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Before you answer the question I will give a scenario that confused me thus prompting this question. The other week I was playing a game and we had this scenario : 8 players - down to me and a pal this hand

Me: 10/Ace

Pal: 10/King

Cards on Table : 2, 6, 7, 8, 9,

So we both have straights, off suits, but I thought I won because I have the Ace, But my buddy (and the other players) said we had a split pot? Because the "top five cards" was our straight that was the exact same and my Ace made no difference. Is this legit? What is the top five card rule and how does it apply to splitting pots?

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Kickers don't play in this scenario –  CheckRaise Feb 3 '12 at 16:38
Ace is not a kicker here. It's a card you simply don't use. –  Walkman Feb 17 '12 at 21:15

5 Answers 5

up vote 17 down vote accepted

If you are playing a 5 card game (like Hold-Em) then only the top 5 cards play. So, in this case, there are 4 on the table (6-9) and you each have a 10, for the best possible hand a 6-10 straight.

It is also possible that you have AA, and friend KK, but the board comes out 3-4-5-6-7 and you split as you both play the best hand - the board.

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PokerGym offers an interactive table where you can and practice making 5-card hands and determine the winner for all types of hands. –  Chris Oak Mar 24 '13 at 1:14

Unless explicitly noted, poker hands are only 5 cards. If you have 7 cards to choose from, you make the best 5 card hand you can, and the other 2 don't count.

Your best possible hand in that situation was 6 7 8 9 T. Your friend's best possible hand was 6 7 8 9 T. Since they were the same, you tied and split the pot.

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Of course, in Omaha (typically played pot limit, or PLO), the rule is that you must use two and only two of your hole cards.

This can create some confusion for HE players when playing PLO for the first time. You still use the best 5-card hand possible, but for instance, the board never "plays". So for e.g.

P1 has AKKK P2 has AKJJ

The board is A2345 rainbow

The pot is split, but not due to the straight on the board, but because both players have AAK54. Nor can the extra K "kicker" play since both players can only use 2 hole cards.

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Great Omaha example –  Chris Marasti-Georg Feb 15 '12 at 17:53

The top five cards in the hand were T 9 8 7 6 for the straight. Both you and your friend had them.

Your ace was the "sixth" card and your friend's K was the "seventh" card in the hand. The fact that your ace (sixth card) beats the K (seventh card) doesn't matter, because only the top five cards in the hand are counted.

Another example:

You have AK, your friend has AQ. The board is A A J J 2.

The top five cards are AAA JJ for the full house. The fact that your K beats the Q doesn't matter because they are the sixth and 7th cards in the hand.

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Alright so here is a very good example that I bet most of you would miss lets say this is the scenario. there are two people left in the hand (person L and person X)

Person L has a K and a 5 Person X has pocket Q's

The board is A,A,A,A,2

Now most people would say obviously person X wins right? S/He has the four of a kind aces plus his pocket queens; False. This is a prime example of the five card rule. Since in texas holdem it is the best five cards wins, person L would actually win. Because, the best five cards you can make with those are A,A,A,A,K. Person L's King would play for the 2 and his five wouldnt play. Even though person X had pocket queens ask yourself this; would you rather have A,A,A,A,Q or A,A,A,A,K?

Hope this helps

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Now most people would say obviously person X wins right? If you believe this is true, I would like to bring all of my money and play wherever you find these players! –  mah Dec 2 '14 at 20:06

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