Card games are quite dynamic in range. There are so many terms and combinations of playing the game that you can literally invent one game of your own in it. Things get even more interesting when you can play these games online. But an important thing to keep in mind about card games is their terminology. What the cards are called, what is a stockpile or discard pile and things like that. One such term is the kicker card. Most people who play cards are familiar with it or might know it by a different name. But for those who are new to the game, understanding kicker cards can be highly beneficial for you to ace the game. So, without further ado, let us understand the kicker card and how it can help you in a game of cards.
What is a Kicker Card?
A kicker card is that card which you do not use while melding or when making a hand with the community cards that are given to you on the table. The main objective of having this card is to avoid the draw if two players have the same combination of cards. In a situation, when two hands are identical, it is with the kicker card that you decide who is the winner. An important thing to keep in mind about the kicker card is that there can be more than one of them in a combination. There can also be a chance where there is no kicker card in the combination. Although this card is quite important it does not mean that its presence should be mandatory in the card game.
A card that does not form the part of the combination qualifies as the kicker card.
The Use of Kicker Card
The Kicker card or cards are used in games like Poker and Texas Hold Em. Its use is pretty simple. If your hand combination is the same as that of the other player, then the value of the kicker cards are taken into consideration. The one who has the kicker card of the highest value wins the game. Let us understand this with the help of an example:
Suppose there are two players playing: Player A and Player B. If Player A has community cards A, A, K, K, Q and Player B has community cards on the table with A, A, K, K, J then Player A wins the game. This happened because both the players have the same pairs of A and K, but the leftover card or the kicker card was different in value. In the case of Player A, it was Queen and in the case of Player B, it was Jack. As a rule, when the combinations have tied the one who has the kicker card of higher value wins the game. In this case, it was Player A with the highest score and accordingly, he won the game.
What Happens When Kickers of Two-Players Are the Same?
In a situation, where the hand combinations of the players are the same and even the kicker cards are the same, then the game ends in a draw. Neither of the players wins. If you are playing this game for real money, the consequence of this would be that the pot will be divided equally among the players.
If the value of your kicker card is higher than your opponent, you win the game.
Kicker Card Rules in Poker
Poker has its own sets of rules, but when kicker comes into play, it will hold different meanings in different games. Let us understand how:
In High Card, there is no particular sequence or colors. As such, all the cards here will act as kicker cards. So depending on what combination you make, the rest of the cards will be considered as kicker cards.
As the name suggests, in this game you need to make a pair out of the five cards that are given to you. This leaves us with three cards. Now, these three cards can be considered as kicker cards.
When you play two pairs in poker, what you have to do is make a combination of two pairs that could be anything. This takes the total to four and leaves one card remaining. This one card can be considered as the kicker card in the game.
Three of a Kind
In three of a kind, you have to make a combination of three cards that belong to the same suit. Now, in a five-card game, this takes away the three of the cards and we are left with only two cards. So, the remaining two cards can be deemed as kicker cards.
In cards, straight refers to a combination where the cards have to be arranged in sequential order. So, in a five-card game, this order would consist of having cards whose value increases in a sequence. Having a kicker card here means that you have four cards that are in sequence and then the odd card that is left out will be considered as the kicker card.
Flush refers to the sequence where the combination or hand is made where all the cards belong to the same category. So when there are five cards of the same suit, no kicker card will be there. But if a situation arises where one card is of a different suit than that card will be deemed as the kicker card.
In Full House, you need a combination where there are three of a kind and a pair. For a kicker to be availed here, there has to be one card that does not belong to this combination.
So it goes for all the games that you can play with the variations of poker. The basic rule is to have cards that could have been in combination except for one card or more. As it is evident, the kicker cards hold great significance in the game of cards. If you have got a strong kicker card, it can turn an otherwise tied game in your favor.