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Poker Dictionary (106) > Kicker

Kicker Card - Online Poker

A 'kicker' is used in live poker and online poker games to decide a tied hand. The overall objective in most games of poker is to make the best 5 card hand out of the cards available. There are times where at showdown, the two or more players have the same hand. For instance, player A hits a pair of 3's and player 2 also hits a pair of 3's, the winner would be the player with the best kicker card. This would be the highest unpaired card in the players hand (it could be on the board).

Player A Hand - 3d - 3c - 4h - Ac - 5d
Player B Hand - 3s - 3h - 5s - Kc - 2d

In the example above, both players have a pair of 3's. To determine the winner, we consider the kicker card, or next highest card. For player A, the next unpaired card is the Ace and for player B, the King. As the Ace is higher than the King, player A would win this hand. The same logic applies for all hands in the game whenever there is a tied hand. In Hold'em, a kicker also is used to describe the lowest of the two hole cards in a players hand. So if a player held As - Kd, the king would be the kicker.

It's for this reason that good players tend to stay away from starting hands where the kicker is weak. For instance, playing As - 3s might seem like a good idea, given the flush possibilities however when your ace pairs, and any other player also holds an ace, you are likely losing to a worst kicker card (your opponent will likely have higher than a 3) and it can cost you more than you should commit to the pot to find out that you are behind.

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