What is a ‘Pat Hand’?
The term “pat hand” normally refers to a hand in which a player decides not to draw any more playing cards. This could be because the hand is complete (or they want other players to think it’s complete), making up a flush, full house, straight, royal flush or straight flush (in standard poker).
An alternative could be a four of a kind, where not all five cards have been used up but a player will often treat it as a pat hand and not draw again because it can’t be improved.
‘Pat Hand’ Explained
A “pat hand” normally means that a player has deemed their hand to be complete (i.e. they don’t want any more cards) as they’ve got a series of cards that makes up one of the winning combinations. This isn’t always set in stone and depends on a player’s judgement that they have got the best winning combination against other players’ hands. Amongst more skilled players, a player may turn down more cards and pretend that they have a pat hand to scare their competition into playing their hands earlier than they might have liked.
A pat hand doesn’t necessarily mean that all five cards have to be used to form a winning combination, such as a four of a kind. Again, this depends on the player’s willingness to either accept that a four of a kind could be the best hand they get to play or their appetite for the risk of continuing to accept other cards in the hope of a flush or straight. For instance, in a game of poker, a player might say to another “it’s your turn to draw”. If a player wishes to stick with the hand they have, as they have deemed it complete (or want the other players to think that it’s complete), they might say “Oh, I’m pat” or “No, I have a pat hand.”