01- 4-05, LearnTexasHoldem:

Determining Best Hand (by best 5 cards)

Question/Comment: Do you only look at 5 cards to determine the best hand, or do you sometimes leave those 5 cards, and look at what else could be made, to determine best hand/winner in a "tie" situation?

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In playing poker new year's eve, we came across a hand, that no one was certain who wins.

It was down to 2 players, and the cards were as follows:

Player 1: As, 8h

Player 2: Ad, Ks

Community cards: Qh, Qs, 8c, 10s, 10c

I thought they should split the pot, because they are both mking their best hand with Q, Q,10, 10, A - and you ignore all cards but the 5 being used for the best hand

Others decided player 1 should win it, because he can make a pair with a card in his hand (his 8), and player 2 can only make pairs with the community cards. (I thought this was like saying "I have 3 pair", which would then use 6 cards instead of 5. Or, if the pair of 8's is used, then player 1 has Q, Q, 8 , 8, A which would no longer beat the other player.)

And yet another thought player 2 should win it because after the Ace, player 2 has a K and Player 1 only has an 8.

Please let me know which is correct.


Cassie Schupp

Answer: Since you already gave a good answer, I thought this would be helpful to other people. You are correct that in Texas Holdem Poker, to evaluate which hand wins, you use all 7 cards (2 personal and 5 community) to form the best 5 cards. No exceptions. The sixth card doesn't matter, only 5 can count.

So in the example you gave, we first look at the pairs before we get to kickers. Both players first have a pair of Queens - QQ. Then both players both have a pair of Tens - TT. So they both have QQTT. Now for the fifth card, we use the highest one available. It so happens that they both have an Ace. They both have the same hand QQTTA, so they split the pot.

Let me give some examples that will help solidify this:

Example 1:

You have KK

Your drunk buddy has A2.

The flop is 999

The turn is 2

The river is a 9

You lose!

You have 9999K

He has 9999A

Example 2:

You have TT

Your drunk buddy has J2

The flop is K - K - 2

The turn is Q

The river is a Q

You lose!

He has KKQQJ

You have KKQQT

Example 3:

You have AK

Your drunk buddy has A2

The flop is A - A - K

The turn is Q

The river is a K

You split the pot!

He has AAAKK

You have AAAKK

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