High Card In Poker

When it comes to playing poker, it is all about winning the pot. And for that, you need to have the best poker hand at the table. Experienced players are swift in making and using the perfect probable hands, whilst for beginners, it can take a bit of time to learn them. Either way, they all understand that in poker, it's always about having the best hand. A Royal Flush ranks the highest, while a High Card ranks the lowest.

Most poker games are played with the 52-card French deck, including the most popular form of poker – Texas Hold’em Poker. This creates nine unique poker hand rankings that a player can use and countless ways that those can be formed in combinations from different suits and individual card ranks.

Amongst these nine different possible poker hand ranks, this ranks at the bottom, the last position. Having a high card in poker means a player to not have any special cards. From the cards he has, the best one would qualify to be the High Card.

Let’s Look at This With the Help of an Example:

  • Player A holds a hand comprising of numbers 3, 6, 8, 9, and a King.

    In this example, the King would automatically qualify to be the High Card as it is the best-ranked card amongst the other five cards. This is irrespective of the suit as the suit of a card does not matter in online poker. As this card ranks at the bottom, it rarely can make you win the pot.

Basic Rules of High Card in Poker

Apart from being the least ranking of all poker hands, this term is also used in another context. In the showdown, the last round of the game, the two players remaining have the same poker hand, then the one who has the highest card within their 5-Card poker hand determines who wins the pot.

Let’s Understand this With the Help of an Example:

  • Player A holds a hand comprising of numbers 3, 6, 8, 9, and a King.
  • Player B holds a hand comprising of numbers 2, 4, 9, 8, and an Ace.

The winner of the pot would be player B, as an Ace is a card ranked higher than the King. From this, we know that besides playing the role of in poker hand rankings, it can also act as a potential tiebreaker. In case the players have the same card, then the second-highest among the playing five will be considered to be the highest card. This continues until all five cards have been compared in case the clash continues to happen. In the rarest of all cases, when the finalists have the same poker hands, and also share the ranks equally, then the pot is split between the two.

How Does a High Card Hand Match Up?

To understand how a high card matches up, let us first understand the poker hand rankings.

The following are the poker hand rankings from highest to lowest:

  1. Royal Flush.
  2. Straight Flush.
  3. Four of a Kind.
  4. Full House.
  5. Flush.
  6. Straight.
  7. Three of a Kind.
  8. Two Pairs.
  9. One Pair.
  10. High Card.

As per the high card rules, the high card is the lowest-ranking card in poker. One pair is higher than the high card. 

During a poker game, players who reach the last round of the game show their cards to each other. The player who has the best poker hand is the winner when there is a showdown. 

How Does a High Card Hand Rank?

Popular poker variants like texas hold 'em and Omaha poker are played with a standard deck. There are 52 cards in a standard deck of cards and there are 1,302,540 high card poker combinations that can be formed, and 1,277 distinct ranks.

The highest card is considered to understand the ranking of the high card poker hand. For example, there are two poker hands, A-9-8-7-4 and K-J-10-9-5. If these two poker hands are compared, the first poker hand is the winning hand because an ace is higher than the king.

Now, look at another example. If there are two poker hands, K-Q-6-4-2 and K-J-J-6-3. As observed previously, the highest card in the high-card poker hand is used to declare the winning hand. In this case, the king is the highest card. However, both poker hands have the king

So how shall we declare the winner of the game? We’ll have to look at the next big card and compare the cards. In the above example, Q and J are the kickers or side cards that can be compared. Upon comparing these hands, we see that the poker hand K-Q-6-4-2 is the winning hand since it has a Q.

High Card Hand Probabilities

Although the high card is the weakest poker hand in poker, the probability of getting a high card in the poker rounds doesn't depend on its strength. In a poker variant like texas hold’em poker, one pair is the most common winning hand as compared to a high card. That is because we have a total of seven cards in texas poker. A player will at least get a pair as the poker hand towards the end of the game with the seven cards used to play.

High Card probabilities for a Five Card Hand

Let’s have a look at the high card probabilities for a five-card hand.

How many times can you draw a high card hand, not including the various suits? How many times can you draw a high card hand including the various suits?
What are the odds of getting high card?
What is the probability of getting high card?
1,277 1,302,540 1 / 0.995 50.1177%

Let us have a look at the probability of high card hand in texas holdem poker, followed by Omaha poker.

This probability is based on the assumption that 5 cards are drawn from a pack of 52 cards or there are non-paired unsuited hole cards.

Probability of High Card in Texas Hold’em Poker

Pre-flop 50.12%
Flop 67.70%
Turn 87.23%
River 86.96%

Let us now have a look at the probability of high card in Omaha poker. 

Probability of High Card in Omaha Poker

Pre-flop 50.12%
Flop 31.08%
Turn 73.33%
River 72.73%

Frequently Asked Questions of High Card

How do you play high card poker?

All the five cards in the poker hand are different in high card poker. The highest card of all is used to judge the winner of the game.

What is the highest high card in poker?

Ace is the highest high card in poker.

Does high card matter in poker?

The high card is the lowest-ranking card in poker. If you have no other poker hands, then the high card is used to decide who will be the winner.

What happens if you have the same high card in poker?

If you have the same high card, the next bigger card is considered for judging the winner.

Let us look at the example below. 

There are two poker hands:

  1. 10-8-5-3-2 .
  2. 10-9-8-4-3.

In this case, the second poker hand wins the game as 10 is the common card, and the next big card is 8 and 9. 

All in all, holding this card in poker could be the worst situation you could be put in by default. However, it isn't to say that it is impossible to win from that point. Poker hand rankings are vital while playing the game of cards. However, applying Poker strategies and playing wisely to win the mental game is even more crucial. So what are you waiting for? Sign-up to Spartan to see what your cards say.