What is ‘Immortal’?
A poker hand described as ‘immortal’ is one which cannot be beaten. This might mean that the player holds the highest ranking hand in the game, such as a royal flush. It may also be used when a player knows there is no possible way for another hand to hold better cards than they do, or when the cards already show that one hand is stronger than all the rest.
In poker, players are competing to hold the best hand at the table. This does not necessarily mean that the best hand dealt is always the hand that wins; players use strategic betting and methods of bluffing to play the strength of their hand up or down, and influence the other players in the process. If a weaker hand can successfully convince a stronger one to fold, then they will win the pot for themselves.
However, holding a strong hand and playing it through to the end is the least risky way to win at poker, and therefore the most desirable. A player who knows they hold great cards can play with confidence – especially if they suspect other players have worse hands than theirs. If a player describes their hand as ‘immortal’, they mean that it cannot be beaten.
If a player holds the best hand possible for that game – a royal flush in highball poker or a ‘wheel‘ (A-2-3-4-5) in lowball poker, they may well refer to this hand as immortal. However, in very rare circumstances more than one royal flush might be made. Some games will split the pot as a tie; others will break the tie with bridge ranks (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades). A spade royal flush or wheel is therefore the ‘immortal’ hand in any game. A very strong hand that is lower than a royal flush might also be called immortal, if no other player can beat it. For example, a player holding four aces who knows there is nothing on the board to complete the straight flush can say their hand is immortal.