High Card

What is a ‘High Card’?

A ‘high card’ (sometimes ‘high card’) is a single card which outranks another, usually in terms of numerical order from 2-A but occasionally run as A-K. To ‘high card’ is to play off a single card against another, usually in a poker game with the aim of determining who will start play or where each player will sit for the game.

‘High Card’ Explained

If a player refers to a ‘high card’, they usually mean a card which ranks highly against the others in the deck. In poker hands where two pairs are tied, the high card in the hand will often decide the winner. For example, a player with 6-6-7-9-J will beat a player with 2-3-6-6-8 because the highest card of the lower hand (the 8) is less than the highest card of the first hand (the jack). In some poker hands, the high card alone might be the deciding factor in the pot: in a hand of 2-4-5-6-9 and 2-3-6-8-Q, the player with the queen is the winner.

To ‘high-card’ means to enter a straight single card contest with other players, which will determine who is the dealer, or who makes the first bet, or where each player will be seated. Each player is dealt a single card, face up to the table. The cards are then ranked, usually in terms of 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K, though occasionally ace may be low. In the event of a tie, the winner is usually determined by ranking the suits. Most poker games will use the standard bridge ranks of C-D-H-S to break ties, so a 10 of clubs would be beaten by a ten of diamonds, and a ten of spades would beat any other ten card. However, the rules for a tie break tend to vary between different casinos and card rooms.