Poker Hand Rankings

In poker, players construct hands of playing cards according to the predetermined rules, which vary according to which variant of poker is being played. These hands are compared using a poker hand ranking system that is standard across all variants of poker. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins that particular deal in most poker games. If you ever play poker, you need to know which hand wins over another. Therefore, you need to know the ranking of poker hands.

The following are the winning high hands in standard poker games, from highest to lowest. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins. These are standard for all poker sites. Any hand in one category in the list beats any hand in any category below it. For example, any straight flush beats any four of a kind; any flush beats any straight.

Poker Hand Rankings
Royal Flush  poker-hand-royal-flush The highest hand in poker. A royal flush consists of a straight from ten to the ace with all five cards of the same suit.
Straight Flush  poker-hand-straight-flush Five cards in numerical order, all of the same suits.

If tie: Highest rank at the top of the sequence wins.

Four of a Kind  poker-hand-4-of-kind Four cards of the same rank, and one side card.

If tie: Highest four of a kind wins. In community card games where players have the same four of a kind, the highest fifth side card wins.

Full House  poker-hand-full-house Three cards of the same rank, and two cards of a different, matching rank.

If tie: Highest three matching cards wins. In community cards where players have the same three matching cards, the highest value of the two matching cards wins.

Flush  poker-hand-flush Five cards of the same suits.

If tie: The player holding the highest ranked card wins. In necessary, the second, third, fourth, and fifth-highest cards can be used to break the tie.

Straight  poker-hand-straight Five cards of any suit in sequence.

If tie: Highest rank at the top of the sequence wins.

Three of a Kind  poker-hand-3-of-kind Three cards of the same rank, and two unrelated side cards.

If tie: Highest ranking three of a kind wins. In community card games where players have the same three of a kind, the highest side card, and if necessary, the second-highest side card wins.

Two Pairs  poker-hand-2-pairs Two cards of a matching rank, another two cards of a different matching rank, and one side card.

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

One Pair  poker-hand-1-pair Two cards of a matching rank, and three unrelated side cards.

If tie: Highest pair wins. 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  poker-hand-high-card Any hand that does not qualify under a category listed above.

If tie: Highest card wins, and if necessary, the second, third, fourth and fifth-highest card can be used to break the tie.

 

Poker Hand Categories

Royal Flush

An ace-high flush such as is known as a royal flush, and is the highest ranking standard poker hand. There are four possible royal flushes, one of each suit.

Straight Flush

A straight flush is a hand that contains five cards in sequence, all of the same suit, such as . A hand that meets the requirements of both a straight and a flush. Two such hands are compared by their card that is ranked highest. Aces can play high or low in straights and straight flushes. is a 5-high straight flush, also known as a “steel wheel”. is an ace-high straigh flush, also known as a royal flush, the best possible straight flush.

Straight Flush Examples:

Defeats

Ties with 

Four of a Kind

Four of a kind, also known as quads, is a poker hand such as , that contains all four cards of one rank and any other side card. Quads with higher-ranking cards defeat lower-ranking ones. In community-card games such as Texas Hold’em, it is possible for two or more players to obtain the same quad; in this instance, the unmatched card acts as a kicker, so  defeats . If two hands have the same kicker, they tie and the pot is split.

Four of a Kind Examples:

Defeats

Defeats

Full House

A full house, also known as a full boat, is a hand such as , that contains three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank. Between two full houses, the one with the higher-ranking three cards in their hand wins, so  defeats . If two hands have the same three cards, the hand with the higher pair wins, so  defeats . Full houses are described as “three full of pair“;  could be described as “queens full of nines” or simply “queens full”.

Full House Examples:

Defeats

Defeats

Flush

A flush is a poker hand such as , where all five cards are of the same suit, but not in sequence. Two flushes are compared as if they were high card hands; the highest ranking card of each is compared to determine the winner. If both hands have the same highest card, then the second-highest ranking card is compared, and so on until a difference is found. If the two flushes contain the same five ranks of cards, they are tied and split the pot, that is, suits are not used to rank them.

Flush Examples:

Defeats

Defeats

Straight

A straight is a poker hand such as , that contains five cards of sequential rank in at least two different suits. Two straights are ranked by comparing the highest card of each. Two straights with the same high card are of equal value, suits are not used to separate them. Straights are described by their highest card, as in “ten-high straight” or “straight to the ten” for .

A hand such as  is an ace-high straight (also known as “broadway” or “royal straight”), and ranks above a king-high straight such as . The ace may also be played as a low card (having a value of “1”) in a five-high straight such as , which is colloquially known as a “wheel” or Baby Straight. The ace may not “wrap around”, or play both high and low; is not a straight.

Straight Examples:

Defeats

Ties with 

Three of a Kind

Three of a kind, also called trips or a set, is a poker hand such as  that contains three cards of the same rank, plus two cards which are not of this rank nor the same as each other. In Texas Hold’em and other flop games, three of a kind is called a “set” usually when it is composed of a pocket pair and one card of matching rank on the community cards; It is called “trips” usually when it is made by one card that player has in the hole cards with two matching cards on the board.

A higher valued three-of-a-kind defeats a lower valued three-of-a-kind, so  defeats . If two hands contain three of a kind of the same value, the kickers are compared to break the tie, so  defeats .

Three of a Kind Examples:

Defeats

Defeats

Two Pairs

A poker hand such as , that contains two cards of the same rank, plus two cards of another rank, plus any card not of either rank, is called two pairs. To rank two hands both containing two pair, the higher ranking pair of each is first compared, and the higher pair wins. defeats . If both hands have the same top pair, then the second pair of each is compared, such that  defeats . If both hands have the same two pairs, the kicker determines the winner, so  beats .

Two Pairs Examples:

Defeats

Defeats

Defeats

One Pair

One pair is a poker hand such as , that contains two cards of one rank, plus three cards which are not of this rank nor the same as each other. Higher ranking pairs defeat lower ranking pairs; if two hands have the same pair, the non-paired cards (the kickers) are compared in descending order to determine the winner.

One Pair Examples:

Defeats

Defeats

High Card

A high-card or no-pair hand is a poker hand such as , made of any five cards not meeting any of the above requirements. Essentially, no hand is made, and the only thing of any potential meaning in the hand is the highest card. Nevertheless, they sometimes win a pot if the other players fold or even at a showdown. Two high-card hands are ranked by comparing the highest ranking card. If those are equal, then the next highest ranking card from each hand is compared, and so on until a difference is found.

High Card Examples:

Defeats

Defeats

Split Pot

If two or more players reach showdown with a hand that is of equal value, then the pot is split and each remaining player gets the same amount. For example, if Player A has  and Player B is holding  on a board of , then both players have two pairs (aces and eights) with a queen kicker. The  is higher than the , but it doesn’t play, because only the best five-card poker hand counts. It is a split pot.

Split pots often occur in Texas Hold’em, because five of the available seven cards are identical for all players. If the last two cards are of same rank as well, or aren’t required to form the best possible hand, then the pot is split automatically.

Kicker

As already mentioned in some of the previous examples, a kicker determines who wins a showdown if two players have the same hand. It is not a key component in building the hand, but it can decide who wins if two players have similar hands.

A hand consists of five cards, but only a straight, flush, full house and straight flush use all five cards. However, with hands where not all of the cards are required to make the hand, such as three of a kind or two pair, the remaining cards can be decisive.

If Player A has  and Player B has , with the board showing , then Player A wins. Although both players have three queens, Player A’s is decisive.

 

Still confused about the poker hand rankings? Drop a question in the comments below and someone will more than likely to help you out.

15 Responses to “Poker Hand Rankings”

  1. Yes, in Badugi a player must always aim for the lowest badugi
    but remember that a Badugi can be won even without
    a Badugi. Acquiring new AC Las Vegas apparatuses are never economical, however some of the time the completion of days causes another
    system establishment. Many players make a big mistake in a
    sit and go tournament which is they try and frighten their opponents where they can easily take
    the pot down.

    1. Yes, this is possible when 4567A are all in the same suit, then he has a Flush. If your 23456 are not the same suit, then his Flush beats your Straight. If your 23456 are all in the same suit, then you have a Straight Flush, which is higher than a Flush.

    1. 98 would win here. With the given community cards, 98 would form 99933 where as 44 would form 44499. 99933 defeats 44499, see Full House section for more examples.

    1. No. Royal flush is the highest ranking hand in Texas Holdem, nothing beats a royal flush. 4 aces with one side card is a four of a kind, which is ranked below straight flush and royal flush.

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