Poker Hand Rankings

If you are new playing poker, you may wish to bookmark this page to remember the ranking of poker hands.  Also, you may wish to visit our glossary of poker terms and definitions.

Straight Flush: A sequence of all five cards of the same suit (spades ♠, hearts , diamonds , clubs ♣). The best possible straight flush is known as a Royal Flush. Aces can count as either a high card (Royal Flush A-K-Q-J-T) or a low card (Steel Wheel 5-4-3-2-A).

In the event of a tie, the highest card of the sequence wins. For instance, the sequence 8-7-6-5-4 wins over 5-4-3-2-A. The pot is split when suits have the same ranks, such as J♠ T♠ 9♠ 8♠ 7♠ and J♥ T♥ 9♥ 8♥ 7♥, however this scenario cannot happen at Texas Hold'em.
Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same rank.

If two players share the same Four of a Kind, the bigger fifth card (known as the kicker) decides who wins the pot. This scenario may occur only if multiple decks of cards are used in the game.
Full House: Three cards of the same rank and a pair of a different rank.
Our example shows "Twos full of Jacks."

In the event of a tie, the highest three matching cards wins the pot.  If players have the same three matching cards, the highest pair wins.

Example: 3-3-3-4-4 beats 2-2-2-A-A because 3 is higher than 2.
Flush: Five cards of the same suit which are not consecutive.
Our example shows an Ace-high flush, which is the highest possible.

In the event of a tie, the player holding the highest ranked card wins. If necessary, the second-highest, third-highest, fourth-highest, and fifth-highest cards can be used to break the tie. If all five cards are the same ranks, the pot is split. The suit itself is never used to break a tie in poker.

Likewise, the summing the card ranks is never used to deterrmine the winner.  For instance, the flush A♠ K♠ 4♠ 3♠ 2♠ beats A♣ Q♣ J♣ T♣ 9♣ despite having a lower total (36=14+13+4+3+2 and 56=14+12+11+10+9).
Straight: Any five consecutive cards of different suits.

Aces can count as either a high or a low card. Our example shows a five-high straight, which is the lowest possible straight, also known as a Wheel.

In the event of a tie, the highest ranking card at the top of the sequence wins.

Example: 6-5-4-3-2 beats 5-4-3-2-A, because the ace must be low to make the straight, and therefore the highest rancard is 6.
Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank, and two unrelated side cards. Our example shows three-of-a-kind Aces, with a King and a Queen as side cards - the best possible three of a kind.

The highest ranking three of a kind wins, and in the event of a tie, the highest side card, and if necessary, the second-highest side card wins.
Two Pair: Any two cards of the same rank together with another two cards of the same rank. Our example shows the best possible two-pair, Aces and Kings.

If players have the same highest pair, highest second pair wins. If both players have two identical pairs, highest side card wins.

Example: 8-8-3-3-2 beats 8-8-2-2-K because the higher-ranking pairs are equal, and the 3's beat the 2's.
One Pair: Any two cards of the same rank, and three unrelated side cards. Our example shows the best possible one-pair hand.

If players have the same pair, the highest side card wins, and if necessary, the second-highest and third-highest side card can be used to break the tie.
High Card: Any hand not in the above-mentioned hands. Our example shows the best possible high-card hand.

The highest card wins, and if necessary, the second-highest, third-highest, fourth-highest and smallest card can be used to break the tie. Again, summing the ranks is never used.  Although A-K-4-3-2 has a lower sum than A-Q-J-T-9, the King wins over the Queen.

Only 5 Cards

A poker hand always consists of five cards. Even though in some variants you may have more than five cards to choose from, you select the five cards that make the best hand, and for the purpose of comparing hands any other cards are irrelevant.

When playing Texas Hold'em, each player has two private cards and there are five face up shared.  Say you have a King and a Ten and the table shows 3 Aces and Two Kings.  Since no player has a Straight Flush or Four of a Kind, and only 5 cards may be selected, the Full House A-A-A-K-K from the table makes everyone a winner (the pot is split among the player).  Your King which could have made the hypotheticalhand A-A-A-K-K-K is excluded from your hand.  Likewise, say the table shows A-K-Q-Q-T, then the best hand is K-K-Q-Q-A, despite you having a pair of Ten (one Ten from your private cards and one Ten from the cards on the table).

Poker Rules

  1. Players place an initial bet, if required by the game being played, by placing some of their chips into a central common area known as the pot or pool.
  2. The dealer deals cards to the players.
  3. Players look at their own cards, and have the opportunity to increase their bet, placing extra chips into the pot. All other players must then either put in chips to bring their contribution to the pot to at least an equal amount or fold, discarding their cards and abandoning any chips they have so far contributed to the pot.
  4. Players who have not folded are known as active players. When all active players have contributed an equal amount to the pot, that is the end of the betting round. According to the variant being played, further cards may be dealt or players may have an opportunity to exchange some cards, after which there is another betting round, and so on.
  5. When the last betting round has ended there is a showdown: all active players show their cards, and the owner of the best five-card hand takes the contents of the pot. If at any point only one active player remains, that player automatically wins the pot without having to show any cards.

 

 

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