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Updated: July 8, 2024

High Card in Poker: Hand Ranking

‘High Card’ the term might sound tempting and even look tempting during poker, but it is the least ranked hand in poker hand rankings. Players sometimes get confused when they get hole cards like Ace ♥ and say 3 ♣, they will go ahead and play the hand, but the chances of winning with a ‘High Card’ is very low unless other players have less than a pair.

In Texas Hold’em, if A ♣ 6 ♦ 5 ♥ 10 ♠ 7 ♥ open on the table and you’re holding 3♠ 2♠, your hand will be called Ace-High with all the cards on the table. Chances are if someone holds 4 ♠ and 2 ♠, they will win, because 4 is higher than 3.

The value of high cards in poker against the next best card is done by their deck denomination. For example: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. In a 5-card combination, each high card is ranked first by its highest card, next by the second highest ranked card called the kicker and so on.

How does High card rank?

In Texas Hold’em or in most poker variations, the high card is the lowest ranked hand among all the hands. If a player does not have any other hand combination after all the cards open, then the high card is used to determine the winner, keeping in mind that all other players do not have any higher hand combinations.

Here are a few examples of possible high card hands:

A ♠ K ♣ Q 10 8 ♠

K ♠ Q J ♣ 9 6

A ♠ K Q ♣ J 7

A ♠ K ♣ Q 10 9 ♠

K Q ♣ 10 9 ♣ 5 

A high card is any card that has a higher value than the next best card. So there can be multiple different combinations that may or may not involve the above mentioned cards. But, the examples show the highest possible combinations inclusive of the second card or kicker.

The ‘Kicker’ card: A ‘Kicker’ or a side card is a lower ranked hole card from the two hole cards that a player is dealt. It is usually used to break ties when both players have the same first cards. For example: Player 1 has A ♠ & 7 ♥ and player 2 has A ♥ & 10 ♣. Both are tied and player 2 wins because of holding a higher value ‘Kicker’ card, that is 10.

How does a high card hand match up?

The ‘High Card’ is the worst possible hand in poker, it is the lowest in hand rankings. The only way to win with a high card is to bluff your way through the game and hope that the opponents fall for it and fold.

High Card Poker Probabilities?

We will look at the probabilities of making a high card hand in Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha based on the factor that 5 cards are drawn from a standard deck of 52 and there are unpaired unsuited hole cards.

Texas Hold’em high card probabilities:









Pot Limit Omaha high card probabilities:









Even though ‘High Card’ is the weakest hand in poker, the probability of getting a high card in Texas Hold’em depends on the strength of the card. That is because one pair is the most common winning hand in poker. A player will get at least a pair most times during a hand of poker, having a strong high card like Ace or King can help you win.


1. How to Decide High Card Poker?

The high card is the lowest ranked hand in poker. If a player is unable to make any other combinations, then a high card is used to decide who will be the winner.

2. When Does High Cards Matter in Poker?

High cards are usually ranked according to their value in this order: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. In Texas Hold’em the strength of the high card can help players win in one pair or two pair hands. Stronger the high card, chances are you will get a good pair.

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