To be counterfeited in poker is to lose to a higher hand of the same rank on a later street after having had the best hand on an earlier street. It also generally means that the additional cards on the later streets make counterfeiting "obvious". The term is generally only used when discussing straights and two pairs; people do not generally discuss flushes or trips being counterfeited. The term is most frequently used with community card games like Hold 'em or Omaha.

The most common ways to be counterfeited are:

  • Having two pair on the flop or turn only to have the board pair, giving an opponent who previously had only one pair (usually a single higher pair than either of the two pair which you hold) an automatic two pair - and a higher two pair (or a higher kicker with their same two pair) than you hold. Examples: holding bottom two pair and having the turn and river both come and make a pair; any player holding the original top pair now has two pair, and they are higher than your two pair. Note that a turn which pairs an opponent's kicker, giving them a better two pair, is generally not considered to be counterfeiting your hand - they simply beat you. The same is true of an opponent making a straight while you still hold two pair.
  • Having a straight on the flop or turn only to have the river give an opponent a higher straight.

Note that in order to be counterfeited, the following must be true:

  • The opponent must have had a worse hand on earlier streets but beaten the counterfeited hand on later streets.
  • The opponent must have made an "obvious" better straight or two pair by the board pairing or extending; it cannot be that the board merely pairs an opponent's kicker.

Counterfeited Lows Edit

Another use of the term counterfeited comes in games with a hi-lo split: since the low half of the pot goes to something which is akin to a low straight, it can easily counterfeited (and frequently is), usually by the board pairing one of the low cards of the original leader.

As an example, in an Omaha/8 game, you hold:

Ah 2c 8h 9s

and the board is

5s 6h 8c Ks

Right now, you hold the nut low: the best possible low is your A-2. But if the river brings the deuce of diamonds:

5s 6h 8c Ks 2d

you have now been counterfeited. You have what is sometimes called a "live Ace" for low - that is, the low you can make is the same low that could be made by using four of the board cards and an Ace (even though such a formulation would be illegal in Omaha, this type of hand is still called a live Ace). If someone else can use two cards to make a low of any kind, they can beat you for low. For example, a holder of 3-7 can now show down 7-6-5-3-2 while you only have 8-6-5-2-A. They would win, even though they were "way behind" on the turn.

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