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Straight (poker)

A straight is a poker hand such as Q♣ J♠ 10♠ 9♥ 8♥, which contains five cards of sequential rank, of varying suits. It ranks above three of a kind and below a flush.

Two straights are ranked by comparing the high card of each. Two straights with the same high card are of equal value, and split any winnings (straights are the most commonly tied hands in poker, especially in community card poker games).

Straights are often described by the highest card, as in "queen-high straight" or "straight to the queen".

Examples

• 8♠ 7♠ 6♥ 5♥ 4♠ ("eight-high straight") defeats 6♦ 5♠ 4♦ 3♥ 2♣ ("six-high straight")
• 8♠ 7♠ 6♥ 5♥ 4♠ ties 8♥ 7♦ 6♣ 5♣ 4♥

Aces are a special case here: a hand such as A♣ K♣ Q♦ J♠ 10♠ is an ace-high straight (or "broadway"), and ranks above a king-high straight such as K♥ Q♠ J♥ 10♥ 9♦. But the ace may also be played as a 1-spot in a hand such as 5♠ 4♦ 3♦ 2♠ A♣, called a wheel, bicycle, or five-high straight, which ranks below the six-high straight 6♠ 5♣ 4♣ 3♥ 2♥. The ace may not "wrap around", or play both high and low in the same hand: 3♣ 2♦ A♠ K♠ Q♣ is not a straight, but just ace-high no pair. The wrap-around is, however, one of the unconventional hands used in some home games.

When wild cards are used, the wild card becomes whichever rank is necessary to complete the straight. If two different ranks would complete a straight, it becomes the higher. For example, in the hand J♦ 10♠ 9♣ (Wild) 7♠, the wild card plays as an 8 (of any suit; it doesn't matter). In the hand (Wild) 6♥ 5♦ 4♥ 3♦, it plays as a 7 (even though a 2 would also make a straight).

The general rule about poker hands having only five cards may come into play here. If playing a seven-card game you end up with K♠ K♣ K♥ Q♠ J♦ 10♦ 9♣, and your opponent has K♦ Q♦ J♥ 10♥ 9♠ 8♠ 7♣, your hands are tied. The best five-card poker hand you can make is a king-high straight, and the best hand he can make is also a king-high straight. The fact that you also have three kings and he also has a seven-card-long straight are both irrelevant. Of course, if his hand were instead A♥ K♦ Q♦ J♥ 10♥ 9♠ 8♠, his ace-high straight would defeat your king-high.

In Mexican stud, because the 8s, 9s, and 10s are removed from the deck, a hand such as 6-7-J-Q-K counts as a straight (to the king).

03-10-2013 05:06:04