Heretic Joker and hand rank

We had a game last night and I had a heretic joker during lowball, taking my hand rank to below 1. I assumed that you could go to rank 0, after applying modifiers, another player assumed it could never go below 1. In the end, we went with rank 0 (it wouldn’t have mattered either way with the hands we all had). So, I checked the rules today and saw that, sure enough, a hand can never go below 1. However, if it would go below 1, it is then considered to be the lowest possible hand with those cards in it. Reading further, I couldn’t actually find anything in the 2T2D updated rulebook which clarified exactly how this has an impact. Yes, it states that each rank has a value from 1 to 13, and it states that if two players have the exact same cards then re-draw a tie. However, it never actually states that someone with a A, 2, 3, 4, and 10 has a higher hand than someone with an A, 2, 3, 4, and 6. We just always assumed that based upon our knowledge of poker in general.

So, my question is, does someone with a K have a better hand than someone with a 6 as their highest card? Am I correct in assuming that when the rules state “lowest possible hand with those cards”, it basically means the player has 6 as their highest card and “lowest possible hand” means they have a K?

As with actual Poker:

The lowest possible hand rank is A, 2, 3, 4, 6 (unsuited of course).
The highest hand rank 1 is K, Q, J, 10, 8.

On the other side, five Kings is a higher hand than five Queens. (Regardless of Cheatin.)

On a Full House three Queens and two 2s beat three Jacks and two Kings. (As you go by the 3 Of a Kind)

In regards to two Flushes the highest card wins. If that’s a tie move to the next highest card for each player. For Example suited 2, 3, J, Q, K beats suited K, Q, 10, 9, 8 (J vs 10).

With 2 Straights, also go by high card. However if you have the same high card, you should have the same other 4 cards. Which means a tie.

In low ball the lowest hand wins. So a 6 high beats a K high.
In shootouts, it’s the opposite.

A hand is only considered a tie if it’s exactly the same. Such as:
9s over 2s (Legality and suits don’t matter.)
5, 6, 7, 8, 9 unsuited. (Or both suited as that’s a Straight Flush.)

In shootouts: if both players reveal Four of a Kind (as an example), the player with the higher hand is considered the winner. Both players would suffer a casualty. The player with the lower hand is the loser and takes his casualty first. The loser also has the first option to stay or go.

In lowball: when two players reveal the same rank the player with the lower version of that rank wins.

To further explain raising and lowering hand ranks:
If you had lowered yourself to rank 1 from a 4 with Heretic Joker you would have that K, Q, J, 10, 8.
Whenever your hand rank drops to a quantified rank (not 0) you have the highest possible hand of that rank.
**As you stated above if you would drop to 0 you have the lowest possible Hand Rank 1.

It is no longer possible have a hand of lower than 1 due to a Heretic Joker. You are considered to have gone to down 1 (unless you were already at 1) , but any excess ranks are remembered in case of future modifiers.**

With the Devil’s Joker (or any effect that raises hand rank.) When you raise your hand rank to a quantified rank (up to 11) you have the lowest hand of that rank. However there is only 1 hand of Rank 11. So raising your Hand above Rank 11 results in the same DMH as raising it to 11.

If effects would raise your hand rank above 11 or below 1, that is remembered for other effects that would modify hand ranks.

Example: A player with Barton reveals a 5 Of a Kind with a Devil’s Joker vs a player with Tommy Hardin who reveals a legal hand and then plays It’s Not What You Know.
5Oak is a 10. Plus 2 from Devils is 12. Plus 1 from Barton is 13. Minus 1 from Tommy is 12. Minus 4 from INWYK is 8. And since the hand rank was lowered last, it would have the highest hand rank 8 of K, K, K, K, Q.

Hope this helps.


I’ll leave the post open for now in case of follow up questions.

Thanks for that. So yeah, someone who went “below 1” through card effects (and so hit the lowest hand at rank 1) would effectively always win lowball unless someone actually had A, 2, 3, 4, 6.

The explanation is a big help. Thanks :slight_smile:

Not quite.

If both players now have hand rank 1, but one was through a modification (ex. Heretic Joker’s -3), the modified hand is considered the “worst” for that format - in lowball this means K, Q, J, 10, 8.

This means Heretic Joker Lowballs are almost always beatable by any other High Card combination - not just A, 2, 3, 4, 6 as you suggest.

Hope that helps?

See this thread for current ruling