Kicker in poker – your trump card up your sleeve

Kicker in poker

As you know, each combination in poker consists of five cards. However, a combination can have a different number of cards – from one to five. For example, a pair requires only two cards, two pairs requires four, and so on. So how are cards that are not involved in combinations used? First of all, let’s turn to poker terminology, since the remaining cards are used as “kickers” in some situations. And the poker dictionary interprets the term as follows:

A kicker in poker is a card that is not part of a combination and is used to determine the winner when two or more players have put together equal combinations.

That is, in case of equal combinations, the player whose kicker in poker is higher takes the pot. At the same time it is necessary to keep in mind the following:

Kicker in poker counts only in the case of the formation of combinations consisting of four or fewer cards. In 5-card poker combinations (all types of streaks and flushes) it does not play any role, and the pot is divided in half when making these combinations;
Not only one but a larger number of available cards can be used as a kicker. Their number is determined by the difference between the total cards (there are 5 of them in poker) and the cards in the combination. Thus, a pair can have 3 kickers, a set can have 2, two pairs or a carre in poker can have 1.

sets in Texas Hold'em poker

Combinations with one kicker

In this case, both players have a seven-card draw combination. But the first player has a high card of 10, and the second player has a K. Hence, taking into account the kicker, the second player has the stronger combination.

Combinations with two kickers

This combination of board and pocket cards gave both players combinations of pairs of sevens. At the same time, both players have K as a poker kicker, but the first player has a pocket card of Q and the second player has a pocket card of J. Consequently, the stronger combination was formed by the player with Q. Similarly, the poker kicker is evaluated in combination with other combinations.

The situation at the poker table changes as the dealer puts cards on the board. On each “street,” the player has to allow an opponent to have one card or another in order to estimate the perceived strength of his hand. But it is impossible to get a correct estimate without knowing the rules of kicker in poker.

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