# No point shuffling, just pick your cards

Alice and Bob are playing a card game with the following rules:

1. Alice selects two piles of 3 cards from a standard 52-card deck and places the piles in front of her, face up. Bob can see these cards.
2. Bob takes the deck and selects a 5-card poker hand without showing his cards to Alice. Bob is only allowed to pick a straight or lower (no flush, full house etc.)
3. Alice puts away one of her piles, leaving just 3 cards in front of her.
4. Bob turns over his cards. Alice can use any 2 cards from Bob's hand along with her own 3 cards to make a 5-card poker hand. (Alice's hand is not restricted to straight-or-lower like Bob's.) The player with the better hand wins €1 from the other player. If both have the same hand, nobody wins anything.

Can either player expect to win this game in the long run? What strategy should the players use?

Both A,K,Q,J,10 and 5,4,3,2,A are valid straights in this game (note added since there are some forms of poker where this is not the case).

• Is A2345 considered a valid straight? And if so, is it considered the lowest of all straights? – JS1 Jul 1 at 20:30
• @JS1 Yeah, A2345 is the lowest (5-high) straight. – jafe Jul 1 at 20:47
• @JS1 That said, it's not a completely universal rule (in lowball poker, for example). So I've added a note. – jafe Jul 1 at 20:53