Kicker definition and meaning

Kicker is a poker term describing a high card in players’ hands that is not included in the winning combination. The card is used to determine the winner in draw poker games.

For example, let’s say the players are playing a round of Texas Hold’em. Now, imagine that the player X holds 7/K, while the player Y holds A/K. The river is 2/4/5/5/K. This means that both the player X and the player Y have two pairs — 5/5 and K/K.

In this situation, the game would end in a draw and the pot would be split accordingly. However, as you can see, player X has two pairs with a 7 as a kicker, while player Y has an ace for a kicker, which means that player Y is in a more favourable position and will win the pot.

Kickers can also be community cards. In our example, neither 2 nor 4 are part of the winning combination, so they can also be used as kickers.

One thing to note is that, if both players have identical hand rank and the same kicker, then the pot would be split.

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