What is Straight in Poker?

Dennis  «Dennis_Stets» 
04 Jun 2024
Poker Basics
04 Jun 2024

A straight poker combination is a set of five consecutive cards, regardless of suit. The highest straight ends with an Ace — 10-J-Q-K-K-A. The lowest one starts with an Ace — A-2-3-4-5 (another name is "wheel"). What else should we know about the combination?

What is a straight in poker — the power of the combination

The straight in poker is the most famous combination, because it is the straight flush (senior poker combination), and in TOP version — royal flush (senior straight flush) mentioned in most of the movies and books about poker.

It is the sixth strongest combination in poker hand ranking after royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house and flush. Straight beats one pair, two pairs and a three of a kind. If you want to know more, check out our full list of poker hands.

If several players are dealt a straight, the player with the highest card wins.

For example, you are dealt J-10. Playing against one opponent, on the last street he calls your bet with 7-6.

Let's say your opponent has a straight four through eight — 4-5-6-7-8. You have 8-9-T-T-J-Q, which is a higher straight, so you win.

If two opponents have identical combinations, the pot is split between them.

How to make a straight combination in poker

As we have already mentioned, a straight consists of five cards of any suit arranged in order. The peculiarity of the combination is that the Ace acts not only as the highest card and completes the combination, but also as a unit at the beginning of the lowest straight poker hands (A-2-3-4-5). It is not an intermediate card for combinations of the format K-A-2-3-4 and so on.

The strength of a combination is determined by its highest card. The highest possible is the straight in poker with the top Ace-high straight (it’s 10-J-Q-K-A) and the lowest is A-2-3-4-5.

The straight combination in poker game is a middle tier. Inferior to the 5 combinations and also dominates the 5 other combinations.

Poker straight happens quite often, especially when bringing the hand to the final round. Due to the fact that the final card may come on the river, not all players try their luck and bring the straight draw to the end, which means that weaker combinations may win.

This mentioning does not call to bring to the end by any means a straight draw, but draws attention to the necessity of studying the chances of making this combination at different stages and the readiness to bring it to the end. So let’s tell the deeper story on this topic separately.

Probability of making a straight in poker

When a player receives a starting hand in Texas Hold’em poker of connector cards (in order), he has a chance of making a straight. The key odds are as follows:

Having connectors in the starting hand will result in a straight already on the flop, about 1 in 275. On the river, the raise is very significant and the situation comes down to 5%, i.e. 1 in 20.

As for the strengthening of the straight draw that appeared at the beginning of the hand, the situation is as follows:

A straight draw can be two-sided, when the cards are in order and the reinforcement to the combination is possible in both directions. In fact, in such a situation there are 8 cards that can strengthen the draw.

Example: The draw consists of 10-J-Q-K, and an Ace and a 9 can bring it to a straight. There are 4 cards of each rank in the deck, so there are 8 cards in total. In mathematical calculation it turns out about 17% of poker straight draws already on the flop. The combination of straight with ace in game of poker has its own name "Broadway".

Gutshot —  hand which is four cards to a straight, where only one rank can complete a straight.

Only 4 cards can help in this position, so the probability is about 9%. Pocket cards play an important role for the completion of gutshot. They can go in order (connectors), then the chances are 9% and out of order (semi-connectors) — the chances are 13%.

The straight in poker game like Holdem loses a lot of perspective when one-suit cards appear on the flop. The combination is weaker than flush — despite the higher mathematical expectation of the first, it should be played more carefully than most of one-suit cards on the board.

Straight in Short Deck Poker

Also called Shortdeck or Hold'em 6+, this game became popular in Asia less than a decade ago and is now featured in many poker rooms and live series. It has only two differences from the usual Texas Hold'em:

  1. There are 36 cards in the deck, from sixes to aces (no 2-3-4-5);
  2. Because of the nature of the deck, flush is higher than full house.

As in Hold'em, the Ace can be the lowest or highest card. The lowest straight poker hands with an Ace in Short Deck Poker is A-6-7-8-9.

A 36-card deck changes the probability of any combinations, so they will be folded much more often.

The combination of straight cards in other types of poker

Modern poker is not only Hold’em or Omaha. There are many varieties and add-ons with exclusive rules. In some of them, the straight combinations acts in a different role:

  • Three-card poker. The straight here is stronger than the flush. If we draw parallels between the probability of both combinations in three-card games, the probabilities are roughly the same as in traditional games, i.e. the flush outweighs the straight. It is not known where this rule came from, but it is a fact that experienced players who play three-card poker professionally often catch beginners by this leak.
  • Double Straight. It occurs only in Russian Poker, where there is an opportunity to buy a sixth card, which, in case of addition to the existing straight makes it double or, as players call it — long.

Varieties of straight

A straight can be collected:

  1. With both pocket cards included;
  2. With one pocket card.

Let's imagine that you have A-7 clubs. On the flop, your opponent has a high trips, but his hand will be overcalled if there is an eight or a three on the table. You have a two-way straight draw.

On the river opened a hearts-eight — the opponent's three of a kind turns out to be lower.

When there’s card on the board:

The one pair of Queens in this hand will split the pot with Kings, although they won only 18% of the time before the flop.

Straight Draws and the chance of collecting a Straight

A straight draw is an unfinished sequence that is one card short of a straight. Let's consider all variants of such a draw:

  1. Gutshot — a straight draw "with a hole", when the desired card is inside the sequence;
  2. Two-sided straight draw — when there is a set of 4 cards in order.

Each of them has a different probabilities. In Omaha, of course, they look different.


As we mentioned before, gutshot is when a card in the middle of the sequence is not enough to make a straight. For example, you are holding J-9 and the flop comes out T-7-3.

In this situation, one of the four eights is missing. In such cases, it is considered that you have 4 outs for a raise.


Probability (Turn)

Probability (River)

Probability (Turn and River)









































As we can see from the table, we can collect our straight before the showdown only in 16.47% of cases (last column). The probability that it will close on one of the bet rounds is just over 8.5%.

One of the main mistakes beginners make is to call big bets in the hope of turning a gutshot into a straight. However, we have already worked out that this will only happen in one of six cases.

A special situation of a gutshot is a double gutshot or double-belly-buster. For example, the board is 8-9-5 and the player is holding J-7:

In this case both the ten and the six will help to complete the combination. Each of these cards has 4 (of different suits), so the double gutshot will have 8 outs for strengthening.

According to the table, this will happen 31.45% of the time by the final hand.

Two-way straight draw

Another common situation for an under called straight draw is to have a sequence of four cards in ascending order.

Let's imagine that you have 9-8 and the dealer showed T-7-3 on the flop. You will have a straight if one of the four sixes or one of the four jacks comes on the turn or river, for a total of 8 outs. In 17% of hands, one of these cards will come on the turn.

Unlike the gutshot, a two-way straight draw is easier to pick up because of the larger number of outs.

However, don't forget that your outs may be in your opponent's hand, which reduces your chances of success. Another danger is that your opponent may have a stronger combination.

The concept of a Nut Straight

A Nut Straight is a variation of five cards of consecutive face value that will be the strongest in the current hand. Of course, if the opponents have even higher ranked cards in their hands (for example, a flush or a full house). 

First of all, the player should determine exactly whether his straight is nuts or not. Let's consider a few options: 

  • Nut Straight with two high cards. The first situation in which a player can be sure that his Straight is the strongest possible in a given hand is when his pocket cards are the two cards that cover the combination (if counted from the lowest). For example, the poker player's starting hand consists of K-Q, the board contains JT9 and any two low denomination cards. In such a case, an Ace-high Straight is not possible, so a King Straight is the nuts combination of that rank in the hand.
  • Nut Straight with one high card. Four consecutive cards on the table represents a very high probability that one of the opponents will also collect a Straight. A nuts combination will occur when a player has the highest card in hand for a given situation. For example, a player has an Ace in his hand and a straight draw from King to Ten on the board. The straight is nuts, as it cannot be higher than from an Ace. The only thing to watch out for is the presence of other Aces in your opponent's hand.
  • A Nut Straight with two middle cards. The situation when the beginning and the end of the Straight appear on the table, but the two middle cards are missing is quite common in poker. For example, J-10-7 and two low denomination cards appear among the common cards. With a starting hand consisting of 9-8, the poker player can evaluate his combination as nuts, since a higher Straight than from a Jack will not be possible in this situation.
  • A Nut Straight with two cards opening the hand. In some situations, a Straight cards can be nuts when the player's pocket cards are the starting cards, i.e. the weakest cards in the combination. Let's imagine that there are A-K-Q and two low denomination cards on the table. With J-10 in hand, the poker player gets a Nut Straight, as other consecutive pocket cards will not make a combination.

Playing a straight in poker correctly

First of all, keep a record of the odds of a particular hand in front of you until you've memorized them. Potentially, every hand could end with a possible straight, but in addition to the chances of not getting one, there is the possibility that your opponent will make a stronger combination. The situation is subject to the following variables:

  1. Position. It is not worth getting into a fight with active bets even with connectors in early position. Middle seats are the domain of experienced players who know how to read their opponents. If the connectors in the hand promise a straight with an ace in poker, it’s worth taking a risk. For beginners, the optimal position for drawing will be the late position;
  2. The tactics of opponents on the straight draw are as follows — aggressive simply respond to bets, passive pull on the call with their bets. Carefully watch the board cards and the probability of getting a Straight cards at the current moment of the hand. The goal is not to inflate the pot to improper size and force your opponents to fold, but to fill it up systematically at their expense and expose the strongest combination;
  3. The situation on the table must be controlled at all times. If there are no cards that allow you to make any strong opposition to the straight, you shouldn't even show your advantage at the table.

Whats a straight in poker — final words

To get a straight, you need to collect five cards of different suits, but following each other in rank. Their suit is not important, and the ace can be the highest or the lowest card. 

The combination is so diverse that it exists in several variants.

A classic possible straight is a set of consecutively arranged cards of different suits. Player who has the highest possible rank becomes the winner. If there is a draw, then according to the poker rules, the pot is divided in half.

Straight hand is a very versatile and interesting combination, which can be played in many ways and techniques. For beginners, it’s important to learn the mathematical part of probability before delving into psychological confrontation and constant bluffing.

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