Overcards at Poker

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To have overcards is when both of your hole cards are higher than the highest card on the board. A very common hand to have in this case is A-K or A-Q. To say you have overcards could mean you have a straight or a flush draw, but common usage is reserved for the times when you have neither. Instead, you’re hoping to catch a pair higher than your poker opponents are holding. Of course, this could leave you in the position of having false outs, which are cards you believe will give you a winning hand but will actually put you even farther behind. Let’s say, for example, that you have A♣-K, and the flop comes, as shown in this Figure:

This flop forces you to decide how good a hand your opponent has.

One of the most important skills a successful poker player must possess is the ability to put someone on a hand, meaning they are able to analyze the situation and figure out what hand their opponents are most likely to have. In low-limit poker, several players often see the flop, and it is not at all unusual for a player to play K-9 suited or A-9 either suited or unsuited. Should you be up against one of these hands, there are two implications. First, against A-9 unsuited, you will only win around 13.2 percent of the total money over time. Against K9 unsuited, you will be for all intents and purposes just as large an underdog (winning only 14 percent of the money in our simulation) because in both cases you will be shooting for only three cards in the deck instead of six, as your hand is now reverse dominated. To be reverse dominated is to have an opponent who has made a pair on the flop who also holds one of your unpaired cards. In wrestling terms, they have “reversed” your hold in that your dominant hand is now the one dominated. So be aware of players who might have these hands, and look closely to see if you might have a drawing hand to get yourself back in.

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