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Two-Way Hand

What is a ‘Two-Way Hand’?

A ‘two-way hand’ is a hand which could play for either pot in a Hi/Lo game. The hand is a good one to hold in flop games. Players will need to make a decision on how to split their two-way hand in a draw game, while in a community or stud game they have two ways in which the revealed cards could fall in their favour.

‘Two-Way Hand’ Explained

Most forms of poker play to ‘highball’ rules, which means that the hands are ranked against traditional poker rules and the cards themselves rank from a low 2 to a high ace. In traditional poker, the best hand in the game is usually the high straight flush or the royal flush – a hand of 10-J-Q-K-A. However, there are variants of poker known as ‘lowball‘ games, in which the card values are flipped. In these games, aces are low, the ‘wheel’ – a hand of A-2-3-4-5 – is the most desirable hand of the whole set. In either game, the player with the best hand wins the pot, and splits only happen in the event of a tie and where no tiebreaker rule applies.

There are also games which offer the pot to two or more players at the table, known as ‘Hi/Lo’ games. In this form of poker, players can either chase the best high hand or the best low hand. The pot is split at the end, and awarded to the best highest and lowest of the ranked hands still in play. In these games, the phrase ‘two-way hand’ might appear. This refers to a poker hand that, in its current state, could be a suitable candidate for either the low or the high pot. For example, a player might hold 2C-3H-5S-8S-JS before the draw. They could take the 2-3-5 offsuit and hope for a low straight for the low pot, or keep the high spades and hope for a strong high flush. The hand can be played ‘either way’, and can be called a ‘two-way hand’.