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Tie Breaker Rules of Poker Games

One of the many games played at a casino is poker, and one of the myriad rules you'll need to know is the tie breaker poker rules for cash games. Theoretically, it's possible to know all the hands in a game, but consistently mastering the few you do have, is difficult.

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In a poker game, if a poker tie breaker occurs, the player with the top ranked card triumphs. If the poker hand rankings is same, as per the Texas Hold’em poker rules, the dealer must split the tie with the second-highest, third-highest, fourth-highest, and fifth-highest cards. To determine the winner, simply break the pot in half so that both players have an equal opportunity to win based on the tie breaker poker rules.

Here’s a simple example:

George and Bill are playing a game of poker. George gets dealt AK and Bill gets two Tens. They both go all-in preflop. The board runs out: 5-6-7-8-9. In this situation, both players make a board straight. This means that George will take one half of the pot and Bill will take the other. Now imagine, if George had AK and Bill had AQ. They go all-in preflop and the board runs out: 5-5-8-4-9. In this situation, both players have just a pair on the board and two high cards. Here, George will win the pot because his King is of higher value than Bill’s Q. Split Pot (Tie-Breaker) situations in poker can be a daunting poker skill to learn, but when you know what to do, and how to do it properly, you're going to enjoy your next poker cash game or tournament more than ever before.

This guide explains the tie breaker poker rules for a game of poker. You can use the information to play full house, three of a kind, or other high hand tiebreakers in your favourite poker card game.

Ranking in Poker Cash Games from highest to lowest

Everyone loves a strong poker hand. Whether you play online or in a local game, if you get lucky enough to take the pot, it's likely that you'll win the hand. Poker hand rankings have been a hot topic in recent years and many people wonder how to become better at them.

The list of Poker hand rankings are:

Royal Flush: A Royal flush is a poker hand of the highest rank. Although there are many different variations of the game, the Royal flush is always a straight + a flush (five cards in consecutive order, of the same suit). This hand is considered unbeatable as there can be no Split-Pot situation that can occur. It is the best possible hand in poker that consists of a Ten, Jack, Queen, King and an Ace. All of the same suit.

Straight Flush: A Straight flush is the 2nd best possible poker hand with five cards. It consists of any five cards, of the same suit, and in consecutive order (5-6-7-8-9 all of the same suit). When two or more players have an identical straight flush, the player with the higher straight will win the hand. For eg. A straight flush with 3-4-5-6-7 of hearts is a better hand than a straight flush with 2-3-4-5-6 of hearts.

Four of a Kind: A Four-of-a-kind hand, often known as quads, consists of four cards of one rank and one odd card. Four-of-a-kind is exceptionally powerful and sits 3rd in terms of strength. In a game of Texas Hold'em, making this hand offers you a stellar chance to win the pot. 9 ♣ 9 ♠ 9 ♦ 9 ♥ J ♥, 7 ♥ 7 ♦ 7 ♠ 7 ♣ K ♥ are the examples of four of a kind poker hand.

Full House: Placed 4th highest in rank, a Full House consists of a Three-of-a-kind + a pair. Full house tie breaker situations are decided by who has the bigger Three-of-a-kind. If both players have the same Three-of-a-kind, then the player with the bigger Pair will win the pot. For example, a Full House of 3-3-3-4-4 is bigger than a full house of 3-3-3-2-2.

Flush: When you have five cards of the same suit irrespective of the sequence in poker, you have a Flush. For example, K ♣ 10 ♣ 7 ♣ 6 ♣ 4 ♣. The player with the highest card in a flush will win the hand. For example, Ac,Jc,9c,2c,3c flush is greater than Kc,Qc,7c,8c,5c flush. Placed 5th highest in strength, if the top two cards are identical, the second highest card is evaluated as per Texas Hold’em poker rules in a poker Flush tie breaker; if they are also equal, the third highest card is matched, and so on.

Straight: A Straight is a hand that consists of five consecutively ranked cards that are not all of the identical suit as per the poker rules. In straights, an Ace can be used as in a sequence of A-2-3-4-5 as well as T-J-Q-K-A. The player with a higher straight wins.

Three of a Kind: 9 ♠ 9 ♥ 9 ♦ 10 ♦ 8 ♥ and 2 ♦ 2 ♠ 2 ♣ K ♠ 6 ♥ are some of the examples of three of a kind poker hand. In the poker hand rating system, Three-of-a-kind is the 6th best potential hand. The rating of each Three of a kind is determined first by the triplet, then by the highest-ranking kicker, and subsequently by the lowest rating kicker. For example, the board is A-A-J-5-2. You have AK and your opponent has AT, in this case, AK is the better hand as it makes A-A-A-K-J while your opponent’s hand is A-A-A-J-T.

Two Pair: A combination of two cards of one rank (10♦ 10♠), two cards of another rank (4♦ 4♥), and one card of a third rank is known as a Two pair. The rank of each pair's higher-ranking pair comes first as per poker two pair tie breaker, followed by the value of its lower-ranking pair, and lastly, the rank of its kicker pair. For example, you have AK and your opponent has AJ. The board is A-5-5-2-9. In this case, you have the better hand as you make A-A-5-5-K while your opponent makes A-A-5-5-J. Or, you have KQ and your opponent has A2. The board is A-K-Q-2-7. Your opponent will win the hand here as they make A-A-2-2-Q while you make A-K-K-Q-Q.

One Pair: A pair is a hand that consists of two cards of one rank and three cards of three different ranks also referred to as kicker. It is positioned between two pairs and a high card as per Texas Hold’em poker rules. The rank of each pair is first based on the tie breaker poker, followed by the rank of its greatest kicker, then the rank of its second-highest-ranking kicker, and eventually the ranking of its least value kicker.

High Card: This Poker hand consists of no pair, no three-of-a-kind and no straight. The other name of this Poker hand sequence is No pair. In the poker hand ranking chart, High Card sits last and is therefore, the worst hand. If a Poker tie breaker occurs in a High card poker hand, the player with the top placed card triumphs.

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Tie Breaker Rules - FAQs

Q. How do you break a tie in poker?

The pot is distributed evenly when both participants have the identical hand, such as both having the same poker Full House tie breaker because a Kicker Card cannot be used to determine the winner of an identical Full House, the pot is split.

Q. What happens if two players have the same straight?

If two or more players make the same straight, then as per Poker tie breaker, the participant with the better rating gets the pot.

Q. Do you raise blinds in a cash game?

As per Texas Hold’em poker rules, most cash games have a raise policy that you can change based on the rules of your particular game. Some people like to raise blinds when they hold a good hand while others prefer to check down with their weak hands so they don't give away information about their cards.

The best situation to raise a blind is when you have the highest poker hand possible. If someone else raises after you, it's likely that they have a better hand than you. You should always be following the actions of your opponents and make all your decisions based on their actions.

Q. Who wins in poker if both have 2 pairs?

When numerous two-pair hands are matched against each other, the hand with the higher top pair emerges victorious based on the poker two pair tie breaker.

Q. How are Tiebreakers decided?

Being a skill game primarily, poker still has an element of luck when it comes to the cards. Whenever a Poker tie breaker occurs in the game, the kicker card becomes the key determinant and the player with the greatest card wins.

Q. Who serves first in a tiebreaker?

When two poker hands face off, the sequence with the strongest high card takes the win as per the Texas Holdem poker rules.

Q. What is a tie break situation?

A Poker tie breaker is an interesting side note that decides the victor when two or more participants have the same hand ranking at the end of a game.

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