Poker hands are made up of five cards. It’s important to know your poker hand rankings as the person with the highest poker hand wins the game. There are several groups, such as flush, and straight that these poker hand rankings fall into, but at the heart of it, there are 10 main combinations. Here they are in priority order, meaning each hand beats everything below it, but gets beaten by anything above.
Poker Hand Rankings
A royal flush is an ace-high straight flush. That is 10-J-Q-K-A of the same suit.
It is the most coveted hand in poker. Some players will get none in a lifetime, while some will get them every other week! The odds of getting a royal flush is nearly 650,000 to 1 so you will need to be playing a lot of hands to get one.
A straight flush is five suited cards in a row. The best version of this would be 10 through Aces, which as mentioned is, of course, a royal flush. The weakest possible version is ace through five. If two players both have a straight flush, then the player with the higher range wins.
Four of a Kind
Four of a kind is when you have four cards of the same rank e.g. 4 Kings, 4 Aces and so on. Like with most hands, if two players have 4 of a kind, then the one with the higher set wins. If multiple players have 4 of a kind, then the kicker decides. Having four cards of the same suit (suited), does not count as four of a kind!
A full house is when you have a pair and a three of a kind in the same hand. Similarly to all other hands, if two players have a full house, then the player with the highest cards wins. You first look at three of a kind, and if that’s identical, then you look at the pair afterwards. If both players have the exact same hand, then the pot is split. For example with a Q-Q-Q-2-2 and 8-8-8-Q-Q the first person would win. With K-K-K-2-2 against K-K-K-A-A the second person would win as they have the same three of a kind but the Aces pair is higher.
A flush is five cards of the same suit. They do not have to be in any specific order so for example 2-4-7-J-K of Spades counts as a flush. If both players have a flush, then the one with the highest card wins. If both have the same high card, then the 2nd highest cards are compared, then the third, and so on. Unless the flush is composed of the five communal cards, it’s not possible for there to be a split pot in a single deck game of Texas Holdem.
A straight is five cards in a row, off suit. If they were suited, it would be a straight flush and would count as a much better hand! Again, if multiple players have a straight, then the one with the highest card wins. The best possible straight is 10-J-Q-K-A, while the worst would be A-2-3-4-5. An Ace can only act as a high or low card, but not both at the same time. Therefore, while the two previously mentioned hands are valid, Q-K-A-2-3 isn’t.
Three of a Kind
When you have three cards of the same value it counts as a three of a kind. If two players have three of a kind then the one with the higher set wins. If both players have the same value three of a kind, then the high card wins.
Two pair is exactly as it sounds, for example A-A-6-6-J – a pair of aces and a pair of sixes. Like with all other combinations, when two or more players have two pair then initially the highest pair wins. If this is equal then the second pair is compared. If these are equal as well, then the kicker decides the winner.
Two cards of equal rank. If two players have a pair, then as always the highest pair wins. If this is the same for both players, then the highest kicker is compared, then the second highest and if needs be the third highest, to declare the winner.
When you have no combinations, then the best chance of winning you have is by having the highest card. The best high card you can get is an Ace. This is often called a No Pair.
Odds of Poker Hands
Some people can go their whole lives winning at poker by being brilliant at reading others, but this is extremely rare. Instead, most of us have to rely on statistics and probably at least a little bit of luck. So to help you with your first bit of information, and some interesting statistics, here are the odds of getting each type of hand in five card poker variations such as Texas Holdem.
|Four of a Kind||4,164:1|
|Three of a Kind||46.3:1|
Download Poker Hand Rankings
If you’d like to have a reference while you’re learning to play, then feel free to download the image below.