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What is Straight in Poker Terminology?

What is Straight in Poker Terminology?

Defining a Straight in Poker

A Straight in poker is a hand consisting of five consecutive cards of any suit, such as 5-6-7-8-9 or 10-J-Q-K-A. It's important to note that the Ace can be either high or low in a Straight, but not both at the same time. For example, A-2-3-4-5 is a valid Straight (also known as the "wheel" or "bicycle"), but Q-K-A-2-3 is not.

Straights are ranked according to the highest card in the hand. For instance, a Straight with a high card of 10 (7-8-9-10-J) is ranked higher than a Straight with a high card of 9 (6-7-8-9-10). If two players have the same Straight, the pot is split between them, as there is no suit ranking in poker.

Examples of Straight Hands in Poker

To better understand the concept of a Straight, here are some examples of Straight hands in poker:

  1. A-2-3-4-5: This is the lowest possible Straight, also known as the "wheel" or "bicycle." It is important to remember that the Ace is considered a low card in this specific hand.
  2. 5-6-7-8-9: This is a mid-range Straight hand, with no high cards or low cards.
  3. 10-J-Q-K-A: This is the highest possible Straight, also known as the "Broadway." The Ace is considered a high card in this hand.

As you can see, Straights can be formed with a variety of card combinations, making them a versatile and powerful hand in poker.

The Probability of Getting a Straight

In terms of probability, a Straight is a relatively rare hand in poker. The odds of being dealt a Straight in Texas Hold'em are approximately 0.39%, which translates to 1 in 255 hands. In comparison, the odds of being dealt a pair are 42.3% (1 in 2.36 hands), and the odds of being dealt a flush are 0.197% (1 in 508 hands). This rarity makes the Straight a valuable hand that can often lead to significant winnings.

It's important to consider that these probabilities are for being dealt a Straight in the initial hole cards. The odds of making a Straight by the river in a game of Texas Hold'em are considerably higher – around 10.6%. This is because as the community cards are revealed, there are more opportunities to complete a Straight.

Comparing a Straight to Other Poker Hands

In the poker hand ranking system, a Straight is considered a strong hand, but not the strongest. It ranks above three-of-a-kind, two pair, one pair, and high card, but below a flush, full house, four-of-a-kind, straight flush, and royal flush. When comparing a Straight to other poker hands, it's essential to understand the relative strength of each hand to make informed decisions during gameplay.

A Straight can be a powerful hand, especially if your opponents are not aware that you have it. However, it's crucial to be aware of the potential for higher-ranking hands, such as flushes or full houses, to ensure you don't overvalue your Straight and lose a significant portion of your stack.

How to Play a Straight in Various Poker Games

The way you play a Straight will depend on the specific poker game you are playing. Here, we will discuss how to play a Straight in some common poker games, including Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and Seven Card Stud.

Texas Hold'em

In Texas Hold'em, a Straight can be a powerful hand, as it is often well-disguised and can take down large pots. When playing a Straight in Texas Hold'em, it's crucial to carefully consider your opponents' potential hands, as well as the board texture. If the board shows possible flush or full house combinations, it may be wise to proceed cautiously, even if you hold a strong Straight.


In Omaha, Straights are more common than in Texas Hold'em, as players have nine cards (four hole cards and five community cards) to make their best five-card hand. As a result, the value of a Straight may be slightly diminished in Omaha, and it's essential to consider the possibility of higher-ranking hands, such as full houses or flushes. Additionally, the presence of multiple draws on the board can make it challenging to determine the strength of your Straight, as your opponents may be holding stronger hands or draws.

Seven Card Stud

In Seven Card Stud, Straights can be valuable, as they are less common than in community card games like Texas Hold'em or Omaha. When playing a Straight in Seven Card Stud, it's essential to pay attention to the upcards of your opponents, as well as the cards that have been folded. This information can help you determine the strength of your Straight and make informed decisions about whether to continue betting or fold.

Common Misconceptions about Straights in Poker

There are several misconceptions about Straights in poker that can lead to costly mistakes at the table. Some of the most common misconceptions include:

  1. Overvaluing a Straight: While a Straight is a strong hand, it's crucial not to overvalue it in the face of potential higher-ranking hands, such as flushes or full houses. Overvaluing a Straight can lead to significant losses, especially in situations where the board texture suggests the possibility of stronger hands.
  2. Assuming a Straight is unbeatable: Some players mistakenly believe that a Straight is an unbeatable hand, disregarding the risk of higher-ranking hands. This misconception can lead to reckless betting and significant losses at the table.
  3. Ignoring the strength of your opponents' hands: When holding a Straight, it's essential to consider the strength of your opponents' hands, as well as the board texture. Failing to do so can result in costly mistakes and lost pots.

Famous Straight Hands in Poker History

Throughout poker history, there have been several famous Straight hands that showcase the power and excitement of this hand. Some notable examples include:

  1. Chris Moneymaker's 2003 WSOP Main Event win: Chris Moneymaker's victory in the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event is one of the most famous poker moments in history. In the final hand, Moneymaker held a 5-high Straight on the river against Sammy Farha's top pair, ultimately winning the championship and sparking the "poker boom" of the early 2000s.
  2. Doyle Brunson's back-to-back WSOP Main Event wins: Poker legend Doyle Brunson won the WSOP Main Event in 1976 and 1977 with the same hand – a 10-high Straight. This hand, 10-2, is now known as the "Doyle Brunson hand" in his honor.

Conclusion: Understanding the Importance of a Straight in Poker Strategy

A Straight is a powerful and versatile hand in poker, capable of taking down large pots and defeating a wide range of other hands. By understanding what is Straight in poker terminology, recognizing the probability of getting a Straight, comparing it to other poker hands, and learning how to play a Straight in various poker games, you can improve your overall poker strategy and increase your chances of success at the table.

Remember to be mindful of common misconceptions about Straights and always consider the strength of your opponents' hands and the board texture when playing your Straight. With practice and experience, you can master the art of playing a Straight and elevate your poker game to new heights.