Being outkicked hurts. When you go all in on a hand, only to find that somebody beat you because they had a higher kicker? That bites. You have to make sure that you’re watching out for this type of thing at all costs. You have to make sure that you watch out because it’s very easy to get sucked in. You’ve studied the flop, you’ve studied player image, but you haven’t realized that there was a possibility of being outkicked.
The simple definition of kicker is that it’s a card used in poker to decide ties. If two players have a pair of aces, who wins is determined by who has the highest unpaired card. So if you have AK and the other player has AT, you win. The king card is the kicker.
Remember that poker is about making the best five-card poker hand from the cards on the board and the hole cards that you have. That’s going to be the ultimate winner. The kicker determines ties, sure, but you have to still make sure that you are aware of what’s being played.
Yet if the board is A-K-6-5-4, then you win because the A-8 outkicks the player with the A-7. Your best hand is A-A-K-8-6, while your opponents is A-A-K-7-6. It’s a thin little difference, but many massive wins were won on these tiny little differences.
The flush is handled the same way. Whoever makes the best flush wins. This means that if you have the higher flush card in the hole, you’re going to win. This is also why you need to fold flushes that are based on low hole cards — you will be beaten by higher cards. It’s better to fold and be wrong than waste chips chasing a low flush when someone probably has a better flush. Paying attention to betting patterns really does make all of the difference in this case.
Now that you understand kickers, you can really play your best poker. Play some hands today!