Overcard Definition

Overcards - Over Cards

by Jesse Knight


OverCards in Poker
1. A card of a higher rank than any of the cards on the board.
2. A card of a higher rank than your opponent’s pair.

“Over card” is a term which is frequently used in Texas Hold’em. It can be used to refer to any card which is higher in rank than the highest ranked card on the board, at any given moment. If the highest card on the board happened to be an eight, any card of nine or higher would be considered an over card. If the highest card on the board were a queen, only King and Ace would be considered over cards. If there is an ace on board, no overcards exist. Overcards are frequently referred to as simply “Overs.”

The term “over card” is most commonly used in reference to one or more of a player’s hole cards. Over cards are strategically significant because if you are able to hit a pair with an overcard it will be top pair. Top pair can be a very strong hand in a Hold’em game, especially if you also hold a good kicker. Some looser players may even call a bet on the flop with over cards only, in the hopes that they will pair up on the turn. Occasionally, you will have the correct implied odds to call with over cards only, but most of the time you will not. For this reason, chasing with over cards is usually seen as a poor play and a sign of a weak or inexperienced player.

Sometimes, your opponent may call with overcards, with the intention of bluffing at you on the subsequent betting round, whether the next card helps their hand or not. This play is known as “floating.” Floating can be used effectively in all types and structures of Hold’em games, and in both ring games and tournaments. Floating can be very effective against the right type of player, but it can also be very dangerous, because it requires you to flat call a bet with nothing and to subsequently either bluff bet or bluff raise your opponent. If you are called or played back at, the play can get very expensive. Because the risks associated with floating an opponent are so high, you generally don’t want to try it unless you are confident that you are in a situation where it stands a good chance at success. Your opponent’s style of play can be a great predictor of whether or not they are susceptible to being floated. Players who play extremely tight are vulnerable to being floated, because they are used to making tough laydowns when they face a large bet. Still, you have to be careful floating this type of player; it can be dangerous because they often have a very strong hand when they bet, and they may be inclined to call. Floating works best against players who frequently bet out with draws or lead with weak hands. It is an advanced play usually made by strong players, but you should not go overboard with it. You really need to pick your spots. If you get a reputation for floating too frequently, you opponents will start to beat you by making tough calls or by playing back at you. It is a play that only works well when your bets garner respect.

Depending upon the context, over cards can also refer to one or both hole cards which are higher than an opponent’s made pair. For example, if your opponent held 77, and you held JT, you would have two over cards to your opponent’s pair. Two overs versus a pocket pair preflop is considered to be a “race.” A race is a situation where each player has approximately the same statistical chance at winning the pot, and therefore has roughly equal pot equity. When you are racing, if you pair your over cards on the flop and take the lead in the hand, you will often have a significant advantage over your opponent. Alternatively, if you are still holding over cards to your opponent’s pair after the flop, you have fallen behind in the race, because you have only the turn and the river card left to make your hand with. Sometimes you will not actually start with a racing situation, but will have only one over card to your opponent’s pair rather than two. If you have only one over card, you are often a substantial underdog, and even more so if you still have not paired by the flop. Since over cards are frequently an underdog to paired hands you should be careful not to overplay them.

Usage: Had Two Overs To The Pair, Spiked An Overcard, I Had OverCards

Previous Poker Term: Overcall
Next Poker Term: Overpair


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