Explanation of High hand

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

Board: J9423

Hand 1: AK
Hand 2: KQ

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.

Board: J9423

Hand 1: AK
Hand 2: AQ

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

Board: J9422

Hand 1: A7
Hand 2: A8

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: 22AJ9
Hand 2: 22AJ9

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”.

Example of High hand used in a sentence -> High hands are the weakest type of hand in the majority of poker variants.

How to Use High hand as Part of Your Poker Strategy

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.

See Also 

Pair, Two Pair, Three of a Kind, Straight, Flush, Full House, Quads, Straight Flush, Royal Flush, Hand Rankings

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