What is a ‘Top Pair’?
A top pair is a term used in ‘flop games’ (also known as hold ’em’ games) of poker. Flop games incorporate the use of ‘community cards‘ which sit at the centre of a table and are to be utilised by all players. A top pair refers to when a player makes a pair using the highest community card and a card from their own ‘hand‘.
‘Top Pair’ Explained
Flop games, Hold ‘Em and Omaha games all use community cards (also known as board cards, shared cards and common cards) which can be used by all players to create a hand of some worth in addition to their own cards (which can’t be seen by the other players). Combining the two sets of cards, players can create all the traditional poker hands, such as full house, straight flush, three of a kind, two pairs etc…
A top pair simply refers to when a player utilises the community card of highest value and pairs it with a card from their own hand.
Say the community cards consist of a two of clubs, a five of hearts, a six of clubs and a jack of spades.
A player holding a jack of any suit in their own hand will be able to partner it with the jack of spades that sits on the table in order to make a Top Pair.
Far from being the most valuable hand in the world of poker, a Top Pair can still win a round if everyone else happens to lack cards of any greater value or are simply unwilling to ‘call‘ at that point.
A simple hand to make, all it requires is a secondary card of matching value. Such a move will likely be recognised even by players of low experience.