Poker Hands and Ranking
Poker hands are ranked in a hierarchy of specific
combinations based on the probablility of that the hand will appear. A
combination is ranked high while a common occurance like a pair is
ranked at the bottom. The combinations are straight forward
simple and intuitive such that anyone can easily start to play after a
little practice. A full poker hand consists of 5
cards with some combinations using only a subset thereof.
Straight flush consists of 5 cards of the same suit (flush) with the added requirement that all the cards are consecutively ranked(straight) A straight flush is the highest possible poker hand. The example shown here with the highest possible ranked cards to make the straight flush is known as a Royal Flush.
of a Kind
4 of a kind as the
name implies consists of 4 cards with the
same rank. Not as rare as a straight flush but still
relatively few and far between.
A full house
is achieved when you hold 3 cards of one rank combined with 2 cards of
another rank. In this example we have Aces full of Kings. (Also
called a "boat")
A flush is 5 cards of the same
suit. Notice that unlike the straight flush example from above,
this time, we only need to make 5 of the same suit without any
restriction on the ordering of the cards. In this example, the highest
card determines the value relative to any other flush. ie.. here we
have an "ace high flush" which is the best flush you can
A straight is 5 cards of any suit in a consecutive order. The lowest value straight is a A-2-3-4-5 and the highest value straight has 10-J-Q-K-A. Note that the ace can serve as the lowest or highest card but it does not "wrap around" meaning that you cant make a straight with Q-K-A-1-2. Also the A-2-3-4-5 straight is the only exception where an ace is not the highest ranked card.
of a Kind
Three of a
kind is 3 cards of the same rank. Also referred to as "trips" or a "set"
2 cards of 1 rank
plus 2 or another. You may have noticed that rank
combinations is the essence of a poker hand. The suit is only
relevant in the flush. Everything else is dependant on
rank. So basically, it does not matter what the suit of a
combination is. The only time you will pay any attention to
the suit of a card is when you are dealing with a flush.
A pair is the
lowest combination and the most common hand you will deal with in
poker. Somebody somewhere has at least a pair of something. The most
valuable pair is AA and the lowest pair is 22.
If none of the
above combinations is present, the best hand is simply the highest
single card available. In this example we have a "high card ace"
Breaking a tie
If none of the
above breaks a tie, the pot is split.