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Poker Hand Rankings Explained

By Charles S
Published in Poker School
May 03, 2020
3 min read

Poker Hand Rankings: A guide to understanding poker hands

Whether you’re playing Texas Hold’em Poker or Pot Limit Omaha, the same hand rules apply. To be a successful poker player you need to be familiar with the strength of your hand. Does a three of a kind beat a straight? Is a full house stronger than a flush? In this poker guide we will rank the different hands from the strongest to the weakest.

royal flush Royal Flush: A royal flush is a straight flush in which the Ace is the highest of five cards.

straight flush Straight Flush: A straight flush is a straight with all cards having the same suit. If in the case there are two straight flushes during one hand, the straight flush with the highest card will be the winner. If both players have the same high card, the pot will be split.

four of a kind Four-of-a-kind: A four of a kind is often referred to as “quads.” Four of a Kinds are also subject to the card ranks. Four Aces will beat four Kings followed by Four Queens all the way down to Four twos.

full house Full House: A full house consists of three of a kind and a pair. The full house in the example above is referred to as “Jacks full of threes.” If there are two full houses during one round, the one with the highest three of a kind wins. In Texas Holdem Poker, two players can have the same three of a kind and if that is the case, the player with the highest pair is the winner. If two players have the same full house, the pot is split.

flush Flush: A flush consists of five cards of the same suit. If two players have flushes during one round, the flush with the highest card wins. If the highest card is of the same rank, it goes to the next highest card, and so on down to the fifth card if necessary. If the two hands are identical, the pot will be split.

straight Straight: A straight consists of five cards of any suit that are in order. Similar to all other hands, in the event there is more than one straight in a round, the straight that starts on the highest card will win. Aces can be used as a high card above a king or as a low card below a two to make a straight. An Ace cannot be used to connect a King and a Two and an Ace below a two cannot be used as a high card.

three of a kind Three-of-a-kind: The common term for a three of a kind is “set” or “trips”. In this case, Three Aces will be the strongest set, followed by three Kings, and so on all the way down to three Twos. If in the case there is more than one player with the same set, the player with the highest kicker will win the hand. (A kicker is the highest unpaired card in a hand)

two pairs Two Pairs: Don’t confuse Two Pairs with Pair Twos. Two pairs consists of two cards of the same rank plus two more cards of the same rank. If two players are holding two pairs in the same round, the highest pair wins. If both high pairs are identical, then the higher second pair wins. In some cases, both pairs are identical and if this happens, the player with highest kicker wins.

one pair One pair: To make a one pair means having two cards of the same rank in your five-card poker hand, with three other cards being unpaired. Once again, if two or more players have the same pair, the player with the highest kicker will be the winner.

high card High Card: If no player has a hand containing at least one pair, the hand with the highest card is the winner. An “Ace-high” hand would beat a “King-high” hand, and so on.

New to playing poker online? Check out some of our other poker guides and tips to improve your game.

Related: Beginners Guide: How To Play Poker

Related: Poker Terms Explained

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