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Bob had a straight to the 8 and Alice had a straight the 8, Bob had a 4 & Queen, Alice had a 8 & Jack. Who wins?

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Assuming you mean in Texas Hold'em (which you should probably state), then they tie. In Texas Hold'em, you make your best five-card hand out of the seven cards you have available to you. It sounds like from your description that Alice was holding

8 J

and that Bob was holding

4 Q

which would mean that the board had to have on it (since both of them had a straight to the 8)

4 5 6 7 8

which means that the best possible five-card hand that both players could have (in fact, that any player could have*) are the five cards on the board. As such, all players tie.

Essentially, the J/Q in that they are holding aren't even part of their hands when it come to determining the winner, and so are irrelevant.

Edit: * Well, that's not completely true. If another player were holding a 9, or a 9 10, then they would have a straight that was 9 or 10 high, which would obviously beat an 8-high straight.

  • Surely if you had a 9 (and 10) you would win the hand? But +1 for a clear answer. – Tim Lymington supports Monica Nov 16 '14 at 13:03
  • Well, yes. But that isn't really part of the situation that he described. – Simon Rose Nov 16 '14 at 13:29
  • @SimonRose I think Tim was referring to what you said about the best hand anyone could have. – Cascabel Nov 16 '14 at 18:25
  • Fair enough, I should probably clarify that. I was mostly assuming that the two players had the best hands, but I can see how that's not really clear. – Simon Rose Nov 16 '14 at 18:32
  • Actually we don't have enough info to know what the nuts are (assuming another player to have it), as we don't know suits or the fifth card on the table; there could be flush or possibly even full house/quad possibilites. – Michael Nov 16 '14 at 20:04

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