Q and A Rules

Approach to handle tie-breakers in Poker

In poker, a tie is a very common situation. When it occurs, usually the pot is split between the multiple winners. But before that, the situation is analyzed for using tie-breaking rules. Learning the different permutations and combinations of these rules can tremendously help you when you face a tie-breaker situation. Learn them and put them to proper use. There can be some time when you may correct the dealer.

Wherever required, a Q and A Rules approach is used below to clarify tie-breakers on situation-basis.


When a pair tie is made, the player with the highest pair takes away the pot. And, when both the players have the same pair, the highest card called ‘kicker’ is sought. And, when the kickers are same, the next highest card is considered. This rule continues until a winner is made or the hands are found to be exactly same. A perfect example is discussed below in a Q and A Rules format.

Q: Who will win if first player has Ace 9 and second player has an Ace Jack? 2278Q are the community cards.

A: The hand is made using best 5 cards. So, here 1st player has 22AQ9 and 2nd player has 22AQJ. The highest card or the 'kicker', is Ace for both hands. The next high card is also same, that is Q. the next high card for player one is 9 and for player two is J. So, the second player wins because J has higher rank than 9.

Two Pair

A tie in Two Pair is decided by the highest of the top pairs. And in case of equal top pair, the comparison is made between the second pair. The kicker is used to break the tie, when the top and second pairs are same.

Q: Player one has 3 and 7, while player two has 4 and K. Two Pair appears as AAQQ3. Who makes the win?

A: When the top pair as well as the 2nd pair is equal, the kicker comes into play. As the second player has a K, the King, which ranks higher than 7, he takes the pot.

Three of a kind

For a tie in three of a kind, the player with the card having higher ranking wins the pot.


A tie in straights is decided with the highest ranking card. And if same rank cards appear, then the pot is split between the winners.


A tie in flush is given to the player with the card of highest ranking. When the highest ranking cards are same, then the next set of highest cards are considered. Like in pairs, the tie continues to either make a winner or splitting the pot when the hands are same.

Q: The first player has 3 spades and K spades, while the second player has 7 spades and J spades. And the board consists of A, 10 and 2 spades. Who makes the winner?

A: After the ace, the king is the highest card, which is held by the first player. So the pot is won by the first player.

Full house

A tie in full house is broken by giving the pot to the hand having higher ranking 3 cards set.

Four of a kind

When a tie appears in a four of a kind, again the higher ranking set wins the pot.

Straight Flush

A tie in Straight Flush is broken by the hand having the highest straight card. The Queen straight flush beats a jack or lower cards. The suit is not used to determine any results at all.

Royal Flush

In Royal Flush, there is no chance of a tie breaker. This happens very rarely, but when it happens, the pot is split between the winners.