Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Best of Mark Pilarski
The inner charms of Texas Hold'em9 June 2006
I’m new to poker, so please excuse the two somewhat similar Hold’em questions. When two people both make a flush, and the highest card is shared, is the pot split, or is the tie broken by the second highest card in each flush? Also, if two players have a straight using the same five cards, again, is the pot split, or do you use a sixth kicker card to determine the eventual winner? Ellie N.
Let’s do basics first, Ellie, then I’ll give you a simple little rule to remember.
A flush is a hand in which all five cards are of the same suit. A straight is a hand composed of five cards of consecutive rank. Example: An A-2-3-4-5 is a five high straight (an ace can count as high or low), or a straight to the five. An 8-9-T-J-Q is a queen high straight, or a straight to the queen.
Now, Ellie, commit to memory the Five Card Rule: Every player's final hand is made up of five cards and five cards only. The remaining two cards in Texas Hold’em mean diddly squat.
As to your flush question, you compare the hands card-by-card in order to determine the winner. Therefore, an A-Q-10-7-5 of spades is more valuable than an A-Q-10-7-4 of spades. By sizing up these two flush hands, you will note that the hand with the highest card not shared, which in this case is the fifth card, the five, becomes the winning hand.
Of course, Ellie, the second card could determine the winner, a jack in one hand versus the queen, or the third card and so on. Only in the case where the players have exactly the same flush in different suits, or where two or more players benefit from all five cards on the board being of the same suit would there be a tie, and the pot would be divvied up accordingly.
As for straights, the straight to the higher card wins. After your card-by-card comparison of your straights, and the hands are dead equal or all five cards are shared, you split the pot.
Regarding the kicker, the highest unpaired card in your hand; it never participates in five card hands like straights, flushes and full houses.
Playing any three, five, 10, 50 or even a 100-Play video poker machine does not change the arithmetic. Each and every hand has its own deck, and the odds of completing a straight flush are exactly the same, except that, when you play a multiple play machine, you just happen to have more chances of it’s occurring.
As for playing strategy, Cindy, play all multiple play games as you would play regular video poker. More chances at winning combinations does not mean you should wander from correct play.
In Texas Hold’em, a blind bet, or blind, is a forced wager that must be posted by two players before anybody gets a peek at their cards. Blinds are an alternative to antes for initially getting money in the pot. A "big blind" and "little blind" are the terms used to refer to the players who post these bets.
These compulsory wagers that the first two players to the dealer’s left are required to pay play out like this. The little blind, the first player to the dealer's left, pays half the low limit. Say for instance in a $10/$20 game, the little blind’s initial contribution would be $5. The big blind, second player to the dealer's left, would stake the low limit, or $10 in the $10/$20 game.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: Hold'em is a game of calculated aggression: If your cards are good enough for you to call a bet, they are good enough to raise with. -- Alfred Alvarez
Best of Mark Pilarski