When Does A Kicker Count?

FAQ

Many poker terms are fancy enough to confuse you, but they are pretty simple when you’ve practically applied it in your game. One such fancy term is “kicker,” used for all the cards in a five-card hand play. Let’s get you better acquainted with a kicker and its uses.

The Kicker

The kicker is another way of expressing that all the cards in a 5-card hand game. It has one of the cards in the sequence, which is out of the primary rank. The card is greater than another hand of the same rank. Out of all the available cards, you take the top 5 cards of the hand into the game.

Texas Hold’em ignores any extra cards with more than five cards in hand. Both hands need to be identical to divide the pot. However, in scenarios where the ranks aren’t similar, the hand with the higher rank wins the game.

Understanding The Importance Of A Kicker

For instance, both hands have ace highs. The king being the second-highest card of one hand and queen being the other’s, the winner will be the king kicker. However, you keep on going ahead, following the same procedure till the lowest card. It is only when the lowest card appears to be the same as well when it would be a split pot.

Similarly, two identical pairs would need you to look for the highest remaining card. If found the same, you go ahead with the next highest remaining card and so on until the lowest card. Let’s consider an example here. Two hands: “K K 8 7 4” vs. “K K 8 7 2“. Here, the 4 kicker hand is the winner.

In two pairs, identical highest pairs of both hands would mean going on until the low pair. However, if even that comes out to be the same, the last remaining card would be the kicker here.

Three of a kind calls for a split only when there are community cards involved in the play. Similar three of a kind for both players would mean comparing the highest remaining card. If they, as well, are found to be similar, the lowest card is up for comparison.

However, straight kickers typically do not exist as all the five cards occur sequentially. Therefore, you either end up with the higher straight, tie, or the lower straight.

For a flush, it’s the same as starting with a comparison of the highest card and going down to the point where one card is higher than the other. You may even be out of cards in this situation.

There is no kicker in full house scenarios. You start the comparison with the three of a kind and proceed to the pair. However, all cards are involved in the hand rank.

Endnotes

There has been no known poker game where both its players have four of a kind, and they split the pot. They may have when community cards are in play. However, in such a case, the remaining card shall be the only kicker playing here.

In the case of a straight flush or royal flush, the method is similar to that in a straight.

Now that you’ve reached the end of this post, you must realize that kickers are indeed pretty simple!

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