Poker: Kickers

Many new players don’t value their kicker card enough as they play poker. Kickers come into play often because most players like to play big cards, especially aces. So many players don’t realize how vulnerable they can be when paired up with a lousy card. Hands like A-3 and A-6 really aren’t very good starting hands. Most players only play these weak ace combinations when they’re suited or when they’re in good position, but this habit can be costly. Let’s say you’ve got A-3 and the flop hits A-Q-9. You think you’ve hit your hand when in fact it’s likely to cost you a ton of money.

The numbers show that whenever you’re dealt an Ace at a ten-player table, another player will also have an Ace 62% of the time. On that flop, if another player has an Ace with a better kicker than your 3, it’s going to cost you. Not to mention that an opponent could easily be holding A-Q or A-9, and your luck could get real bad if a 3 comes on the turn or river. So even when this type of hand hits a flop in a big way, it’s still vulnerable.

The higher your kicker is, the better chance you’ll have to split the pot if you are out-kicked. If you have a pair of aces with a hand like A-6 and your opponent has A-8, as long as there are three cards on the board bigger than 8 you’ll split the pot with that opponent. Kickers play a big part of your hand. Never focus on just one of your cards, because the other one often comes into play.