What is a Kicker in Poker M88? How it works Kicker

The kicker in poker is a card that is pivotal in situations where two or more players have hands of equal strength. It serves as a tiebreaker and is always a focal point in such showdowns. For those curious about the mechanics of kickers in poker, as well as strategies to employ when faced with kicker scenarios, this M88 guide is tailored for you.

Understanding How Kickers Function in Poker

Kickers are called into action when players reveal hands of the same rank at the showdown. The kicker is the highest-ranking card that is not part of the combination that makes up the hand.

Basic Poker Strategy for Beginners at M88
Basic Poker Strategy for Beginners at M88

For instance, in a game of Texas Hold’em Poker, imagine the community cards are K♠ T♥ 8♣ 5♥ 2♦. Two players reach the showdown, with one holding K♣ Q♣ and the other K♦ J♥.

In this example, both contenders have a pair of kings. However, the pot goes to the player with K♣ Q♣ because of the stronger kicker. Their hand, K♣ K♠ Q♣ T♥ 8♣, outperforms the other player’s hand, K♣ K♦ J♥ T♥ 8♣, with the queen kicker being superior to the jack.

Kickers are crucial in poker for hands where the best combination includes fewer than five cards:

  • Four of a Kind (4 cards used, 1 kicker)
  • Three of a Kind (3 cards used, 2 kickers)
  • Two Pair (4 cards used, 1 kicker)
  • One Pair (2 cards used, 3 kickers)
  • High Card (1 card used, 4 kickers; though this hand could be seen as having 5 kickers)
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Hands where kickers are not applicable include:

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight

Understanding the role and significance of kickers in poker can be the difference between winning and losing in tight situations. Mastering this aspect of poker strategy is essential for any player looking to achieve consistent success at the tables.

Understanding the Kicker in Poker

The concept of a kicker in poker is indeed straightforward once grasped. A poker hand always consists of exactly five cards, neither more nor less. When the core cards that determine the strength of the hand do not add up to five, any additional cards come into play as kickers, potentially tipping the balance in favor of one player over another. These kickers are secondary to the main value cards in the hand.

Players can use their hole cards or the community cards to form their kicker. The critical point is that if several players have identical hands, including all possible kickers, the pot is split equally among them as their hands are of equal strength.

Specific Examples:

Kicker in Poker

  • Example 1: Both players have a pair of the same rank. The winner is decided by the kicker. Player 1 has a higher kicker, a king, and therefore wins.

Kicker Rules in Poker

  • Example 2: Both players hold a pair of 10s and use the community ace as their high kicker. However, Player 1 has a king as the next kicker, which is higher than Player 2’s kicker, so Player 1 wins.

Kicker Cards in Poker

  • Example 3: Both players have a pair of 9s. The top two kickers are community cards and are the same for both players. The third kicker determines the winner. Player 1 wins with a queen as the third kicker.
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Top Pair/Top Kicker (TPTK)

  • Example of TPTK: Holding AJ and the flop comes J-2-3, you have TPTK—a pair of jacks with the ace as the kicker.

Kickers are most significant in hands with a high card or one pair. The strongest starting hand with a kicker is AK, given that if an opponent also holds an ace or a king, your kicker (the other card) will often give you the advantage.


The question of “What is a kicker, and when does it count?” is common among newcomers to Texas Hold’em. The kicker may seem confusing at first, but with the explanations provided above, the concept becomes much clearer.

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