What is a ‘Singleton’?
A ‘singleton’ in poker is any card which is the only one of its rank. It may refer to the only card of a certain value (such as ten or king), or the only card of a certain suit (such as hearts or clubs). The singleton becomes relevant when talking about the other cards in the hand. It refers to a card that has no relationship to others in the hand, either before or after the draw. ‘Singletons’ might appear in any form of poker, including video poker, draw and flop games.
The ‘singleton’ is the card left out from the others when assembling a hand. It has no matches to other values or suits, and unless the draw or the flop brings up a surprise match, it is unlikely to lead to a winning hand if kept. For example, in the hand 4-5-6-7-K where the numbers are hearts and the king is a diamond, the king could be called the ‘singleton’. While it might play as a high card if the straight or straight flush fails in community games, it currently has no part in the rest of the hand and is likely to be replaced in a draw game when possible.
Players will rarely talk about their ‘singleton’ cards unless they are describing the rest of the hand, and explaining that the card was left out of the rest of the set. A hand might contain more than one singleton – that is, two or more cards which are unrelated to each other or to the remaining cards in the hand. In the hand 7-7-6-6-4, the four is the singleton. In the hand 7-7-7-6-4, both the six and the four are the singletons. Games with seven-card hands are far more likely to include ‘extra’ cards which can be identified as the singletons.