Poker, a card game of skill, strategy, and chance, is known for its diverse array of hands that players aim to achieve. Each hand carries its own level of significance, influencing the course of the game and determining the winner of the pot.
Whether you’re a seasoned player or a novice looking to enhance your poker knowledge, understanding the hierarchy of poker hands is essential. In this guide, we’ll explore the different hands in poker and their respective rankings.
High Card: The Basic Starting Point
The simplest hand in poker is the high card, where players don’t have any combination of cards that form a pair, straight, flush, or any other recognized hand. In this case, the highest-ranking card in your hand is your defining card.
If two players have the same high card, the second-highest card is considered, and so on. If all cards are of the same rank, the pot is usually split.
One Pair: A Matched Duo
A one pair hand consists of two cards of the same rank, along with three unrelated cards. The value of the pair determines the strength of the hand.
In the case of a tie, the highest non-paired cards (kickers) are used to determine the winner. For instance, a pair of Kings with a 10, 7, and 3 would beat a pair of Jacks with a 9, 8, and 6.
Two Pair: A Double Whammy
A two pair hand features two sets of matching cards of different ranks. The higher-ranking pair takes precedence when determining the winner. If two players have the same two pair, the fifth card (kicker) comes into play.
For example, a hand with Kings and Jacks would beat a hand with Queens and 10s.
Three of a Kind: Triumphant Triples
A three of a kind hand consists of three cards of the same rank, accompanied by two unrelated cards. The higher-ranking three of a kind prevails in the event of a tie, and kickers are used if necessary to break the tie.
Having three Aces is the highest three of a kind possible, followed by three Kings and so on.
Straight: Sequential Success
A straight is a sequence of five consecutive cards, irrespective of their suit. An Ace can act as both the highest card (A, K, Q, J, 10) and the lowest card (A, 2, 3, 4, 5) in a straight. If two players have straights, the highest card in the sequence determines the winner.
Flush: Suited Strength
A flush consists of five cards of the same suit, not in sequence. If two players have flushes, the highest-ranking card determines the winner. If those are the same, the second-highest card is used, and so on. If all five cards are identical in rank, the pot is split.
Full House: A Trio and a Pair
A full house is a combination of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. The ranking of the three-of-a-kind determines the strength of the hand.
In the case of a tie, the pair’s ranking comes into play. A full house with three Aces and two Kings is the highest-ranking full house.
Four of a Kind: Fantastic Fours
A four of a kind hand consists of four cards of the same rank, along with an unrelated fifth card. The ranking of the four matching cards is crucial, as the hand with the higher-ranked four of a kind wins.
If two players have the same four of a kind, the fifth card (kicker) comes into play.
Straight Flush: The Best of Both Worlds
A straight flush is a combination of a straight and a flush, featuring five consecutive cards of the same suit. The highest-ranking card in the straight flush determines the strength of the hand.
A Royal Flush, the highest hand in poker, is an Ace-high straight flush (A, K, Q, J, 10) of the same suit.
Royal Flush: The Ultimate Hand
The Royal Flush is the crème de la crème of poker hands. It consists of the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 of the same suit. Achieving a Royal Flush is exceedingly rare and often leads to a guaranteed win, as it is the highest-ranking hand in the game.
As you embark on your poker journey, mastering the various hands is an essential step towards becoming a skilled player. Whether you’re aiming for a Royal Flush or strategically working with a pair, understanding the hierarchy of poker hands is key to making informed decisions and outwitting your opponents at the poker table.
Playing in-house or play online casino, knowing all of these will give you the edge in your matches.