Texas Holdem Poker Lessons: Poker Hand Rankings

In this Texas Holdem Poker Lesson, we will look at poker hand rankings.

A poker game is best recognized by its use of a fixed hand hierarchy. This is universally accepted system that ranks a variety of card combinations based on how rarely they appear. A rare hand is rated highly while a common hand is ranked lowly.

Poker Hand Rankings

Royal Flush - Five highest single cards of a suit, i.e. ten, jack, queen, king and ace of any one suit. Straight Flush - Any five ordered cards of one suit, ex: 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of clubs. Four of a Kind - All four cards of same ranking, ex: the four threes of a deck. Full House - A trio of cards of same rank, and a duo, ex: three aces and two eights. Flush - This is what you call five non-sequenced cards of one suit, ex: 2, 5, 10, queen and ace. Straight - These are cards in sequence, but not of identical suit. Three of a Kind - A trio of cards of the same ranking, ex: three tens. Two Pair - This is the second lowest of all hands, two pairs. One Pair - The lowest hand of all, two cards with the same ranking, ex: two sixes.

Single Card Rankings

Individual cards have rankings also. From the lowest to the highest, they are:

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, jack, queen, king and ace.

These are vital when breaking a tie between hands of same type. Hands of the same type are not always equal. If one player has three kings, and another has three fives, the former wins because kings rank higher than fives. However, if there is another player with three twos and two fours, they have the best hand of all since a "full house" is superior to a "three of a kind." It doesn't matter that twos and fives are inferior to kings.

Suppose the cards in the hands are of the same type? The hands would still be equal. Then cards that are not part of the hand may serve as a "kicker." The winner will be the one who has the higher-ranking kicker. For example: Player 1 and Player 2 both have a pair of sevens. Each has three cards left to settle the tie. Player 1's highest ranking free card is a king. Player 2's highest ranking free card is a ten. The former wins since kings are better than tens.

Again, if there is no good hand at allónot even a pairóthe winner will be decided by the highest rated single card, known as the "high card."

This ends the lesson on Texas Holdem Poker hands rankings.

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