The High Card Hand in Poker

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High Card is the worst possible hand on the poker hand rankings list. It consists of no pair or any other hand type – just a high card.

The words “High Card” should have you thinking straight away about a hand with the highest card. However, this is the lowest possible hand in Texas Hold’em.

Starting Hands like K♣10♠ on a board 874J♣2♣ are referred to as “King High” rather than no pair.

Even though you don’t have a pair, it is still important to rank these hands for the system to work. In effect, a king-high hand would beat a queen-high hand. Queen-high beats jack-high and so forth.

As is the case in all Hold’em games, you can “play the board”. Say the board comes down A♣6510♠7♥ and you hold 3♠2♠. Your hand would be called Ace-High using all the cards on the board.

When rating one High Card hand against the next, it’s the hand rank or denomination that’s important. Therefore, the best High Card hand is Ace-High, the second King-High, the third Queen-High and so on.

Kickers are a distinguishing factor when players have the same high card.

We’ll discuss this in the next section.

How Does a High Card Hand Rank?

In a 52-card deck, there are 1,302,540 possible High Card hand combinations and 1,277 distinct ranks of High Card hands. Each High Card is ranked first by its highest card, secondly by its highest-ranked kicker and so forth.

Here are a few more examples of High Card hands:

A♠K♣ Q108♠

K♠QJ♣96

A♠KQ♣J16

A♠K♣ Q109♠

KQ♣109♣5

Can you tell which High Card hand ranks the best?

Keep in mind that the suits are irrelevant and that the kickers should be used to rank hands with the High Card.

How Does a High Card Hand Match Up?

High Card is the ninth best possible hand in the poker hand ranking system – putting it in last place. One pair ranks directly above it, with the best One Pair being Aces.

There are no hands that rank below High Card. Therefore, it is the worst hand according to the standard poker hand ranking system. It rarely wins at showdown unless someone’s making a superb bluff.

High Card Poker Probabilities

Now, we’ll look at the pre-flop, flop, turn and river probabilities of making a High Card hand in both Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha.

Hold'em Probabilities    
Pre-flop: 50.12% (based on 5 cards randomly drawn from a full 52-card deck)
Flop: 67.70% (based on non-paired unsuited hole cards)
Turn: 87.23% (based on non-paired unsuited hole cards)
River: 86.96% (based on non-paired unsuited hole cards)
     
Pot Limit Omaha Probabilities    
Pre-flop: 50.12% (based on 5 cards randomly drawn from a full 52-card deck)
Flop: 31.08% (based on non-paired unsuited hole cards)
Turn: 73.33% (based on non-paired unsuited hole cards)
River: 72.73% (based on non-paired unsuited hole cards)

Visit our high card odds article for more information.

Now that you’ve got High Card down pat, it’s time to hit the tables! Good luck!

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