Rules Of A Straight In Texas Holdem

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  1. Rules Of A Straight In Texas Holdem Game
  2. Texas Holdem Kicker Rules

If you’re a beginning poker player and want to learn not only
which hands beat which hands, but how to read the board and
possible hands while playing Texas holdem, you’ve found the best
page available to help.

RULES: – A tie break is not possible as two players cannot have a Straight Flush which is rankedthe same in Texas Hold’em Poker. – If the dealer deals a Straight Flushvia the 5 community cards, then the pot is split amongst all players provided no player holds a Royal Flush(meaning the Straight Flush is the strongest handon the table). Straight Flush: Five cards in a sequence, all in the same suit. Four of a Kind: All four cards of the same rank. Full House: Three of a kind with a pair. Flush: Any five cards of the same suit, but not in a sequence. Straight: Five cards in a sequence, but not of the same suit. Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank. Two Pair: Two different pairs.

While it’s important to understand how each hand ranks in
comparison to others hands it’s equally important to understand
how to read the board of community cards, how to read possible
draws, and how to read what hands your opponents may be holding.
Each of these subjects is covered below.

New players should make sure to read each section in order
below. But if you already know how to play poker and are
familiar with the rank of poker hands you can skip to the
sections following the hand rankings section. But it’s never a
bad idea to refresh your knowledge and it only takes a couple
minutes to read the extra sections.

Texas Holdem Hand Rankings

The following list is ranked from highest five card hand to
lowest five card hand. Start reading from the top down and the
first hand you find that a player holds is the winning hand. See
how to break ties below the hand rankings.

Remember that you always make your best five card hand out of
the two hole cards and five community cards. You can use both of
your hole cards and three community cards, one hole card and
four community cards, or just the five community cards, but you
always use exactly five cards to make a hand.

  • Royal Flush

    A royal flush consists of an ace, king,
    queen, jack, and ten of all the same suit. In other words,
    an ace high straight that’s also a flush is a royal flush.
    An example of a royal flush is the ace of clubs, king of
    clubs, queen of clubs, jack of clubs, and ten of clubs.

  • Straight Flush

    A straight flush is a straight and a
    flush that isn’t ace high. Straight flushes can be anywhere
    from king high down to five high. Two examples of straight
    flushes are king of spades, queen of spades, jack of spades,
    ten of spades, and nine of spades or the five of hearts,
    four of hearts, three of hearts, two of hearts, and ace of
    hearts. In the case of the second example, the ace is
    counted as a one, or the lowest card in the deck. So if a
    straight using an ace as a one is in a tie the ace is always
    used as a low card for tie purposes, not high.

  • Four of a Kind

    A four of a kind includes all four
    cards of the same rank in the deck. The fifth card doesn’t
    matter. An example of four of a kind is eight of spades,
    eight of hearts, eight of clubs, and eight of diamonds.

  • Full House

    A full house consists of three of a kind
    and two of a kind. An example of a full house is the jack of
    clubs, jack of diamonds, jack of spades, seven of hearts,
    and seven of spades.

  • Flush

    A flush has all five cards the same suit. The
    rank of the cards doesn’t matter as long as all five cards
    are the same suit. Any five hearts is a flush or any five
    clubs, etc.

  • Straight

    A straight has five cards in sequential
    order. The suits don’t matter in a straight.

  • Three of a Kind

    Three of a kind consists of three
    cards of the same rank. Example of three of a kind hands
    include a hand with three jacks or a hand with three sevens.
    Other names for three of a kind include trips or a set. When
    the word set is used it usually means a hand with a pocket
    pair and one matching card on the board making three of a

  • Two Pair

    Two pair consists of two different pairs of
    matching ranks. Two sixes and two eights is an example of a
    two pair hand.

  • One Pair

    One pair is simply two cards of the same
    rank. Two nines or two aces are examples of a pair.

  • High Card

    A high card hand is one that doesn’t have
    any of the hands listed above. The highest ranked card is
    designated as the high card for the hand. If the highest
    card you have is a king you have a king high hand.

How to Break Ties

When two or more hands are tied for the highest hand one of
two things must happen. The first thing is you must decide if
one hand is actually higher than the other / s based on a few
simple rules that we cover next.

Moving from the top of the hand rankings above down, in a
Texas holdem game it’s impossible for more than one player to
have a royal flush unless the royal flush has all five cards on
the board. If all five cards on the board are used in this way
by every player remaining in the hand, all of the players tie.

It’s possible for two players to have straight flushes. In
the case of two or more straight flushes, straights, or flushes,
the player with the highest card in her straight or flush has
the highest hand. If one player has a queen high straight and
another has a nine high straight, the player with the queen high
straight wins.

In the event of two or more players holding a full house, the
player with the highest three of a kind has the better hand. If
two or more players hold two pair hands, the player with the
highest pair wins. If each player has the same high pair the
player with the highest second pair wins.

When two or more players have the same high hand of a pair,
or three of a kind, or something similar, the rest of each
player’s hand is considered.

ExampleRules Of A Straight In Texas Holdem

Two players each have a pair of aces for their high hand.
Player A has A A K J 5 and player B has A A J 7 4. Player A wins
the hand because her next highest card after the tied pair of
aces is a king and player B only has a jack. In the event the
third card is the same you then compare the fourth card.

If two or more hands have the exact same five card hand then
the pot is split between the winning hands. The suits all have
the same rank as far as value is concerned. Hearts is not worth
more or less than spades, etc.

How to Read the Board

When you start playing Texas holdem it’s important to learn
how to read the board not only to determine what you hold but
also what your opponent could possibly have. This is important
because you don’t want to be caught by surprise when you think
you have the best hand and commit a large amount of money to the
pot when another player actually has a better hand.


You start the hand with the ace of clubs and the jack of
clubs and the flop has the queen of clubs, nine of clubs, and
ace of diamonds. This looks like a good flop for you because you
have a pair of aces and a chance to hit an ace high flush. The
turn is the two of clubs, completing the best possible flush.
The river is the queen of hearts.

While you still have the best possible flush, when the board
paired on the river it means you no longer have the best
possible hand. Whenever the board pairs it means there’s a
possibility that one of your opponents may have a full house.

In the example we just used a player starting the hand with
an ace and queen would have hit the full house on the river. The
same is true for a player starting with pocket nines.

Most of the time in Texas holdem you’ll still have the best
hand with a flush in these situations, but you always need to
know what the best possible hand is before deciding how much to
risk in the pot.

Other hands to watch out for include possible straights and
boards that have a high likelihood of having two pair.

Good starting hands often have two high cards, so any flop
that holds two or three high cards has a chance to create pairs
or straight possibilities for your opponents who hold high card
starting hands.

Even flops with middle and smaller cards may offer straight
possibilities, especially in unraised pots. In an unraised pot
the blinds get to see the flop for free or a half bet, so even
on a flop with lower cards they may have hit two pair or a
straight draw.

One of the best ways to practice reading the board is by
dealing out hands at home and figuring out every possible hand.
Then start dealing pocket cards for multiple players and play
each one independently in your mind. This way you see many
different pocket cards in combination with the board cards.

If you’re still struggling to see all of the possibilities
and hands ask a more experienced player to work with you as you
practice to point out things you may be missing.

How to Read Draws

Reading draws kind of goes hand in hand with the last section
about reading the board, but you also need to learn how to
factor in the chances of hitting your draws.


If you have four cards to a straight after the turn there’s
only a few cards left in the deck that can complete your
straight. If your straight draw is open ended, meaning you can
hit a card on either end to complete it, you have eight cards
left in the deck that can help you.

A hand of seven, eight, nine, ten will complete with any six
or jack. You’ve seen your two hole cards and four board cards,
so the deck still has 46 unseen cards. Eight of these cards
complete your straight and 38 of them don’t. So the odds of you
completing your straight are 38 to 8. This reduces to 4.75 to 1.

In more simple terms this means that on average if you played
the exact same situation 46 times you’d complete your straight
eight times and miss it 38 times.

Of course the actual deck of remaining cards doesn’t have 46
cards because the other players have cards, but you haven’t seen
them so you have to include them as unseen cards in the deck for
your calculations.

You use the odds in combination with your possible draws to
determine if it’s profitable to bet, raise, check, or fold.

This can become somewhat complicated when you have multiple
ways to make a hand. Usually each possible draw has a different
chance of winning if you hit it. In the example above you stand
a good chance of winning the hand when you hit your straight,
but if you miss your straight but pair one of your cards on the
river you’ll have a pair, but the odds of it being good are

Learn how to read all of your possible draws and how to
determine the odds of each draw being successful and winning if
you hit it. This will help you win more often playing Texas

Reading Your Opponents Possible Hands

Continuing the discussion from the last two sections, once
you learn all there is to know about your possible hands and
draws and the odds you can start using the same things to
determine what hands your opponents can possibly hold and their
chance of completing hands that may be able to beat your hand.

You’ll need to learn what hands your opponents like to play
and which ones they don’t play if you want to get the best
possible reads, but even if you don’t know anything about your
opponents you can still make educated guesses based on the
board, what you hold, and the betting action throughout the

Remember in an earlier section we mentioned that many good
starting hands have high cards. Other popular starting hands
include pocket pairs and suited hands including an ace. As the
level of competition improves the starting hand possibilities
tend to change. Staring hands with an ace and suited small card
are more likely at the lower levels than at the higher levels of

Look at the list of good starting hands included in the next
section and then compare them with the current board. Which
hands fit with the way your opponent is playing the hand? Don’t
forget that not every player will follow the guidelines listed

Some players, especially at the lower levels, play any ace or
any hand with an ace and any card the same suit as the ace.

At lower levels you’ll often see hands where a player with an
ace and a small off card hit two pair and beat a hand with a
pair of aces and a large second hole card that doesn’t pair up.
This may seem like playing better starting hands doesn’t pay
off, but in the long run the player starting with ace queen is
going to win more hands than the player starting with ace three.

It’s also important to always consider the players in the
blinds. If they get in for free or half a bet they could have
any two cards. Even for a small raise many players won’t fold
anything from the blinds because they’re already invested in the

You need to consider a wide range of things when trying to
guess what your opponents hold, but with practice you can start
narrowing down their possible hands quickly. As you gain more
experience you can get to the point where you’ll often have a
good idea where your opponents stand in a hand. You’ll still be
surprised sometimes because players do all kinds of crazy things
at the holdem table, but the more you know the better you’ll be
in the long run.

Another big part of reading your opponent’s possible hands is
watching them play, even when you aren’t in the hand, and
remembering everything they do. If they have a big pocket pair
do they always raise before the flop? Do they ever bet into a
draw or do they always check and call? Thinking about these
questions and learning the answers to them and others will make
your play more profitable over time.

Best Starting Hands


Here’s a list of the best starting hands in Texas holdem. The
list is roughly listed from best to worst, but hand values
change somewhat based on the level of competition, the makeup of
the game, and your ability to play well after the flop.

Not all of these hands can be played from every position or
in every game. But if a hand isn’t listed here you should avoid
playing it in any Texas holdem game.

Two card hands followed by a small “s” means suited. For
example, K Q s means a king and queen of the same suit.

As you become a long term profitable Texas Holdem player
you’ll find situations where you may be able to play a few hands
profitably that aren’t on the list. You may be able to play 10 9
s or 4 4 from late position profitably in a few games, but don’t
even think about trying it until you’re already a profitable


On the other hand you’ll find many games where hands like K J
and below on the list can’t be played profitably. As a rule of
thumb, while you’re learning how to be a better player, it’s
always better to be tight than loose. So only play the best
hands while learning how to play.

You also need to understand how position relative to the
dealer button changes the value of starting hands and what you
can and can’t play for a profit. We have an entire page
dedicated to position so you should study it to make sure you
completely understand how to use it.


Even experienced Texas holdem players make mistakes when it
comes to reading the board of community cards and trying to
determine what their opponents hold. Once you learn what beats
what, you still have a great deal to learn if you want to be a
winning player.

Start by making sure you know the ranking of all of the
possible hands, and then learn how to read the board. Use your
hole cards with the board to determine not only the best hand
you can form, but also the best hand your opponents could
possibly have.

The next step is learning the odds of you hitting your hands
and using this information to determine the best way to play the
rest of the hand. Finally, you can start using all of the things
you’ve learned to start making educated guesses about what your
opponents have and are drawing to.

Winning Texas holdem players use all of these things and more
on every hand to give themselves the best chance to win. But
don’t panic if this seems like a lot to take in at once. You
don’t have to learn it all in one sitting. Bookmark or print out
this page and go over it often while you’re learning to be a
better player.

Then get started playing and practicing. You can play and
practice for free or start at the low levels so you don’t risk
much money while you’re learning.

The majority of Texas holdem strategy you find in books and
on popular web sites focuses on the offensive side of play. The
offensive and aggressive side of the game is important, but it’s
also important to learn when you need to fold.

Every bet you can save is a bet you can use to win more money
in the future. Of course you don’t want to fold when you have a
good chance to win, or when you’re receiving the correct pot
odds to call, so it’s important to find the line in every hand
between folding and continuing with the hand.

Like every other area of your Texas holdem play, you need to
base all of your decisions about folding on the play that makes
the most money in the long run, or the play that loses the least
amount of money.

The two places where you make the most important folding
decisions are your starting hands and on the river. These two
areas are covered first, and then the flop, and finally the
turn, is covered. We finish the page with a section about
folding decisions in tournament play because it’s different than
cash game play.

Bad Starting Hands

Some Texas holdem starting hands should be folded all of the
time, some should never be folded, and many should be folded
some of the time. One thing that’s hard to find is exact advice
on which hands to play and which ones shouldn’t be played.

In this section we list a group of starting hands that should
be folded all of the time. Then we look at most of the hands
that should be folded sometimes and can be played sometimes. You
may or may not agree with all of our suggestions, and that’s
fine. If you play in a game where one of the hands we list as
unplayable can be played for a profit, feel free to play it.

But if you’re a beginning player and / or aren’t turning a
regular profit at the Texas holdem tables you can safely fold
all of the hands in the first section without worrying about it
costing you any money in the long run. These hands should even
be folded in the blinds. If you see the flop for free with one
of these hands and don’t flop a solid hand you need to check and
fold as soon as an opponent bets.

Always fold these hands:

  • Any hand with a two except a pair of twos and an ace two
  • Any hand with a three except a pair of threes and an ace
    three suited.
  • Any hand with a four except a pair of fours and an ace
    four suited.
  • Any hand with a five except a pair of fives and an ace
    five suited.
  • Any hand with a six except a pair of sixes and an ace
    six suited.
  • Any hand with a seven except a pair of sevens, an ace
    seven suited, and a seven eight suited.
  • Any hand with an eight except a pair of eights, an ace
    eight suited, a seven eight suited, an eight nine suited,
    and an eight 10 suited.
  • Any hand with a nine except a pair of nines, an ace nine
    suited, an eight nine suited, a nine 10 suited, a nine jack
    suited, a nine queen suited, and a nine king suited.

As you can see there’s quite a large list of hands that you
can fold every time you see them. By folding these hands you’ll
make more money in the long run because they all lose money on
average by entering the pot with them.

Even many of the hands you can play should be folded most of
the time. Low pocket pairs can be dangerous in many situations
and aces with suited cards below face cards can be trap hands
that cost you a great deal of money as well. The suited
connectors with a seven, eight, or nine are bad in many
situations too.

In other words, just because you can play it sometimes
doesn’t mean you can play it for a profit often.

Most of the hands you should be playing are high pairs, high
suited cards, and high unsuited cards. These hands give you the
best chance to win by completing high pairs, flushes, and high

Position has a great deal to do with what hands should be
folded. In early position and in the blinds the only hands you
don’t fold are the absolute best ones. Pocket aces, kings,
queens, ace king suited, and possibly ace queen suited are the
only ones that can usually be played from early position.

You can add a few more pocket pairs and a few more suited
high card hands in middle position but you need to continue
folding most hands. As you move into late position you can play
the other hands that aren’t listed on the fold list above, but
only in some situations. The smaller pairs and lower suited
connectors need to be folded in raised pots most of the time and
are dangerous in most cases so you end up folding most of them
after the flop when you can play them.

The River

One of the most surprising revelations most players come to
understand on the way to profitable play is if you’ve made the
correct plays to get to the river, it’s rarely correct to fold
on the river. Of course if you completely miss your draw and
don’t have any chance to win you should fold when facing a bet,
but if you have even a small chance to win it’s rarely the
correct play to fold.

Here’s a simple example that helps illustrate why a call is
usually correct.


You’ve been calling with a flush and straight draw, have
missed both draws, but paired your top card on the river, giving
you the second highest possible pair. Your opponent is
aggressive and could have been betting a draw or semi bluffing
throughout the hand.

The pot has $200 in it and your opponent bets $20.

Before we continue analyzing the hand recognize how small
this bet is in comparison to the size of the pot. This either
screams weakness or a monster. If your opponent has a monster
she may be betting small hoping to get a little extra out of
you, but most of the time it’s a feeble stab at the pot trying
to get you to fold for as little as possible. This is clearly a
calling situation.

You have to call $20 for a chance to win $220. This is a
situation where you’re being offered 11 to 1 pot odds. You only
have to win the hand roughly 9% of the time to break even. Is
there any chance you don’t win the hand over 9% of the time?

You’ll find that most situations that come up on the river
that don’t involve all in bets offer odds that are favorable if
you can win 25% of the time or less. You’ll find that even many
all in situations offer favorable odds if you can win a third of
the time.

Once you start factoring in the chances of an opponent
bluffing and of your hand being best you rarely find a situation
on the river where it’s best to fold.

If you’ve never thought about it, it may come as a surprise,
but when you miss your draw the only way you can usually win on
the river is by betting and hoping your opponent folds. So don’t
be surprised when an opponent bets on the river, even if you
think they’re weak. It might be the only way they can hope to
win the hand so instead of giving up they bet.

Do you bet on the river when you miss your draw? The short answer is yes.

The long answer involves some of the same thinking that we
just covered about calling bets on the river.

If you miss your draw and find yourself in a situation where
the only way you can win is if your opponent folds you need to
determine how often they need to fold for a bet to be


You miss your draw and have a jack high hand with a board
that has an ace, king, and queen. The pot has $200 in it and if
you see the show down you have no chance of winning. How many
times, or what percentage of the time, does your opponent need
to fold if you bet $20 for the play to be profitable? What about
if you bet $40 or $50 or $100?

This is fairly easy to determine with a few mathematical
calculations. Practice figuring this out at home and you’ll find
that you can quickly make an accurate estimate at the table.

In the first example, you risk $20 to get back $220. If you
do this 100 times your total cost is $2,000. Divide your total
cost by the $220 you get back when you win and you find that if
your opponent folds 9% of the time you break even. So out of 100
times you make the bet they only have to fold 9 times. This is
such a small number that you have to bet in this situation
unless you’re 100% sure your opponent will call every time.

Here are the calculations for $40, $50, and $100.

  • When you bet $40 you only have to win 16.67% of the time
    to break even.
  • If you bet $50 you need to win 20% of the time to break
  • Betting $100 makes the break-even point 33.33%

As you can see betting in this situation is almost always
profitable. A $100 bet into a $200 pot on a missed draw may seem
dangerous, but look at it from your opponent’s point of view.
They have to make a large commitment and if they aren’t
convinced their hand is best you stand a good chance of
pressuring them into folding. It can easily look like you just
hit a set instead of missed your draw when you make a strong bet
like this.

And as you can see from the numbers above, you only need to
make them fold a third of the time.

Our Advice: Unless you’re clearly beat, you should rarely
fold on the river. You should always try to determine if a call
is a positive expectation play, but if you have a doubt you
should usually call. And even when you’re beat a bet may be the
best play instead of a check and fold.

The Flop

After you see the flop you’ve seen five out of the seven
total cards that will make your hand and you should be able to
make a good decision about where you stand at this point in the
hand. While almost anything can happen before the flop, the
lists of possible outcomes for the hand are greatly reduced
after the flop.

At this time you need to decide if you’re going to fight
until the end or exit the hand. You see player after player
chasing a hand, seeing one more card on the turn before folding.
This habit ends up costing players enough to wipe out any
possible profit.

Players call a bet on the flop so they can try for that
inside straight or try for a higher pair, even when they’re
clearly behind in the hand.

You have to base all of your decisions on the long term
profitability of your hand.

Don’t ever take a card chasing a hand that doesn’t offer the
correct pot odds. Folding a losing long term hand here saves a
bet. Any bet saved is extra ammunition you can use at another
time to win more.

Texas holdem is never just about the current hand or
situation. Everything you do is a combination of the game that
has lead up to the current situation, the present hand, and
everything in the future that’s tied to the current hand.

Just because most strategy advice focuses on aggressive play
and the offensive part of holdem doesn’t mean folding can’t be
profitable. Here’s a list of flop situations where folding is
the most profitable long term play.

Scenario 1

You see the flop with ace king and the flop is jack, ten, and
three. A tight player fires a bet of $20, making the pot $120.
Unless the board pairs you’ll win the pot with a straight and
you may or may not win if you pair your ace or king.

The problem with pairing your ace or king is it makes a
possible straight for your opponent. So in this situation you
can usually count half of the cards that pair one of your cards
as outs. So you’re looking at four outs for the straight and
three more for pairing one of your cards for a total of seven
outs. The problem is if you pair your ace and an opponent hits a
straight how much will you lose before you get away from the

While the pot odds make a call close, the negative implied
odds make it a situation where you need to fold and wait for a
better situation where you can invest your money.

Scenario 2

You make a pre flop raise with a pair of jacks from late
position and get called by an early position limper and a middle
position limper. The flop has an ace and a king, the first
player bets and the second raises. It’s always good to be
optimistic, but it’s difficult to imagine two hands your
opponents can possibly hold that doesn’t have at least one of
them dominating your jacks.

The truth is you’re probably behind both hands at this point
and instead of throwing good money away you need to fold. You
were the aggressive player before the flop and not only has one
player improved their hand enough to make a bet into you, the
other raises. These are both clear indications of the strength
of the other hands compared to yours.

Rules of a straight in texas holdem card game

A single bet may not be enough to make you fold, though in
this case it might, but the bet and raise are just too much to

Scenario 3

In a no limit Texas holdem game you call an early raise with
a pair of eights. The flop is three, four, seven, and the pre
flop bettor makes a continuation bet on the flop. Even though
you have an over pair, when you play for a set against a raise
you have to be able to fold when you don’t hit your hand.

While it’s possible you could have the best hand, the odds
are against it. And if you’re dominated by an over pair, which
is likely, you’ll end up losing a big pot. The best play is a

The Turn

The turn is listed last because if you’re playing the best
Texas holdem as possible and folding on the flop when you should
the turn generally plays itself.

If you’re ahead on the flop you’re generally still ahead on
the turn and need to continue building the value of the pot.
When you’re behind on the flop but getting the correct pot odds
to call if you haven’t improved your hand on the turn you
usually still have the correct odds to see the river.

Rarely will you find a situation where a call was correct on
the flop and a fold is correct on the turn unless your hand
value drastically changes.

Have you ever read the statement that if you do a good job
selecting your starting hands and make the best decisions on the
flop that the rest of the hand plays itself? This is a fairly
accurate statement.

If you find yourself in a situation where you should have
folded on the flop but wanted to see the turn, don’t compound
the mistake by chasing a bad draw to the river. Of course you
should try to avoid this situation, but never make it worse just
because of your prior mistake.

Here’s a couple of situations where seeing the turn was
correct but a fold becomes correct at this time.

Scenario 1

You have second pair and a flush draw and make a semi bluff
on the flop, but get called by two opponents. Your hand doesn’t
improve on the turn and you face an all in that creates a
negative expected value when you determine the pot odds. A semi
bluff is usually a profitable play, but learn to recognize when
one doesn’t work out and cut your losses.


Scenario 2

You have top pair with top kicker against two opponents and
the board pairs and puts the third suited card out on the turn.
Both opponents seem to come alive and start a betting war. Even
though you may have had the best hand entering the turn it’s not
likely that you still have the best hand. And if you’re behind
to either opponent at this time you’re probably drawing dead.


Everything we’ve talked about so far deals with cash or ring
game play. Tournament play requires a different thought process
when it comes to folding. You often have to fold in a positive
expectation situation to conserve your chips for situations
where you’re the favorite to win.

If that sounds like it is a rare situation, bear with us for
a minute. We’ll show you how you’re often in a positive
expectation situation where you aren’t the favorite to win. When
you see what we mean you’ll realize you already knew this.

In a cash game a positive expectation situation is almost
always one where you want to invest as much money as possible.
In the long run you make money from these situations, even if
you lose sometimes. The wins over time more than make up for the
losses and show a profit. But this doesn’t mean you’re the
favorite to win any single hand.


You have an open end straight draw and two over cards on the
turn, the pot has $300 in it, and you have to call a $50 all in
bet. You have 14 outs which mean you have over a 30% chance to
win the hand. This is clearly a situation where you aren’t the
favorite to win the hand, but you still have a positive expected
value. You only have to win 15% of the time to show a long term

Let’s compare this to a different situation.

You have two pair on the turn against a player with a flush
draw. They have a 19.57% chance to win the hand, making you a
favorite of over 80%.

In both situations you’re going to make money in the long
run, but in the second situation you’re going to win the hand a
much higher percentage of the time.

In a tournament you have a limited number of chips so you
have to protect them while trying to make them grow. The only
way to win more chips is to risk the ones you have, but you need
to risk them in situations where you have the best chance to
increase them.

It’s fairly easy to see that even in a tournament the long
term profitability of both examples described above is positive,
but in the first example you’re only going to win a hair over
30% of the time.

Rules Of A Straight In Texas Holdem Game

So if you’re in a tournament situation where you can play for
all of your chips in a positive expectation hand but only have a
25% chance of remaining in the tournament what are you going to

Three out of every four times you play the situation you get
knocked out of the tournament but the one time out of four it
sets you up nicely for a run that should help you finish in the
money. Only you can decide which way you want to play, but an
argument can easily be made for both sides.

Texas Holdem Kicker Rules

On the other hand if you have an 80% chance to win a hand in
a tournament you have to make the play. You rarely find a
situation where you have a larger edge and you can’t fold.

The only way you’d ever consider folding in the second
situation is if you’re on the bubble and are in danger of
missing the money if you lose. And even in this situation you’ll
almost always need to call because of the large edge. With an
80% chance to win you’ll win the hand four out of every five
times you play.

Unless something tragic is going to happen, like being
evicted, unless you finish in the money the best play is to

Recommended Reading

For a more in depth discussion of tournament playing decisions you should read our Texas holdem tournament pages.

It can be a difficult balancing act for Texas holdem
tournament players to choose between long term expectations in
short term negative situations and waiting for more certain
short term results. Everyone wants to only play hands where they
have a large edge, but these situations don’t come up often
enough to make it feasible to always wait on them.

Of course even when you find situations where you’re a big
favorite often enough you can still end up losing a hand. You
just hope that you’ve made enough of a cushion on the other
hands to take the loss and remain alive in the tournament.


If you’re an 80% favorite to win a hand it means you win four
out of every five times you play it. In simple terms this means
if you’re in the situation five times in a tournament you’re
going to lose one of them. So if you’re all in all five times
you’re out of the tournament.


Most Texas holdem players look for reasons to call instead of
reasons to fold. Most Texas holdem players lose money in the
long run.

Do you think these two things could be related?

We’re not saying these two things are directly related, but
they do appear to have some connection. Good players look for
both reasons to call or raise and reasons to fold. Then they
weigh the benefits and long term profitability of each action
and make the correct decision more often than not.

If the only thing you do is look for reasons to call you need
to start looking for reasons to fold as well. Only by looking at
the current situation as realistically as possible and not
through rose colored glasses will you be able to play the most
profitable poker.