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What is a High Card in Poker?

High Card
High Card

High Card is the weakest combination out of allpoker hands. It is a five-card hand with different suits and without any matching ranks. The best High Card is Ace-high, while the lowest hand in Hold'em is 9-high.

What does a High Card look like?

If the hand doesn’t even have One Pair and all of the five cards are not of the same exact suit, the hand is valued based on its highest-ranking card. Here are some examples of High Card hands:

  1. A♦, Q♥, 9♥, 5♣, 3♦
  2. K♥, 7♣, 5♥, 4♦, 2♠
  3. J♣, 10♠, 7♥, 6♠, 2♥
  4. 9♣, 8♦, 7♦, 6♦, 4♦

How does High Card rank?

A High Card is the lowest of all poker hands when playing standard versions of the game. It is weaker than One Pair and so it will also be beaten by Two Pairs, Three of a Kind, Straight, and the other higher hands in poker.

What Beats High Card?
Rank
Hand Name
Example
Hand Description
1
10
suit-hearts
J
suit-hearts
Q
suit-hearts
K
suit-hearts
A
suit-hearts
10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace all in the same suit.
2
4
suit-clubs
5
suit-clubs
6
suit-clubs
7
suit-clubs
8
suit-clubs
Five cards in a row, all in the same suit.
3
10
suit-hearts
7
suit-diamonds
7
suit-clubs
7
suit-hearts
7
suit-spades
The same card in each of the four suits.
4
K
suit-diamonds
K
suit-hearts
K
suit-clubs
J
suit-hearts
J
suit-diamonds
A pair plus three of a kind in the same hand.
5
6
suit-hearts
8
suit-hearts
Q
suit-hearts
3
suit-hearts
10
suit-hearts
Five cards, all in one suit, but not in numerical order.
6
10
suit-diamonds
9
suit-spades
8
suit-hearts
7
suit-spades
6
suit-spades
Five cards in numerical order, but not of the same suit.
7
2
suit-clubs
J
suit-hearts
K
suit-clubs
K
suit-hearts
K
suit-diamonds
Three of one card and two non-paired cards.
8
Q
suit-diamonds
4
suit-hearts
4
suit-diamonds
A
suit-spades
A
suit-diamonds
Two different pairings or sets of the same card in one hand.
9
7
suit-clubs
8
suit-clubs
Q
suit-hearts
5
suit-clubs
5
suit-spades
One pairing of the same card.
10
2
suit-hearts
3
suit-clubs
7
suit-diamonds
Q
suit-diamonds
K
suit-hearts
No matching cards.

A hand with just a High Card can only beat a weaker High Card hand. For example, K-8-7-6-2 is better than Q-J-10-9-6. If two players have the same High Card, the tie is broken by the second highest card and so on.

How should you play High Card in Hold’em?

OK, so to put it bluntly, if you’re holding out hope of winning a hand with a High Card then you’re reaching a desperate stage of your play. It is rare that a High Card wins a hand in poker.

If you manage it then congratulations. You’re either an excellent bluffer, very lucky, or you’re playing against a bunch of clueless no hopers.

If the betting is low then it can be worth seeing the flop, turn, or river because you never know what cards might be dealt.

Just avoid being sucked into becoming pot committed because it will only end in tears if you are relying on a High Card.

High Card Probabilities

Although a High Card is weaker than One Pair, the probability of getting a High Card hand in Texas Hold'em is lower than the one for getting a pair. This is because it is more likely to make at least a pair with seven cards available than to miss everything.

Below, we look at High Card probabilities for a five-card hand.

Number of ways to draw the hand (not including different suits) Number of ways to draw the hand (including different suits) Odds of getting High Card Probability of getting High Card
1,277 1,302,540 1 / 0.995 50.1177%

The odds of being dealt High Card on the flop is only the tip of the iceberg. To view a wider range of odds and probabilities of being dealt different hands then check out our very own poker odds calculator.

Back to Poker Hands

FAQS

What is a High Card in poker?

High Card is the lowest hand rank in poker. It is a hand of five cards that doesn’t have two matching cards or all cards of the same suit. You can learn all of the poker hands here.

What beats a High Card?

All other poker hand values beat a High Card. Of course, a hand with a High Card will also lose to a hand with a High Card of a better rank.

What can a High Card beat?

A poker High Card can only beat another High Card hand if its rank is better than that of the opponent.

Can you win with a High Card?

The odds of winning with a High Card are not great. In fact, there is only a 17.4% probability of only making a High Card hand in Texas Hold'em. This means that there is an 82.6% probability of the opponent making a better hand. And on top of that, you also have to consider the odds of the opponents having a better High Card combination.

Which High Card is strongest?

An Ace is the strongest high card that a player can possess followed by a King, then a Queen, and then a Jack etc.