Let’s answer the question “What is a high card in poker?” Sometimes none of your cards connect to the community cards. That means you don’t have three-of-a-kind, no straight, and not even a pair. Without a hand combination, the value of your individual cards becomes your combination. This is called a “high card”.

In a game of poker, you’ll hear players say things like “ace-high” or “king-high”. What they’re saying is that they haven’t made a hand combination and their highest card is an ace or king.

Poker players don’t enjoy missing the flop, turn, and river, but it happens to everyone. Let’s chat about when your high card is important, how to rank them, and the strategy for playing your high card.

Could you make this call in a televised partypoker event?

It’s not an ideal situation, but your high card will occasionally win you pots against opponents. Despite it being the lowest-ranking hand combination in poker, you can win against other hands which weren’t able to make a pair or better.

Here’s an example of how high card hands work:

On the table, the flop, turn, and river have been dealt. You see 6♥ J♣ 8♥ 2♠ 10♥ on the board and you’re holding A♠ 7♥ in your hand.

In this hand, your final hand combination is 8♥ J♣ 10♥ + A♠ 7♥. This is called “ace-high”; the strongest high card you can have in poker.

Let’s say your opponent shows Q♦ K♣. They have what’s known as “king-high”, but it’s beaten by ace-high.

Lex Veldhuis sits beside the legend, Doyle Brunson

PokerStars Ambassador Lex Veldhuis has the best high card in this situation since there’s a pair of aces on the board. When Daniel Negreanu bets on the river, Lex knows that he can call and beat almost any unpaired hand.

If you play online tournaments at PokerStars, you might sit at the table with Lex. He plays high-stakes tournaments, but there’s an even wider selection of micro, low, and mid-stakes tournaments on the site. Texas hold ‘em and Omaha are the two main poker formats for cash games and multi-table tournaments (MTTs), but Stars has almost 20 other types of poker you can play.

Какой вид покера предпочитаешь?

If you want to know how you can host and join private online poker games at PokerStars, check out our simple guide on home games. You’ll be able to switch between real money and play chips, and adjust settings for the table size, poker format, timers, and more. Host ongoing cash games and schedule tournaments, with full control of who sits at your tables.

PokerStars starting out holding online poker games back in 2001 and now the company is worth over 6 billion dollars. They sponsor a slew of tournaments like the European Poker Tour, UK and Ireland Poker Tour, plus a handful of others. Over the years, PokerStars has remained on top of the online poker industry. They’ve expanded to offer fantastic online casino games and sports betting.

Here’s How To Rank High Cards

Ranking high card hands is simple, but what happens when two players have the same high card? For a tiebreaker, we need to look at their other cards.

Example Board: 10♥ 9♣ 3♦ 4♠ 5♦

Player One: A♣ 7♦ Player Two: A♥ J♣

Both players have ace-high, so we look to their second cards. We see that Player Two’s jack is of a higher value than Player One’s 7, which wins them the hand.

In other scenarios, players can’t use more than one of their cards. For example, on a double-paired board like 3♥ 3♣ 9♦ 9♠ 5♦.

If two players have high cards on a double-paired or four-of-a-kind board, then they can only use one high card to decide a winner. That’s because using both your cards would total a 6-card combination, but we can only use 5 in poker.

Even A-2 would beat stronger hands like pocket kings on a board like this

If both players’ high card is the same value, the pot is split, since they have identical 5-card combinations.

Example Board: 3♥ 3♣ 9♦ 9♠ 5♦

Player One: A♠ K♥ Player Two: A♣ 2♦

Both players' final hand combination is 3♥ 3♣ 9♦ 9 A♠/♣ and their second cards “do not play”, meaning they aren’t counted in the final combination.

If you’re unsure about hand combinations, poker strategy, or online sites to play on, get in touch with our experienced team via live chat. We’re here throughout the day to answer your questions – without any obligation or pressure.

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If you only have ace-high or king-high, you aren’t completely out of options. The poker community has seen some brilliant hero calls over its history with ace-high, sometimes even with king-high.

You shouldn’t bet for value when you have ace-high or worse. What “betting for value” means is, a bet you make in the hopes of being called by your opponent. When you have a hand as weak as this, you want to bet and pressure other players to fold. If you don’t think that’s possible, it might be time to give up and check.

When poker players think that they have put their opponent on a specific range, they can make profitable calls with ace-high. A range is a poker term for the hands that a player can have. For example, if one player thinks his opponent might have a missed draw of some kind, they might choose to make a call with ace-high.

Calling with ace-high in a televised event isn’t easy for normal poker players

Calling with high card hands happens more often than you might think, especially among high-level players. Above, we see Stephen Chidwick making an incredible call with ace-high against Bryn Kelly in a partypoker live event.

There’s a reason ace-high is much better to call with than king-high or queen-high. Let’s say you think your opponent is bluffing, so you’d like to call their bet on the river with king-high. Even if your opponent is bluffing, they may easily have an ace in their hand. Also, since you don’t have an ace, it’s more likely that your opponent does.

In general, calling with a high card hand is a risky proposition unless you’re very aware of your opponent’s tendencies.