Poker Hand Rankings

The very first thing you should know before playing poker would be the poker hand rankings. If you do not know what beats what, then you probably will not do very well in a poker game. This is one of the very basics of learning poker. In this game, there are specific hands that will beat other hands, which is how each pot is decided. Of course, the player with the highest hand will win the pot.

The important thing to remember when viewing the following poker hand rankings is the fact that some of the higher hands do not happen very often. It may seem at first, like your goal will be to get a royal flush or a four of a kind. This is not the case, as it is very rare that those hands will occur.

Note: The rankings are based on a five card poker hand.

Hand Rankings from Highest to Lowest

  • Royal Flush – Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten all of the same suit (spades, clubs, hearts or diamonds).
  • Straight Flush – A straight flush is a combination of both a straight and a flush (see straight and flush below).
  • Four of a Kind – Four of the same cards. Flour Aces would be an example of a four of a kind.
  • Full House – A mix of three of the same card and two of the same card. (A combination of a pair and a set). Example: 3 kings and 2 aces.
  • Flush – Five of the same suit (hearts, spades, clubs or diamonds).
  • Straight – Five cards all in sequence of each other. Example: 4,5,6,7,8 (the suit does not matter).
  • Three of a Kind – Three of the same cards. Example 3 Aces.
  • Two Pair – Two kings and two aces would be an example of two pair.
  • One Pair – Two aces would be an example of a pair.
  • High Card – If none of the above hands come into play, the next highest would be the hand with the highest card. An Ace high would be an example.

Obviously there are many different variations of each of the above hands. If there are several players with the same hand ranking (example: two players have a flush), then the player with the higher flush would win. In this case, it is fairly easy to understand. The higher cards will always win in that position. So if one player has a straight flush that is 4,5,6,7,8 and another has a straight flush of 6,7,8,9,10 – then the second player would have a better hand and would win.

In most cases a pair or two pair will win the pot. It is also common to see a lot of straights and flushes along with some three of a kinds. Full houses happen here and there but are not going to be as common as the other hands. Anything higher than a full house is a rare occurrence.

Filed Under: Poker Lessons

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