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Back-To-Back

What is ‘Back-To-Back’?

‘Back-to-back’ is a poker phrase which describes how the cards have been dealt. It usually means a pair that appears in the first two cards of a five-card stud game: for example, an ace dealt up and an ace dealt down is ‘back-to-back aces’. The term is also used to describe pairs, triples and quads that are dealt or appear in succession – in hold’em for example, two threes in the flop and another three at the turn might be described as ‘back-to-back threes’.

‘Back-To-Back’ Explained

In five-card stud poker, players are usually dealt two cards to begin the game. One is dealt face down, while the other is exposed to the table. If both of these cards have the same value and form a pair, that pair is said to be dealt ‘back-to-back’. A player might say they receives ‘aces back to back’, for example. It differs slightly from holding a ‘pocket pair’, which is two starting cards of the same value which have been dealt in some form of hold’em poker and are both held by the player. However, some players also describe a pair received in this manner as a ‘back-to-back pair’.

The phrase is also used more loosely to describe any cards that are dealt in succession. For example, a blackjack player with a starting hand of 18 may refer to their ‘two nines back-to-back’. In poker, a player might receive a pair in their starting deal and another pair in the draw – the two-pair hand could be described as coming ‘back-to-back’.

Another player might flop a pair and then turn a third of the same value, giving the table a back-to-back triple set. If a player builds a flush or other five-card set during the course of the game due to cards that are turned in succession through a hold’em or stud game, they may say that the flush or straight came back-to-back.

Want to get into poker? Read our indispensable guide.