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Splitting Openers

What is ‘Splitting Openers’?

Splitting openers refers to a player in draw poker who starts with strong openers – a good starting hand which contains jacks or better, but which offers the potential for more than one high hand, and requires a brave split to chase one or the other. It applies to games where a player must hold openers – high enough cards to play.

Splitting Openers explained

In poker, there are many different variants which are played. Draw poker is a very popular form. This is where players are dealt a number of cards to their hand, usually five, and they have the option of discarding some or all of those cards in order to exchange them for better ones. By holding their strong cards and drawing to their hand, they have a chance of improving what they already hold.

In high draw poker, players often have a jacks or better rule to adhere to. This means that they must hold a pair of jacks or better in order to play, as this is the lowest hand which can win the pot. The cards are often known as openers, as are the bets on them – that is, any player who holds openers of jacks or better can make a bet into the pot and open the game.

If a poker player announces that they are splitting openers, they mean that they are breaking up the cards which qualified as openers to the game, in order to chase one hand or the other from their possibilities. For example, the player might hold a pair of kings as openers, and could therefore try and get another king in the draw. Alternatively, they could split the openers to try and make something of the rest of their hand – perhaps a flush or straight – by discarding one of the pair in the draw.