The Poker Hand

Sep 15, 2018

RAY: My wife and I were sitting at the kitchen table the other day, when she notices a deck of cards. It was from the night before, when I was teaching the boys how to play poker -- trying to win back some of the money they keep borrowing from me.

She says, "I'd like to learn how to play poker. Will you teach me?"

So, I say, "Sure." I explain to her the ranking of the hands, how a royal flush is the best hand... going all the way down to the lowly deuce-and the lowest hand one could have, which is no pairs.

I've got all the cards face up on the table and she says, "Let's play a game. You pick five cards and I'll pick five cards, and let's see who has the best hand.

I say, "That's pretty stupid. I'm going to pick a royal flush and you're going to pick a royal flush, and we're going to be tied."

"Let's play this way," she says, "After you pick your cards, and after I pick mine, you can throw away as many cards you want, up to and including five. And you can replace them all or replace any number of them you like. I'll go first, and I'll beat you."

My wife picks five cards... and she beats me!

What hand did she draw?



RAY: Here’s the answer. I think the only hand that guarantees her a winner is to pick four tens.

If she picks four tens, no matter what I pick, she will always wind up with a better hand, because she can get a ten-high straight flush, and the best I can do is a nine-high straight flush - a straight flush beating four of a kind. So, if she picks four tens and I pick four aces, four aces loses to ten, nine, eight, seven, six of, say, hearts, for example.

So, I can go ahead and pick the nine of clubs, the eight of spades, in which case, if I do that then she cannot get a ten-high flush, straight flush, but neither can I. So she wins. 


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