Hand Value


As every poker player must be well aware of, in a game of poker, each poker hand has a unique hand ranking or value. This hand ranking is a list that helps in placing all the possible poker hands in the order of their value ranging from a Royal Flush to the High Card.

There are ten different hands in a game of poker with each of them having specific hand values which are assigned after determining the difficulty in obtaining the hand. Some poker hands like the High Card are easy to form and every player has an equal chance of winning this particular hand. This is because it does not require any complicated pattern, but only possession of highest card on the table. Hence, it has less value. Some other hands like high ranking Full House are comparatively difficult to make and are given higher value.

High Card has the least hand value and hence is at the bottom of the list. In this hand, you can win without higher five-card hand. Single Pair is second last in hand value which consists of two cards with same value, for example, 5-5. If two players own a Pair, the higher value pair wins over the lower-value pair.

One pertinent point to note is that hand value does fluctuate immensely depending on the number of players in the pot. It has been observed that many players do not know how their starting hands must be treated when there is fluctuation in game from loose to tight. This affects the number of players in the pot. This problem can be solved by knowing what type of hand the player is holding and against how many players this hand is suitable.

The types of hands can be categorized into three:

1. Large pairs: These pairs are considered as premium hands which the players like to receive. Generally, they are JJ or above. In this case, players have high value for themselves and also do not depend on board to win. Normally they raise preflop using these hands for value, but they raise preflop only with the intention of knocking their opponent out. In an imaginary situation, take KK. Until an Ace does hit the board, KK can be considered as best hand at flop. However, consider this situation where the player has KK one spade and one diamond. His one opponent has QJ diamond and the other opponent has AK clubs. Flop has Q hearts, 10 spade and 2 hearts.

Both of the player's opponents may get tempted to draw in order to see another card. Someone having two hearts may draw as well. The player faces a situation where there are 17 outs against him. Though the player has highest chance to win the pot, some of his opponent is more likely to win the pot. This phenomenon is common with large pairs wherein they turn out to be best hand at flop. Since there are enough runners, the player gets beaten at the river. The key to come out of this situation is to knock the opposition out of flop by raising with the objective of limiting pot size. Raise again after opponents have raised so as to make seeing flop expensive and then to knock out opponent’s raise at the flop.

2. Big cards: Big cards like AQ, AK, KQ are good for shorthanded games, but are worse in longhanded games. Though big cards do win money by becoming overpair for those players whose hands are not likely to improve, they are the one who make top pair and top kicker. So, if a player hits the board with the help of these hands and unless he is outkicking his foe, the foe will ultimately be on a draw against the player. The player will be left with no option but to take the pot down on flop or make it costly for opponent to see at turn.

3. Small pairs and suited connectors: These types of hands change in value drastically based on the situation. Assume a situation of non heads up wherein small pairs generally perform well because the opponent does not hit anything and the player wants to play in a multi-way pot with these hands. He is more likely to hit very less with these hands or he will end up hitting nice hand such as flush, three-of-a-kind or straight. The overreaching objective with these types of hands is to have pot odds in one’s favor.


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