What is High hand?
High hand → 1. High hand is in the case of no player making a pair or better, the winner is determined by the player who holds the highest card/s. This is referred to as a “high hand”.
Example usage → “Both players missed their draw: the player in position took down the pot with his King-high”
High hand – When no player at the table has a made hand (pair or better), then the pot is awarded to the player who holds the best “high hand”.
For example in Hold’em
Hand 1: A♦K♦
Hand 2: K♠Q♠
Neither player makes a pair here, so the player with the highest ranked hole-card wins the pot. Ace is high in this context meaning hand 1 wins this matchup. If both players share the same high card, then the second high-card is consulted to see who wins the pot. In the above example hand 1 is referred to as “Ace high” while hand 2 is referred to as “King-high”.
Let’s change the example so that both players share the same high-card.
Hand 1: A♦K♦
Hand 2: A♠Q♠
Both players now share the same high card, but that does not mean the pot is chopped. When considering the second hole-card we see that hand 1 is “Ace-King high” while hand 2 is “Ace-Queen high”. Hand 2 hence wins the pot. Let’s see one final example
Hand 1: A♦7♦
Hand 2: A♠8♠
It’s important to remember that in Hold’em we must always use five cards when constructing a hand. Understanding this rule will help us to make sense of the following example.
Firstly note that both hand 1 and hand 2 are not technically high-card hands. There is a pair on the board meaning that both players have a pair of twos. However, it’s worth noting that since neither player makes a pair using their hole-cards, the hand strength is often colloquially referred to as “Ace-high” even though it is technically a pair of twos. So now who wins in this line-up?
It’s easy to assume that hand 2 wins here since it has the higher side-card. However, this is where we learn the importance of considering the full five-card hand when establishing the winner.
Hand 1: 2♠2♣A♦J♥9♥
Hand 2: 2♠2♣A♠J♥9♥
We can see clearly that this is spot is in fact a tie. Both players have a pair of twos with an Ace, Jack and Nine on the side. Since the pair is on the board, it’s common to hear that “both players chop with Ace-high”.
High card hands are not typically worth much in Hold’em and worth even less in other variants such as Omaha.
The exact value of a high-card hand will be closely related to the board texture. On dry board textures (especially when there are pairs, trips, or quads on board), the value of high-cards goes up. On drawy board textures where there are possible straights and flushes, high-cards lose most if not all of their value.