A guide to Texas Hold’em – Part2

Hold ‘Em allows a player to use both his hole cards and three from the board, or only one hole card and four from the board, or indeed he can choose not to use any of his hole cards and instead play the five board cards as his hand. This latter case is known as ‘playing the board’. Thus, if the board cards were AC, KD, QD, JH, 10S all the players left in contention would have the highest possible straight (called the top straight) and hence would split the pot between them. Note that in this case there is no flush possible because there would have to be three cards of the same suit on the board. Similarly, for there to be a full house or four of a kind there would have to be at least one pair on the board.

Here is an example:
              Hole Cards        Flop              4th Street    5th Street

Hand1     AH, KD             

Hand2     AC, QC              AS, 9D, 7S     QD             9S

Hand3     7H, 7C

Hand4     JS, 10S

On the flop, hand 3 is ahead with three 7s (called ‘trip 7s’). Hand 1 is second best with two aces and a king as the next highest card (the king in this instance is called the ‘kicker’). Hand 2 is third best also with two aces but only with a queen kicker. Although hand 4 is last at this stage the player is not without hope as fourth street, turn, could bring a spade card giving a flush or an 8 making a straight. Notice that two of the players are using the same board card (the AS) as part of their hand which is allowable.

On fourth street, there is minimal change in the order. Hand 3 is still ahead, but now hand 2 is second with two pair and hand 1 is third with one pair. Hand 4 is still last, but now any spade, 8 or king will improve this hand to make it the winner.

On fifth street, all five board cards have now been dealt. Each player can use a combination of the board cards and his own hole cards to make the best five-card combination or hand. In this case, hand4 has indeed improved to a flush (five spades), but hand3 has also improved to a full house and wins the pot.

Another example is:

               Hole Cards       Flop              4th Street     5th Street

Hand        AC, KC            KS, 9C, 7C      AD              3C

On fourth street, the player can use the AC and KC from his hand along with the AD and KS from the board to make two pair but on fifth street he can use the two clubs in his hand and the three dubs on the board to make a flush. Therefore, at various points in the play of the hand, the player used different combinations of cards to make the best five-card poker hand.
Remember that poker is a five-card game, so if the board was 10-10-10-10-3, all players would have four 10’s, but the winner of the pot would be the player with the highest hole card. The best possible hand is known as ‘the nuts’, so if the board was KH, 6S, 3D, 4H, 10H the player holding two hearts, including an ace of hearts would have the nuts and win the pot. But if the 3D were instead a 6D, this player would no longer have the nuts, since now a full house or four of a kind is possible. Of course, the player might still win the pot with his ace-high flush, but he would not have the nuts.


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