What Is the Wheel in Poker?
In the game of poker, the term “wheel” refers to the best possible low hand that can be made in certain variants of the game, such as Omaha Hi/Lo and Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo. The wheel consists of the five lowest ranking cards starting from Ace to Five. This hand is also commonly known as a “bicycle” or “baby straight” in some poker circles.
The Wheel Hand Explained
To understand the concept of the wheel, it is essential to know the hand rankings in poker. In traditional high hand games, the best possible hand is a Royal Flush (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten of the same suit), followed by a Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, One Pair, and High Card.
However, in low hand games like Omaha Hi/Lo and Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo, the goal is to make the lowest possible hand that doesn’t contain any pairs or straights. In these games, the wheel is the ultimate hand to have. It consists of the A-2-3-4-5 combination, with the Ace being counted as the lowest card.
The wheel hand is particularly valuable in split-pot games like Omaha Hi/Lo, where the pot is divided between the best high hand and the best low hand. If a player manages to make a wheel hand, they have a strong chance of winning at least half of the pot.
FAQs about the Wheel in Poker
1. Can the wheel hand be used in high hand games?
No, the wheel hand is only applicable in low hand variants like Omaha Hi/Lo and Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo.
2. Is the wheel hand considered a straight?
Technically, the wheel hand is not considered a straight because it does not follow the traditional sequence of cards. However, it is often referred to as a “baby straight” due to its similarity to a straight.
3. Can the wheel hand be beaten in low hand games?
No, the wheel hand is the best possible low hand and cannot be beaten in low hand games.
4. Can the wheel hand be used in high-low split games?
Yes, in high-low split games, the wheel hand can be used as both a low hand and a high hand. Players can use it to compete for both the low and high halves of the pot.
5. Can the wheel hand be made with any suit?
Yes, the wheel hand can be made with any suit combination. The suits do not affect the value of the hand.
6. How often does the wheel hand occur in a game of poker?
The occurrence of the wheel hand depends on the variant of poker being played and the number of players involved. In games like Omaha Hi/Lo, it is relatively common to see the wheel hand being made.
7. Can the wheel hand be used in Texas Hold’em?
No, the wheel hand cannot be used in Texas Hold’em as it is a high hand game. However, it is important to note that some variants of Texas Hold’em, like Omaha Hi/Lo, do utilize the wheel hand.
8. Is the wheel hand a winning hand in high hand games?
No, the wheel hand is not a winning hand in high hand games. It is only relevant and valuable in low hand games.
9. Can the wheel hand be beaten by a flush or a straight?
No, the wheel hand cannot be beaten by a flush or a straight in low hand games. It is the lowest possible hand and cannot be surpassed in terms of rank.
In conclusion, the wheel hand is an essential concept in low hand poker variants like Omaha Hi/Lo and Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo. It represents the best possible low hand and can significantly impact the outcome of a split-pot game. While it may not be applicable in high hand games like Texas Hold’em, understanding the wheel hand is crucial for players venturing into low hand poker variants.