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Natural Hand

What is ‘Natural Hand’?

‘Natural Hand’ refers to a hand that is made from the cards in the deck, with no assistance from wildcards. In games where wildcards are not used, there is no need to distinguish between the hands. When wildcards are in play, a natural hand will usually beat a wildcard hand and the highest ranked hand will be a natural royal flush.

‘Natural Hand’ Explained

In the game of poker, players usually have the standard 52-card deck available to them: 13 each of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades, ranked between 2-A (or A-K). However, some games will also include the two jokers which come with each pack. These jokers are allocated as ‘wildcards’ – they can be substituted for any card to complete a set. For example, if a player holds a pair of aces plus a joker, they have an ace three of a kind. In other games, the twos and even the threes might all be designated as wildcards. This makes play fast and complicated, and guarantees a decent hand will fall into every game played.

If a player makes their hand using a wildcard, it is a ‘wildcard hand’. If a player does not use any wildcards to make their hand, this is a ‘natural hand’. A natural hand can be placed before any hand name to show that it contains no wildcard – e.g. ‘natural straight’ or ‘natural flush’. In the majority of poker games, a natural hand is ranked higher than a wildcard hand. If one player holds a five-card flush and the other holds a four-flush plus a joker, the first player will take the pot. Occasionally poker games will allow a five of a kind hand, with only one wildcard and the other four cards present and this will beat a royal flush. More usually, a natural royal flush is the highest hand in the game.