Ace Definition

Ace High - Pocket Aces

by Jesse Knight


Ace – A card with a single spot to indicate it’s ranking as either the highest or lowest card in the deck, depending on the situation.

When considered as a high card, the Ace ranks higher than the King. When considered as a low card, it ranks lower than the Deuce (two). The Ace is the most powerful card in poker. It is instrumental in making the highest possible pair, straight, flush, or full house. In a Hold’em game, where one pair often wins, it has enormous power as the top kicker. This is because it will beat all other hands which contain the same pair, but play a lower kicker. If player “A” is holding A♠ J♠ and player “B” is holding K♥ J♥, and the board reads J♣ T♣ 4♦ 3♥ 2♦, player “A” wins the pot because he plays a higher kicker, and therefore has a better five card hand (J♠ J♣ A♠ T♣ 4♦) than player “B” (J♥ J♣ K♥ T♣ 4♦). The Ace also has a lot of drawing power. If you are holding one, and it hits the board, it will often catapult you into the lead. In most Lowball and High-Low Split games, it is often necessary to hold an Ace to make the best low hand. Many, if not most, of the playable starting hands contain at least one Ace.

The word “Ace” has a long history as a gambling term. It is derived from the Latin “As,” which was a coin of small value, and also meant “one unit.” In Old French and Old English it was the term given to the one spot sides of dice. This terminology is used to this day in the game of craps. It was originally equated with bad luck because it was lowest possible roll. It later appeared as the lowest denomination card in the deck, and was depicted by the image of the lone man. During the French Revolution it was elevated to the highest card in the deck, signifying the common man’s victory over the aristocracy. To this day it carries the meaning of the top, or the best.

"Ace high" is a term used to describe the rank of a straight or a flush or it is used in a hand containing an ace, but not pair. In most poker games, if a hand does not contain a pair, or anything of greater value than a pair, its strength can be described by the highest ranking card in the hand. In a Hold’em game, if a player is holding A♠ J♠ and the board reads Q♥ 9♥ 7♦ 4♠ 2♣, that player’s hand would be read as “Ace high.”

Sometimes, you will see two or more players with “Ace high” hands competing for the same pot. In this case it will be necessary to read several cards into each hand until you can determine the winner. Consider a Seven Card Stud Game, where player “A” holds A♠ Q♣ J♥ 9♦ 7♥ 4♣ 2♣, for a best five card hand of A♠ Q♣ J♥ 9♦ 7♥. Player “B” holds A♥ Q♥ T♠ 8♠ 7♣ 6♣ 5♣, for a best five card hand of A♥ Q♥ T♠ 8♠ 7♣. The hand of player “A” would be read as “Ace, Queen, Jack high,” which beats player “B,” whose hand would be read as “Ace, Queen, Ten high.” Sometimes it will be necessary to go all the way to the fifth card to determine a winner. If two or more players have identical five card hands, the hand ends in a tie, and the pot will be split equally.

The term “Ace high” is also used in conjunction with “flush” and “straight” to indicate the strength of a flush or a straight. In a Hold’em game, if a player is holding A♠ J♠ and the board reads Q♠ 9♥ 7♦ 4♠ 2♠, that player’s hand would be read as “Ace high flush.” If a player is holding A♠ J♠ and the board reads Q♣ 9♥ 7♦ K♥ 10♥, that player’s hand would be read as “Ace high straight.”

American Airlines / Pocket Rockets - Nicknames for pocket Aces.

There are nicknames for a lot of poker hands. There is the "Gay Waiter" (Q3 - a queen with a trey), the "Motown" (jack, five), "Presto" (pocket fives), and the "Dolly Parton" (nine, five). For the Holdem hand of pocket aces, it is "Pocket Rockets", "Bullets" and "American Airlines."

No matter what you prefer to call it, it is the most desired starting hand because it has the highest expected value (EV) of any other poker hand. The downside to it is that you aren't going to be dealt the hand very often. The odds of being dealt pocket aces or any other pocket pair for that matter is 220 to 1.

Usage: Ace up Your Sleeve, Ace in the Hole, Pocket Aces

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