To play a poker game and win the pot, learn and understand the different poker hands available. Whether you are playing for fun in a cardroom, in a live betting casino like Texas Hold ’em, or in a poker game with unique rules, in the end, your poker hand ranking will determine if you will take home the pot or not. That is where this guideline comes in – it explains poker hand rankings, what beats what in poker, strategies for winning in poker, and answers to common questions about poker hands. 

With a few minutes spared to memorize the poker hands ranking, you will be able to have control over your poker games and hone your skills as a player. This isn’t only targeted at beginners but also serves as a reminder to professionals. Let us start with a list of poker hands ranked from the highest to the lowest before proceeding to other sections. 

What is a Royal Flush?

A – K – Q – J – 10

The Royal flush is the first on the list of the highest poker hands. The best straight flush could earn you the pot above any other hands. It is also called the ace-high straight flush. A royal flush is a combination of the first order of cards – the ace, king, Queen, Jack, and the Ten in the same suit. More like an A – K – Q – J – 10. The cards have to be either all of hearts, spades, diamonds, or clubs and not a combination of any to make the hand. 

However, the odds of getting a royal flush are low. In the chances of 2,598,960 poker hands, you can only have one strike of it on average. The possibility of two players getting a royal flush is almost impossible, but in cases where there are, it will end in a tie. 

If you are fortunate and skillful to have this, you are above any other poker hands your opponents might have. 

What beats a royal flush?

The Royal flush is top on the poker hands ranking, but it can be defeated in a game with wild cards. In a game of poker with wild cards, a hand of five is above the royal flush in the poker hand ranking. But in a normal poker game, the Royal flush is the highest.

What is a Straight Flush?

9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 in hearts, 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 in spades

A straight flush is a combination of five same suit cards in consecutive order. It can be in the form of 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 in hearts, 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 in spades, or any poker hand similar. A straight flush is the second in poker hand ranking. The Royal flush is also an example of a straight flush, but it has a poker hand ranking that is above others.

 However, winning with a straight flush depends on the ranking of the cards held. If your hands are filled with 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – A, you shouldn’t think you are the same with a 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3, even with a different suit of cards. The community card rankings have a great effect on winning the pot. There are 40 different Straight Flush poker hands you can have, and the odds of getting any of them is one chance in 72193 poker hands. The odds decrease in order to rank the cards.

What beats a straight flush?

A straight flush can be beaten off by itself if there is another player with a more poker hand ranked set of cards. Common straight flushes can also be beaten by a royal flush, a type of straight flush. 

What is Four of a kind?

J (Diamonds) – J (spades) – J (hearts) – J (clubs) – 7

A Four of kind is simply having four cards of the same value in a hand. The cards will be of different suits rather than of a single form. For instance, if you have a collection of cards of J (Diamonds) – J (spades) – J (hearts) – J (clubs) – 7 ( of any other suit), you just have four of a kind. It is also called a quad. If another player has community cards forming quads, too, the rank of the cards will determine who is winning the pot. The orders are in the form of A – K – Q – J – 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2, and your four of a kind will be judged related to the order. 

The odds of having four of a kind is high, and many poker players present them more often as their poker hands. The stat is around 1 four of a kind in 4165 poker hands which is closer to reality than the previously mentioned poker hands. 

What beats a four of a kind?  

A royal flush and a straight flush will beat a four of a kind. A straight flush of the lowest order is higher than any four of a kind. This is because of the odds of getting them. 

What is a Full House?

A – A – A – 9 – 9

A full house is slightly different from a four in a hand. It is a poker hand that contains three cards of the same value with different suits and two other cards of different suits. It is the form of A – A – A – 9 – 9. If two players have full houses in a poker game, the poker hands ranking is based on the set of cards in each full house. 

The rank of the cards present defines the name given to the poker hands in this category. For instance, 7 – 7 – 7 – 2 – 2 is called “sevens full of twos.” Get along with the common jargon in the poker room. 

There are 3744 different full houses you can get in your poker games, but the odds of getting any is 1 chance in 694 poker hands on average. The possibilities might be more occurring for you, but that is the statistical odds. 

What beats a full house?

A Four of a kind, straight flush, and a royal flush have more poker hands ranking than a full house. Aside from these, a full house can only be beaten by a full house with a higher poker card ranking. 

What is a Flush?

Poker Hands

A flush is a combination of poker cards of the same suit with differing poker rankings. It is different from a straight flush because the poker cards present aren’t in consecutive order. It will be in the form of K – 8 – 5 – 2 – A, where the rankings are arranged but not consecutive. A royal flush isn’t regarded as a type of flush or a flush because it has differing qualities. A flush is one of the common poker hands beginners can quickly optimize in their first games before upgrading to other poker hands. A flush is not ranked based on any different type of suit – all suits are equal. 

When two players have a general flush of poker hands, the value of the highest card in each set determines the winner. Sometimes, the winner is determined by the combination of all the cards available in the hand, but the judging depends on the preexisting rules of the poker game. In 509 poker hands, there is a possibility of having a flush on average. The odds are 0.1965% which is higher than the poker mentioned above hands. 

What beats a flush?

A flush is easy to be beaten. If the players don’t experience a flush flop, the Royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, and a full house have more poker ranking and can beat an ordinary flush. Even the weakest of a full house, 2 – 2 – 2 – A – A, can beat a K – J – 9 – 6 – 5 to a poker pot. 

What is a Straight?

A straight is a collection of consecutive cards which are not the same in suit. It is different from a straight flush with a variety of suits available. It comes in the form of 9 (hearts) – 8 (diamonds) – 7 (spades) – 6 (club) – 5 (diamonds). You can even have a straight in the form of A – K – Q – J – 10, which could have been called a royal flush. But the only difference is that the suits are not the same. The six poker hands ranked and the lack of difficulty in trying to make it like a straight flush or a royal flush makes it easier to have a poker hand. If two players have straight poker heads, the card ranking is put into consideration. 

There are ten distinct collections of straight poker hands you can get, and the odds of getting any is 0.3925%. In 100 poker hands, you will have 39 possibilities of having a straight. 

What beats a straight? 

As the ranking of poker hands goes down, hands are more susceptible to being beaten by other hands. In fact, players are urged to have poker hands greater in the ranking than a straight. A flush, four of a kind, full house, royal flush, straight flush can beat a straight poker hand in games. 

What is a Three of a kind?

A three of a kind contains three poker cards of the same value. It can be in the form of 7 (diamonds) – 7 (spades) – 7 (hearts), and two other different cards. The value of suits of the remaining two doesn’t matter to the collection unless they make it fall into another group, like a full house. The only difference is that the other cards don’t have the same card value. A three of a kind is vastly different from a four in a kind in ranking because there are a flush, a straight, and a full house between them on the poker hands ranking. If two players have the three of a kind as their poker hands, the value of the three cards will be considered to judge the winner. In the case where the three cards are the same, the remaining two cards become the determining factor. 

The odds of getting a three of a kind is 2.1128%, which means in 43 poker hands, there is a Three of a kind poker hand on average. However, the probability of winning the pot with a three of a kind is low compared to others. 

What beats a Three of a kind?

A straight, flush, full house, royal flush, straight flush, and four of a kind can beat a three of a kind in a poker game. This makes players dependent on it very vulnerable to a loss. 

What is a Two pair?

A two pair poker hand is low compared to many of the best poker hands in securing the pot in a poker game. If you try to follow up as in three in a kind and four in a kind, you might try to guess that two pairs are simply two matching cards of different suits in a hand. It isn’t. 

A two pair is a collection of two pairs of the same value of cards in a hand. It is in the form of 3 – 3 – 2 – 2 – A. There are two cases of matching values in the set. The suit type isn’t a determinant to consider a hand two pair. If there are two players with two pairs in a poker game, the card ranking of the first pair determines who wins. The probability of having two pairs in a poker game is 1 in 20.005 poker hands. This sets the odds to be around 4. 75% on average. A two pair is less preferred, but it still has an assurance of winning the poker pot in the absence of more ranked poker hands. 

What beats a Two pair?

A two pair is only desirable if you don’t have any other options because it can be beaten by a three of a kind, four of a kind, straight, flush, straight flush, royal flush, and a full house. In a game of wildcards, a five of a kind beats it too. 

What is a One pair beat?

More similar to the two pair poker hand, a one pair hand is a collection of cards that contain a pair of cards with the same value in a hand. It is in the form of 2 – 2 – Q – A – 7, where the remaining three cards don’t belong to the same suit or have similar consecutive rankings to the pair. Any distortion in rank or suit of cards can render the poker hand a full house, a flush, or even a three of a kind. 

During your poker games, you can have up to 2860 different pairs. The possibility of getting one pair is having one in 1.4 times. This makes the odds of one pair to be around 42.3% on average for players. 

Since it is less effective in winning a pot, many poker players prefer to try to assemble one of the best poker hands at any chance they have. This doesn’t, however, make it worthless. If your fellow poker players have hands that don’t fall in the hands mentioned earlier, they are definitely either one pair or less. If two players are on a draw of pot with one pair, the card ranking comes to play. 

What beats One pair? 

A one pair poker hand is weak and can be beaten by two pairs, full house, three of a kind, four of a kind, straight, flush, straight flush, and a royal flush. 

What is a High card?

In contrast to the “high” in the name, a high card is the lowest possible poker hand you can have. It is simply a hand that doesn’t fall into any category mentioned above. It is not a flush nor a straight and has no pairs. It is in the form of 2 (diamonds) – Q (hearts) – 7 (diamonds) – 4 (spades) – 9 (clubs).  A high card is also called a no pair poker hand. 

It is like a collection of disorganized cards that fell out of the conditions to belong in any group. The probability of having a high card is 50.1%. In 2 poker hands, you are bound to have it in 1 poker hand. However, it doesn’t always stay for long with players. They try as hard to make sure they get poker hands with more credibility. If all the players in a poker game have a high card – which is rare on average – the card with the highest ranking will be drawn out and compared with others. 

What beats a High card beat?

If the round ends and your hand is filled with cards that have high numbers. You can only have an advantage if your opponent has the same card as you or higher. When you are even with your opponents, the player who has the highest card wins.

Winning Poker Hands

The lowest possible holding that is feasible to players in the poker game is the first up. A hand that can still win you the pot, but with a decrease in chance when the pot involves multiple players. This has to do with high cards, though, where you do not have to hold a pair but are instead required to use the highest card among the five cards you are playing.

  •   For example:

You have {q-Hearts}{9-Spades}, and the board has come {6-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}.

Your best five-card hand would be {q-Hearts}{9-Spades}{8-Diamonds}{7-hearts}{6-Clubs}, where the queen is the highest card and would, therefore, be held high.

  • Another holding guaranteed to win you pot is one of Texas’s common hands – One pair.

  For one pair, a good example is you having: {a-Spades}{k-Spades} and the board, {a-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}{4-Spades}{3-Hearts}{2-Clubs}. Your five-card hand would be {k-Spades}{8-clubs}{4-spades}{3-hearts}{2-Clubs}, which makes you have a pair of aces, which in turn is a good poker hand.

Strategy for winning in poker

You can make use of the following strategies to increase your chances of winning poker. 

Step 1: Play Hands And Play Them Well

Developing a strong pre-flop poker plan is the easiest and quickest way to improve your bottom line. However, in the process of making a strong pre-flop, it is known that the ranges are easy to do to some extent. This may be feasible by downloading a pre free flop chart, but the consistency is hard for most poker players. On the last note, always make sure you are patient and play the hand that is worth playing. Be reserved and play a hand only worth playing.

Step 2: Don’t Be The First To Limp

Limping should be a process you avoid and if at all it is necessary, make sure you are not the first player to pimp. This is because you can’t win the pot if you flop first while playing the game. Also, if you pimp, you will give other players more attractive odds, which means they are more likely to win big while your odds of winning drop with great probability.

Step 3: It is Better to Fold

Few players know how to fold, while most players are always playing to the end. Folding is a simple strategy, but it is one of the hardest things to do when playing poker. Everybody wants to win, but we have to understand that we need to make peace with our curiosity at some moments. When players fold in poker, they ruin all possibilities to win, but there is always another to try and even win bigger.

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Poker Hand Rankings FAQ

What is the best hand in Poker?

The Royal Flush is widely known to be the ultimate best hand, which also doubles as the rarest and strongest hand in poker. The Royal Flush consists of Ace(A), King(K), Queen(Q), Jack(J), and Ten(10), which must all be in the same suit. For example:  Ah, Kh, Qh, Jh and Th, would make a Royal Flush hand, and stand unbeaten by any other possible combination.

What kind of hands play in poker?

Factors like your position, your stack and also, your action at the table, and most importantly, the kind of game you play, determines the type of hands you should play in a poker game.

Can three pairs be made?

Yes, but, you can only use a total of five cards to make a poker hand. 

 What is the highest suit in poker?

All suits in poker are equivalent value-wise. In certain games, however, different suits can be given dissimilar values. In a case where different suits are given different values, the value in ascending order, starts with Clubs, then Diamonds, and thereafter, Hearts and lastly, Spades, which makes Spades the highest suit.

 How many poker hands are there?

In a game of poker, the total number of poker hands equals 2,598,960.