What is a Kicker in Poker? How it works and what to avoid

What is a Kicker in Poker

Kicker in Poker is a card used to determine the winning position when two or more players enter the match with the same hand strength and always gets a lot of attention. If you’re wondering how kickers work in poker as well as what to avoid when encountering kicker cards in Poker, this article of W88 is for you.

How do Kickers Work in Poker?

Kickers come into play when two or more players have similar strength at the end of the hand. The kicker is the highest card in a poker hand that is not part of the hand being made.
For example: We’re playing a version of Texas Hold’em Poker and the board has K♠ T ♥ 8♣ 5 ♥ 2 ♦ cards. Two players enter the card show, one displays K♣ Q♣ and the other displays K ♦ J ♥.

Both players have a pair of kings in this scenario, but the player with K♣ Q♣ wins the pot due to having the stronger kicker. This player has a superior 5-card deck, because K♣ K♠ Q♣ T ♥ 8♣ beats K♣ K ♦ J ♥ T ♥ 8♣.

Kicker in Poker is only important for hands with less than 5 main cards (meaning the strongest hand does not involve all five cards):

  • Four of a Kind (4 used cards, 1 Kicker remaining)
  • Three of a Kind (use 3 cards, remaining 2 Kickers)
  • Two Pairs (4 cards used, 1 Kicker remaining)
  • A pair (2 cards used, 3 Kickers remaining)
  • High card (1 used card, 4 Kicks remaining; technically one could consider this hand to have no “used cards”, but simply 5 Kicks)

The following hands are not related to Kickers:

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

Read more: How to play Poker game

The principle of having Kicker in Poker is really quite simple

Each hand includes exactly 5 cards, no more, no less. If the hand’s “determining base” cards are less than 5 cards, the remaining cards can help swing the game in favor of one player or another, while priority They are of course lower than the “base” leaves.

Just like in the case of cards used to create a hand, players can use both their trump cards or the community card to draw a Kicker. The only thing that matters is that if several players have absolutely identical hands, including all usable Kickers, they are considered equally strong.

Specifically Examples:

Kicker in Poker

Both players have played a hand of One Pair with the same rank, so the winner is determined by the Kicker. As you can see, player 1 has a higher Kicker in Poker than King so he wins this game.

Kicker rules in PokerBoth players have a pair of 10s of the same rank and both use the same community card of the Ace as the high Kicker. However, player 1’s low Kicker is the King, which is higher than what player 2 possesses. Therefore, player 1 wins this game.

Kicker cards in PokerBoth players use a Pair of 9s with the same rank. The highest two Kickers for both players are common cards. Therefore, the third Kicker enters the game to determine the winner, the win belongs to player 1 because he has Queen card.

Top pair/Top Kicker (TPTK) means you have the pair with the highest ranked card, along with the strongest kicker possible. For example, if you have AJ in your hand and the flop is 3-card J-2-3, you have TPTK with a pair of jacks and a kicker as ace.

Kickers appear most often when you have a high card or a pair. However, the best hand you can get with a kicker is AK, because if your opponent has an Ace or King in their hand, you will cause them to lose that hand (approximately 75% chance).


A question I always hear from poker players new to Texas Hold’em is “What is a kicker and when does it count?”. It can be quite a confusing concept at first but once you understand what a kicker is it is actually quite simple after reading through the answers above.

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