What is a ‘Complete Hand’?
A term used in poker, a complete hand is a hand greater than three of a kind, defined by all five cards. For example: a royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush and straight, which are not missing any cards, are all considered complete hands.
It is a general term used across all poker mediums, including online and offline games. You will rarely hear it spoken out loud, but it is useful to know if you are waiting to complete a full house or four of a kind.
‘Complete Hand’ Explained
Let’s run through a typical round of Texas Hold’em to show how a complete hand is formed. On the first round you are dealt two ‘hole’ cards 9-J. This is not a strong hand, but it has the potential to develop into one. A hand like this is called a ‘come hand’. You then decide to call on the first round of betting in order to see the flop. You would probably want to fold if there are a number of raises. On the flop, the cards are 9-K-7. This gives you a pair 9-9, a relatively strong hand. But you need to be careful about the King. On the next round of betting there are two raises and so you need to decide if they have K-K or if they’re bluffing.
You decide to stay in the hand and call their raises. On the ‘turn’, the fourth card turned over, you get another 9. The four shared cards are 9-K-7-9. Your best possible hand is now three of a kind. This is not a complete hand, a complete hand has to be above three of a kind.
On the next round of betting there are two more raises. You decide to call each raise in order to see the river. You are waiting for either another 9 or a Jack to give you the complete hand. On the final shared card, ‘the river’, you’re in luck, you get a Jack. The shared cards after the river are 9-K-7-9-J. Your best possible hand is now 9-9-9-J-J, a full house and a complete hand.
On the final round of betting, there have been two folds and a raise before you. There are now just two of you left in the pot, but you know he is a particularly aggressive player. So you decide to raise his raise. He calls your raise and it’s time for a showdown. His cards are K-A, giving him a pair of Kings. You therefore win with your complete hand of full house.
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