using an example –

Player 1’s cards – A-9

Player 2’s cards – A-8

Board cards – A-K-7-6-5

Player 1’s best cards – A-A-K-9-7

Player 2’s best cards – A-A-K-8-7

Here, we have used kicker poker texas holdem rules to determine the final winner.

Player 1 outkicks Player 2 and wins the pot. The 4th card from their best cards is the kicker, and Player 1’s kicker card is higher than that of Player 2’s.

In the kicker rules of poker there is also a possibility when the kicker will not be able to determine the winning player among the tied players. Then in that case, the pot will be split equally between the tied players.

Let’s see this with an example –

Player 1’s cards – A-9

Player 2’s cards – A-8

Board cards – A-K-Q-J-4

Player 1’s best cards – A-A-K-Q-J

Player 2’s best cards – A-A-K-Q-J

Here the board has A-K-Q-J-4 by which both the players will have exactly the same cards in their hands. Then, in this case we say that the kickers ‘don’t play’, and both the players will win the game and the pot will be split equally between them. In this example we didn’t use the kicker in texas holdem.

Now that you know how a texas holdem kicker works, it’s time that you know about the poker kicker rules and the cases in which a kicker in texas holdem applies.

In what cases is a kicker texas holdem applicable?

The kicker in Texas holdem cannot be applied to all the hand rankings. There are specific rank hands in which the kicker rules of poker apply which you will find below –

1.   High card –

Being the lowest hand card, a high card has no pair nor does it have any hand type. And because of this, all cards of high ranks can be used as a kicker poker texas holdem. In this, using your hole cards you can take the highest 5 cards out of the total 7 and make the best possible 5 card hand.

2.   One pair –

When your second hole card is higher than your opponents hole card, a kicker card is used according to the kicker rules of poker.

For example –

Your hand: A-K

Opponents’ hand: A-Q

The board: A-10-8-5-3

Your best 5 cards: A-A-K-10-8

Opponents’ best 5 cards: A-A-Q-10-8

In this scenario, you have outkicked your opponent, and won the pot.

3.   Two pair –

When you can’t make a two pair with both of your hole cards, a single card kicker comes into play.

According to the kicker poker rules in two pair the winner is determined by –

·         Making out the best high ranked pair between the players

·         If the first pair are same for both of them, the second pair are compared.

·         And if the players have the same two pairs using both of their hole cards, the pot will be split equally between the players.

4.   Three of a kind –

In three of a kind, the kicker is determined in the same as determined in one pair, that is, when your second hole card is higher than your opponent’s hole card, a kicker card is used according to kicker rules of poker.

5.   Four of a kind –

In this type of hand rank, according to kicker rules of poker, a kicker comes out to play only if there are four of a kind on the community board.

The above were the instances of kicker texas holdem in which a kicker in texas holdem comes into play to determine the winner.

In what cases is a kicker texas holdem not applicable?

Now, lets look at the instances in which the kicker poker texas holdem cannot come into play –

·         Straight

·         Flush

·         Full house

·         Straight flush

·         Royal flush

We have come to an end of our discussion of a kicker in texas holdem. Now that you know all about the rules and applicability of a kicker poker texas holdem, download the GetMega app now and enjoy a game of texas holdem with your friends!

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