Tournaments
GST Update
Poker Essentials
Resources
cta-spade
Download the Pocket52 App  and start your poker journey today

🔥 Get full buy-in value on all  your deposits

Updated: February 28, 2024
Blog img

Poker Hands

Poker is a game of skill, and knowing your poker hands is the first step to honing your poker edge. To master poker, it’s very important that one must learn the basic poker hand rankings, as this will help you take the lead in the game.

Poker Hand Rankings: From the Strongest to the Weakest

poker hands ranking
poker hands ranking

The ability to determine which poker hand holds the advantage and which one prevails over another is crucial for advancing in poker. Understanding hand rankings is fundamental.

There are 10 hands in poker rankings, which comprise poker sequences, pairs, triplets and cards of a suit. The highest amongst top poker hand rankings is the royal flush and the weakest hand ranking is high card. Let’s understand each poker hand from the strongest to the weakest.

1. Royal Flush

Royal flush is the highest and the strongest ranked poker hand sequence comprising 10-J-Q-K-A of any of the four but same suit. The probability of hitting a royal flush hand is 0.000154% and this is the rarest hand which makes it unbeatable under any circumstance.

Example: (A♦ K♦ Q♦ J♦ 10♦)

What does royal flush beat?

A royal flush in poker remains unbeatable under any circumstance. A royal flush beats all the other hands in poker, which are straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pair, one pair and high card.

2. Straight Flush

Straight flush is the second-highest poker hand, with 9-10-J-Q-K being the highest while the lowest straight flush is A-2-3-4-5. The probability of getting a straight flush is 0.00139%.

Example: (10♠ 9♠ 8♠ 7♠ 6♠)

What does straight flush beat?

A straight flush beats four-of-a-kind, full house, flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, two pair, one pair, and high card. Theoretically, you can only win against a straight flush hand if you have a royal flush.

3. Four of a Kind

A four-of-a-kind poker hand refers to the same card in all four suits. When there is a tie between players, the highest four-of-a-kind wins. The fifth card in this poker hand is referred to as the kicker. In a scenario where community cards reveal a four-of-a-kind, the player with the highest fifth card, also known as the kicker, emerges as the winner.

Example: (K♣ K♦ K♥ K♠ Q♥)

What does four-of-a-kind beat?

A four-of-a-kind beats a full house, flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, two pair, one pair and high card. However, royal flush and straight flush beat a four-of-a-kind.

4. Full House

A full house poker hand consists of three cards of one rank (three of a kind) and two cards of another rank (two pairs). For example, having three Kings and two Fives forms a full house. A full house is one of the strongest hands in poker.

Example: (A♠ A♥ A♣ K♣ K♦)

What does Full House beat?

A full house beats flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, two-pair, one pair and high card. However, a royal flush, four-of-a-kind, and straight flush beat a full house.

5. Flush

Flush poker hand refers to five cards of the same suit in any order. If there is a tie at the poker table, the player with the highest-ranked card wins. If deemed necessary, the second-highest, third-highest, fourth-highest, and the fifth-highest cards can be used to break the tie. However, if all five cards are of the same rank, the pot is split.

Example: (3♦ 5♦ 8♦ j♦ K♦)

What does flush beat?

A flush beats a straight, three of a kind, two pair, one pair and high card. However, royal flush, four of a kind, straight flush, and full house beat a flush.

6. Straight

A straight in a poker game is five cards in sequence, and can be from any of the four suits. With a straight, an Ace can rank as either high (above a King) or low (below a 2).

Example: (5♦ 6♣ 7♦ 8♠ 9♣)

What Does Straight Beat?

A straight beats three of a kind, two pair, one pair and high card. However, royal flush, four of a kind, straight flush, full house, and flush beat a straight.

7. Three of a kind

This poker hand has three cards of the same rank in different suits and two unrelated side cards. But if there is a tie, the highest-ranking three-of-a-kind wins. If players have the same three of a kind, the highest side card, and if required, the second-highest side card wins.

Example: (8♣ 8♦ 8♠ 7♣ k♦)

What does three-of-a-kind beat?

A three of a kind beats two pair, one pair and high card. However, a royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, and straight beat a three of a kind.

8. Two pair

In poker, two pair is a hand consisting of two sets of pairs. Each pair consists of two cards of the same rank. For instance, having a hand with two Eights and two Queens would be counted as two pair. If there is a tie at the poker table, the highest pair wins.

Example: (7♦ 7♠ Q♦ Q♥ 6♣)

What do two pair beat?

A two pair beats one pair and a high card. However a royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, and three of a kind beat a two pair.

9. A Pair

A pair in poker refers to two cards of the same rank in different suits. In case of a tie, the highest pair wins. If players have the same highest pair, the highest second pair wins. But, if both players have two identical pairs, the highest second card wins.

Example: (J♦ J♠ 4♠ 8♦ 10♣)

What does one pair beat?

A pair or one pair can beat a high card and the other pair with a low ranking. However, a royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, and two pair beat one pair.

10. High Card

A high card is the lowest-ranked poker sequence. A high card only wins if you haven’t made any of the above hands. For making a high card sequence, you would have to rely on the highest-ranked card in your hand.

Example: (A♣ 8♥ 7♦ J♦ K♠)

What does high card beat?

A high card can only beat the other high card, which has the lowest number of card ranking in poker hands. However, a royal flush to one pair, all the hands can beat a high card.

Poker hand rankings: What beats what in poker?

Memorising the poker hand ranking is crucial in games like Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Five Card Stud, and various other poker variants. While achieving a royal flush, straight flush, or four of a kind is a rarity in a competition, skillfully playing a modest poker hand can lead to claiming significant pots.

This underlines that success in poker often relies on strategic gameplay and a deep understanding of your opponents, going beyond the sheer strength of the cards you hold.

How to determine the best poker hand?

Best 20 nlh starting hands
Best 20 nlh starting hands

The best hands in poker is usually a topic that is contested by pros, intellects and general people who enjoy this skill game. For all poker hand rankings, there is a set poker sequence. Let’s take a look at the top 10 best starting hands in poker to make the best poker sequence:

Pocket Aces

The combinations of A♠ and A♥ are known as pocket aces. This hand is considered to be the best among the starting poker hands. If you ever get pocket Aces, congratulations, you have the best-starting hands.

Pocket Kings

K♠ and K♣ make this pair and is also known as ‘Ace Magnets’. Every poker player loves this pair and aims to get as many chips in the pot preflop itself since this is a great starting hand.

Pocket Queens

This is considered to be the third-best starting hand. Against Ace-king suited cards, Queens are likely to win 54%.

Pocket Jacks

Pocket Jacks, also known as Fish Hooks, are among the most popular starting hands in poker. In No-limit Texas Hold’em, this is considered the fourth-best starting hand.

Ace-King Suited

Ace-King Suited is also known as Big Slick and is best played in pots when there are multiple players in the game.

Each of these top poker hands serves as premium starting cards, allowing for opening bets from virtually any position.

How many combinations are there in poker?

There are a total of 1326 possible combinations of starting hands in Texas Hold’em. This includes 78 pocket pairs, 312 suited hands, and 936 unpaired, offsuit hands.

After the flop (the first three community cards), there are 19,600 possible combinations. And in a standard deck of 52 cards, there are 2,598,960 possible unique five-card combinations.

What hands should you play preflop?

Preflop refers to the stage before the first three community cards open up. Preflop sets the tone of the game. Understanding which hands to play empowers you to make strategic decisions that fuel your poker journey.

Preflop isn’t a waiting game, it’s a planning session. Knowing your hand strength lays the groundwork for smart bets and cunning raises, propelling you towards victory. In a game of NLHE, the following hands are considered to be the best hands you should play preflop:

Big Pocket Pairs

A potent starting hand in Texas Hold’em involves holding a big pocket pair, comprising two cards of the same rank. The most powerful pocket pair is one pair of aces (AA), trailed by kings (KK), queens (QQ), jacks (JJ), and so forth.

Big pairs hands
Big pairs hands

Big Suited Connectors

Big suited connectors comprises hands that share the same suit and are consecutively connected in rank. Examples of these hands include Ace-King (AK), Ace-Queen (AQ), Ace-Jack (AJ), and King-Queen (KQ).

big suited connector hand
big suited connector hand

Big Connectors

Big-connectors, similar to big-suited connectors, lack a shared suit but maintain a consecutive rank connection. For example: Ace-King (AK), Ace-Queen (AQ), Ace-Jack (AJ), and King-Queen (KQ).

Big connectors
Big connectors

Conclusion

Understanding the poker hand rankings marks the initial step toward evolving into a successful player. Familiarity with the strongest hands not only enhances your chances of winning but also positions you to outplay your opponents, sharpening your overall poker prowess.

FAQs:

1. How are poker hands ranked?

Poker hands are usually ranked based on the combination of cards and their strength. The standard poker hand rankings from highest to lowest are: royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pair, one pair, high card.

Note: These rankings are based on the probability of getting the hands.

2. Which hands should you avoid while playing poker?

In poker, there are a few hands that are generally considered weak and should be avoided while playing poker.

  • 7-2 (Offsuit or Suited),
  • 3-8 (Offsuit or Suited), 2-7 (Offsuit or Suited), 3-7 (Offsuit or Suited)
  • Low Unconnected Cards: 5-4, 6-2, or 9-3 (Offsuit or Suited)
  • Low Gapped Connectors: 9-7 or 6-4 (Offsuit or Suited)
  • Single high cards with Weak Kickers: A-2, K-3, or Q-4 (Offsuit or Suited)
  • Small Pocket Pairs: Pairs like 2-2 or 3-3
  • Suited Hands with Low Cards: 2-5 or 3-6 (Suited)

3. What are poker hands?

A poker hand is usually made up of the finest five cards derived from the combination of two hole cards (the cards that you’re dealt) and five community cards (the cards that opens up on the table). In NLHE, for example, players are dealt 2 hole cards and they have the opportunity to combine these with 5 community cards placed face-up on the table to form the strongest possible hand.

4. What is a poker hand cheat sheet?

A poker hands cheat sheet is a quick reference guide that provides a summary of the different poker hands and their rankings. It typically outlines the hierarchy of hands from the highest to the lowest, making it a handy tool for players to have a look during a game.

5. Poker hands – flush vs straight?

In poker, a flush and a straight are both strong hand combinations, but they differ in how they are formed.

Flush: A flush comprises five cards of the same suit, regardless of their rank. Example: (3♦ 5♦ 8♦ j♦ K♦)

Straight: A straight is five cards in sequence, and can be from any of the four suits. With a straight, an Ace can rank as either high (above a King) or low (below a 2). Example: (5♦ 6♣ 7♦ 8♠ 9♣)

6. What’s the highest suit in poker?

In a standard poker game, all suits are considered equal, and no suit is inherently higher than the others. The four suits – Hearts ♥, Diamonds ♦, Clubs ♣, and Spades ♠ – have no ranking hierarchy in traditional poker hands.

7. What happens if two poker hands are the same?

If two poker hands are the same in rank, it’s a tie, and the pot is typically split equally among the players with the identical hands. This situation is more common in community card games like Texas Hold’em, where players share some of the cards on the board.

Share it with friends