Poker is a popular game all over the world. It’s fun to play whether you are gaming with friends, for a professional competition or online. In poker, a hand is a set of five cards that a player holds. Each hand is compared to the others participating in the game to determine who wins the pot.
The first step to winning in poker is to understand hand rankings. Knowing the best poker hands will help you develop your strategy, beat your friends and win more. The poker-hand rankings provide the different classes of strengths you can achieve while playing and help in decision-making.
Here are the 10 poker hand rankings listed from the strongest to the weakest.
1) Royal Flush
A royal flush hand is the rarest, thus the most sought-after and valuable to get in a poker game. It’s also referred to as ace-high straight flush and comprises a king, queen, jack, ace and 10 in the same suit.
Royal flush is hard to beat due to its rarity. It’s unlikely that a player will achieve this hand. Players with this hand often place high wagers since their chances of winning are high and they could potentially rake high returns.
2) Straight Flush
A straight flush consists of any five consecutive cards. It occurs when all the cards in your hand follow the same suit. Unlike a royal flush which must start with a 10 and end with an Ace, a straight flush has five same-suit cards. Only a former can beat a straight flush.
The strongest in the hand is 9-10-J-Q-K, and the lowest is A-2-3-4-5. In the case of two players with straight flushes, the highest hand wins.
The four-of-a-kind, or Quads, is the third-highest hand in poker. It happens when a player holds four cards of the same rank. When two players hold four-of-a-kind, the hand with the highest set of cards wins. If they have similar four-of-a-kind on the board, the highest fifth (kicker) value wins.
You are likely to get a four-of-a-kind game once in 4164 out of 624 combinations. Four aces lead in the hand while four 2s make the least score.
4) Full House
Full House is the fourth hand in poker. It occurs when there are first three numbers in one rank and the remaining two from another rank. For example, a player may have a combination of threes and sixes only.
For a tie, consider the value of the triplets first then the value of the twin numbers. Full House rank is also called Full Boat. The highest-ranked Full House consists of three aces and two kings while three 2’s and two 3’s are the least.
Flush occurs when there are five cards from the same suit without necessarily forming a straight. If several players have a flush, the strongest combination wins. In case the highest card is in the same rank, the next one wins. The pots are split if there are two identical hands. The odds of a Flush are 1 in 1508 for 36 combinations.
A combination of five consecutive cards in a rank makes a Straight. The value of the top number determines the strength of a Straight. For two Straight, the one with the highest value wins. The highest ranking Straight comprises K, Q, J, 10, and 9, while the lowest is 5, 4, 3, 2 and Ace.
Ace can be used as a high or a low card depending on the position. It cannot connect a king and a two or act as a high card below a two. Only a Royal Flush can beat a straight.
7) Three of a Kind
The common terms for Three of a Kind are ‘trips,’ or ‘Set.’ It ranks seventh in the order and occurs when there are three cards in the same rank.
The highest Three of a Kind wins but when two players have a tie, the side cards will determine the winner. The highest Three of a Kind is three Aces, while the lowest has three 2s. Its probability is 1 in 46.
8) Two Pair
The Two Pair hand has two cards from the same rank, two from another and the other card from a different rank. The player with the highest pair is the winner. If the players have identical pairs, the highest kicker wins. The best scenario is for two Kings and two Acers to pair poker hands. Two pairs is an easy hand to make with a one in 20 odds.
9) One Pair
You get a One Pair hand when there is one pair and three other cards that are not paired. The hand is complete with three cards with the highest value. For several players with One Pair, the highest pair is the winner. If there is a tie, the support cards determine the winner. The highest One Pair comprise two Aces with two 2’s on the lower side.
10) High Card
A high card is when none of the five cards in a hand follow or match each other. The card with the highest value is your ‘best hand.’ If there is a tie, you move to the next high card.
Analysing poker hand rankings provides a clear overview of how to play to win. It helps master the game, enabling you to read your hand’s strength and that of your opponent. You can start by trying to hit the easier ones and gradually advance to more complex ones.