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High card by suit (poker)
High card by suit refers to assigning relative values to playing cards of equal rank based on their suit.
Most poker games do not rank suits; the ace of spades is just as good as the ace of clubs. However, small issues (such as deciding who deals first) are sometimes resolved by dealing one card to each player. If two players draw cards of the same rank, one way to break the tie is to use an arbitrary hierarchy of suits.
No standard ranking of suits exists for all poker games. Even within a particular poker variant, the order of suits differs by location. (For example, the ranking most commonly used in the United States is not the one typically used in Italy.) Two common conventions are:
- Alternating colors: diamonds (lowest), followed by clubs, hearts, and spades (highest). (This ranking is also used in the Chinese card game Big Two or Choi Dai Di ).
- Alphabetical order: clubs (lowest), followed by diamonds, hearts, and spades (highest). (This ranking is also used in the game of bridge).
Cards are always compared by rank first, and only then by suit. For example, using the "alphabetical order" ranking, the ace of clubs ranks higher than any king, but lower than the ace of diamonds). High card by suit is never used to break ties between poker hands, but can be used in the following situations, as well as various others, based upon the circumstances of the particular game:
- Randomly selecting a player or players.
- To randomly select a player to deal, to choose the game, to move to another table, or for other reasons, deal each player one card and the player with high card by suit is selected. Multiple players can be selected this way.
- Assigning the bring-in.
- In games such as Seven-card stud, where the player with the lowest-ranking face-up card is required to open the first betting round for a minimal amount, ties can be broken by suit.
- Awarding odd chips in a split pot.
- In High-low split games, or when two players' hands tie, the pot must be split evenly between them. When there is an odd amount of money in the pot that can't be split evenly, the odd low-denomination chip can be given to the player whose hand contains the high card by suit.
See also: Poker
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