Not all poker variants use the same hand rankings.
For this article, we will list the different hand combinations and their rankings for the most popular poker variant, Texas Hold'em.
Hand rankings in Texas Hold'em are a traditional ranking of high hands, and are also used for Omaha, 7-Card Stud, and 5-Card Draw.
Here are the 10 hand combinations, from lowest to highest. Note that in poker, a hand is always made up of five cards, often 3 cards made up of the community cards (the board) and our two cards in hand. We always take the highest combination, which means, for example, that if you have a pair of 2's in your hand and the board is 5-5-6-6-7, you are playing the board and your pair of 2's is worthless. You can't make 3 pairs in poker
When no player makes a pair as above, the winner of the hand with the highest card will be determined. In this case, Player 1 will win the hand with his ace. If player 2 also had an ace, for example an ace and a queen, player 1 would win with his second card (king) which is higher than the queen
To shuffle a high card, you need a pair. Again, if Player 1 also had a pair of tens, for example with J-T, the hand would have been split with the kicker, so A-T would have beaten J-T because the ace beat the jack.
What beats a pair? That's right, two pairs! Again and again, when two or more players have two pairs, the kicker decides. For example, in the following situation, player 1 wins over player 2 with his ace kicker:
Note that if player 2 had A3, for example, the pot would be split. Since only 5 cards are considered in poker, the second card in the hand would make no difference and both would have two pairs + kicker ace.
Three of a kind.
Three of a kind beats two pairs. A Three of a Kind is simply a combination of 3 cards of the same numerical denomination, for example here 3-3-3. For purists, two types of three of a kind are distinguished. The "set" and the "trip" which have no real equivalent in French. A "set" is simply a three of a kind that you are the only one to possess (a pair in hand). For example, in the example above, since player 2 has two 3's in his hand, he is certain to be the only one to possess a three of a kind, but in this example
Since both 3's are on the board, two players can have the same three of a kind. Here the number two player wins with three of a kind + kicker ace. In short, a set is simply a three of a kind with a pair in hand
A straight is simply five cards that follow each other numerically, regardless of suit. Here player number 2 has a straight (A,2,3,4,5) with different suits (three clubs, a spade and a diamond). The higher the straight, the stronger it is. If for example player number 1 had 5-6 in hand, he would win the hand ( 2-3-4-5-6 beats A-2-3-4-5)
A flush is a hand consisting of five cards of the same suit. A flush is a hand consisting of 5 clubs, 5 hearts, 5 diamonds or 5 spades. The cards do not have to be in any particular numerical order. Simply having 5 clubs here gives us the suit
When two players have a flush, the higher flush wins. For example, in the following example, player number 1 wins over player number 2 with a flush to the ace
Full (Full house, boat)
A full house is a hand consisting of a pair and three of a kind as described above. To break the full house (when two players have a full house), the stronger three of a kind wins. For example here:
Player number 2 wins since T-T-T-3-3 has a higher three of a kind than A-A-3-3.
A square is a hand consisting of 4 cards with the same numerical value. When two players have a four of a kind, the higher player wins. And when the square is on the common board (for example a 2-2-2-5 board), the player with the best kicker wins
This hand is extremely strong and rare in Texas Hold'em. In fact, it is its rarity that makes it so valuable. A straight flush is a numerical sequence of the same suit. The five cards follow one another numerically, but are all also of the same suit, i.e., in clubs
Royal Straight Flush.
The unbeatable hand in Texas Hold'em is a so-called Royal Flush, which means the highest possible straight flush. To make a straight flush, you must have a straight of 10 to the ace of the same suit, whether it is heart, diamonds, clubs or spades
To give you an idea of the frequencies, here's a chart that will tell you how often you will make a particular type of hand.
- High card: 17.41% of the time.
- Pair: 43.8% of the time.
- Two Pairs: 23.4% of the time
- Three of a kind: 4.8% of the time
- Straight: 4.6% of the time
- Colour: 3% of the time.
- Full: 2.5% of the time
- Square: 0.1% of the time
- Straight flush (including Royal Straight Flushes): 0.031% of the time
In closing, some poker rooms offer "Badbeat Jackpot", a progressive jackpot. To be eligible, one usually has to lose the hand by having a 4-of-a-Kind and better (often an 8-of-a-Kind on the way up). To hit the Badbeat Jackpot, you must have a four of a kind with both of your cards in hand (a pair in hand) and your opponent must do better, using both of his or her cards in hand. Good luck to you all!