What is the High Half?
In high-low split poker games, the high half refers to a portion of the pot which is won by the player with the best high hand at the table. The high hand is the best traditional poker hand held by a player. The opposing low hand is the best hand where the ranks are inverted, with A-2-3-4-5 being the best possible hand. It is possible for a player to win the high half and low half of a pot with the same hand. High-low pots could also be split three or more ways if ties are permitted.
High Half Explained
Most forms of poker can be played to traditional rules, lowball rules, or high-low split rules. High-low split can be a form of stud, draw or hold’em poker. In a high-low split game, players are competing for two halves of one pot. The highest traditional hand wins the ‘high half’ of the pot, and the best lowball hand takes the ‘low half’ of the same pot.
Some forms of the game require a player to declare which half of the pot they intend to chase. Others allow a player to reveal their intentions at the showdown – or let the cards speak for themselves. It is possible for a player to win the high and low halves of a pot with a single hand. An A-2-3-4-5 straight would meet the criteria for the best lowest hand, and that straight might also be the best high hand at the table.
It is also possible for a poker pot to be split more than two ways, though high half and low half may still be used. Some casinos and card rooms use bridge rankings to break tied hands by suit, but others allow for ties to split pots. If there is a tie for the high half, for example, that half would be divided by two and split while the player with the best low hand would take all of the low half.
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