Most people who don’t play online poker would rather retake their calculus classes than learn about all the poker hand rankings.
The truth? They’re partially right — learning which hand ranking beats which is a process that might take quite a long time to get used to.
However, that is precisely why the EnergyCasino Blog exists! In this post, we’ll not only paint you the clearest picture possible about poker hand rankings, but we’ll also build you a solid understanding of how each hand fares against others.
If you’re curious about the possibility of being drawn each hand combination, stick around! We’ve crunched a few numbers in a way that would make calculus classes feel like a day at the spa.
POKER HAND RANKINGS — FROM HIGHEST TO LOWEST
In most poker variants, the strongest hands beat lower-ranking ones, but this concept is inverted in lowball poker games.
To clarify which of the two concepts your table is following, you could either consult the game rules or ask your dealer.
For the purpose of detailing the complete list of poker hands, we’ll keep Texas hold’em in our forefront, where a five-card hand must be made using the five community cards.
Without further ado, here’s a list of poker hands for you to consult when playing at a poker table.
Consisting of the five consecutive cards A K Q J 10 of the same suit, a royal flush is the best poker hand. A royal flush beats all the other hands and it can only tie with another royal flush.
A straight flush — consisting of five consecutive cards of the same suit — is the second-best poker hand. A straight flush beats all the other hands except for a royal flush and a higher straight flush.
FOUR OF A KIND (QUADS)
A four of a kind, also referred to as quads, features four cards of the same rank, such as four nines. This hand beats all the other hands, except for a royal flush, a straight flush or another four of a kind of a better rank. For example, a four of a kind made up of four Jacks will beat another four of a kind made up of four nines.
A full house is made up of a three of a kind combined with a pair of a different rank. For example, three eights and two aces would make a full house.
Only a royal flush, a straight flush and a four of a kind can beat a full house. If two players have a full house, the one with the highest card rankings will win.
A flush consists of five cards of the same suit, but they must not be consecutive cards. For example, 10, eight, five, three and two of diamonds would make a flush.
Although desirable, a flush is far from the most powerful hand in the game since it can be beaten by a royal flush, a straight flush, a four of a kind and a full house. Having said that, a flush can beat a straight, a three of a kind, a two pair, a pair and a high card.
A straight consists of five consecutive cards of different suits. For example, a K Q J 10 9 of different suits would make a straight flush. Should they be of the same suit, those cards would make a straight flush.
Straights beat a three of a kind, a two pair, a pair and a high card. A straight of a higher rank or any hand better than that will beat a straight.
You might come across the phrase ‘Broadway straight’, which refers to the best possible straight hand of 10 through ace.
THREE OF A KIND
To make a three of a kind, three cards of the same rank are required. A three of a kind only beats three other hands: a two pair, a pair and a high card.
A two pair consists of one pair of the same rank and another pair of another rank. For example, two Jacks and two Queens. A two pair beats any one pair as well as high cards.
A pair simply consists of two cards of the same rank, such as two Queens. A one pair beats a high card and, at most, a one pair of a lower rank.
A high card is the worst poker hand possible. It is made up of five cards that don’t form any of the hands listed above. A high card won’t beat any made hands except for another high card of a lower rank.
HOW DO POKER TIES WORK?
Although usually not a regular occurrence, hands could very well tie in poker. What would happen in this case?
In poker, ties are settled by what are known as kickers or high cards. The kicker refers to the cards in a poker hand that don’t contribute to the made hand.
For example, A-A-Q-10-5 and A-A-J-9-2 feature one pair of aces. The rest of the cards are the tie-breakers, that is, the kickers.
In this case, the former hand wins since its kicker (Q) beats the other hand’s kicker (J).
If the high card is the same for both hands, the subsequent high card will be the kicker.
For example, in a showdown between A-A-Q-10-5 and A-A-Q-9-2, the kicker wouldn’t be the Queen since both hands feature it.
The kicker would therefore be the best-ranking card after that, which would see the former hand win thanks to its kicker (10) that beats the other hand’s kicker (9).
In the rare cases where all the kickers of both hands are of the same value, the pot is split equally.
POKER WINNING HANDS — EXAMPLES
Are you having a hard time remembering which poker hands beat which? That’s understandable. In fact, it takes most players quite a long time to memorise the complete list of poker hands.
To this end, we’ve gone the distance of writing a few pointers about why exactly some hands beat others. We advise new poker players to keep these pointers handy while playing.
ROYAL FLUSH TRUMPS THE REST
If you’re ever lucky enough to be dealt a royal flush, there’s not much to decide.
This is the best poker hand in the game and it absolutely shouldn’t be put to waste by slow-playing it. The worst-case scenario would be that another player would also have a royal flush, in which case you’d simply split the pot.
The likelihood of seeing a royal flush first-hand is extremely unlikely, let alone being dealt a one at a high-stakes table. With this said, it’s important to exploit the strength of a royal flush as much as possible should one head your way.
FULL HOUSE VS. FLUSH
Although a flush wins against most hands, the same doesn’t hold for a stand-off against a full house. Some players might be under the impression that a flush is rarer than a full house, but this is wrong.
Despite being somewhat similar in terms of their probability of happening, a full house beats a flush since it comes by slightly less frequently than its counterpart.
STRAIGHT VS. THREE OF A KIND
As it happens, a straight has less chance of occurring than a three of a kind. The outcome of combining five cards of sequential rank is understandably lower than that of combining three cards of the same rank.
Although a three of a kind will be the winning poker hand in many cases, beware of the possibility of other players’ straight draws.
THREE OF A KIND VS. TWO PAIR
Some players might assume that forming two pairs is harder than forming a three of a kind.
Unfortunately for those two-pair-wielding poker players, this isn’t the case. A three of a kind beats a two pair since it is a marginally rarer hand.
POKER HANDS PROBABILITY
If you don’t mind crunching a few numbers, you’ll definitely enjoy working out the exact probability of each poker hand. This will not only sate your curiosity, but it can help you understand why certain poker hands beat others.
First off, let’s start with the basis: there are 52 cards in a deck and, in the context of Texas hold’em, five cards are needed to form a poker hand. To calculate the probability of a specific hand, we must count the number of ways said hand can occur and divide the figure by the total number of possible five-card draws — a figure that stands at 2,598,960.
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each hand probability, with a table compiling each nugget of information listed below.
|Royal flush||0,000154%||649,739 : 1|
|Straight flush||0,00139%||72,192.33 : 1|
|Four of a kind||0,02401%||4,164 : 1|
|Full house||0,1441%||693.1667 : 1|
|Flush (excluding royal flush and straight flush)||0,1965%||508.8019 : 1|
|Straight (excluding royal flush and straight flush)||0,3925%||253.8 : 1|
|Three of a kind||2,1128%||46.32955 : 1|
|Two pair||4,7539%||20.03535 : 1|
|One pair||42,2569%||2.366477 : 1|
|High card||50,1177%||0.9953015 : 1|
ROYAL FLUSH PROBABILITY
Let’s start off with this absolute gem of a poker hand.
There are only four ways to make a royal flush — through each of the four suits. In order to calculate the probability of a royal flush, we must divide four by 2,598,960; placing the exact probability at around 0.000154%, or in case you prefer odds, 649,739 : 1.
STRAIGHT FLUSH PROBABILITY
There are 36 possible ways to form a straight flush — nine times that of a royal flush. If we divide 36 by 2,598,960, we’ll get the exact probability to get a straight flush: 0.00139%, or 72,192.33 : 1.
FOUR OF A KIND PROBABILITY
Although you’ll find that forming a four of a kind is much more likely compared to the two hands we’ve mentioned above, this hand is still extremely rare. With 624 possible combinations for a four of a kind, the probability to come across one is around 0.02401%, or 4,164 : 1.
FULL HOUSE PROBABILITY
There are 3,744 possible combinations to make a full house, putting the probability at 0.1441%, or 693.1667 : 1.
There are 5,108 ways to make a flush (excluding a royal and a straight flush). This puts the probability of forming a flush at 0.1965%, or 508.8019 : 1.
There are a good 10,200 ways to make a straight (excluding a royal flush and a straight flush). This puts the probability of forming a straight at 0.3925% or 253.8 : 1.
THREE OF A KIND PROBABILITY
As we move on from the rare hands, we’ll get to see how easier it is to form the more common hands. Having said that, the probability of landing one is still low, statistically speaking.
This is the case with the three of a kind, where there are 54,912 ways to form this hand, which puts the probability of forming one at 2.1128%, or 46.32955 : 1.
TWO PAIRS PROBABILITY
There are 123,552 ways to form two pairs, putting the probability of forming one at 4.7539%, or 20.03535 : 1.
ONE PAIR PROBABILITY
There always tends to be at least one player who forms a one pair during a round of poker. The reason for that is because there are 1,098,240 ways to form a one pair, putting the probability of forming one at 42.2569%, or 2.366477 : 1.
HIGH CARD PROBABILITY
There are 1,302,540 ways to form a high card in five-hand poker variants, putting the probability of forming one at 50.1177%, or 0.9953015 : 1.
The only reason this probability isn’t higher is that the probability of forming a winning combination takes up the rest of the odds.
POKER HANDS RANKED – TOP20
Below, you’ll find the 20 best poker hands along with their average win percentage — starting from everyone’s favourite: pocket aces! Do note that the actual win percentage will depend on the number of players at the table, their experience and how many strong hands are in circulation at the time.
|Top 20 Ranked Poker Hands||Rank in Hierarchy (Out of 20)
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LEARN MORE ABOUT POKER AT THE ENERGYCASINO BLOG
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⭐ What is the best hand in poker?
⭐ What beats what in poker?
In poker, hand rankings determine which hands beat which. You can find a list of all the poker hand rankings above. In short, the royal flush is the best five-card hand whereas high card hands are the weakest in the game.
In certain poker variants — such as High/Low poker or High/Low split poker — the inverse is the case, which means that a low hand is stronger than the rest. It's very important to clarify which poker variant is being played before joining in on the action.
⭐ How to learn poker hands?
Studying poker hand rankings might not necessarily be the best course of action to learn them. Instead, try practising poker with multiple players and you'll be surprised at how quickly you'll learn the poker hand rankings!
⭐ How many starting hands are in poker?
There are 1,326 possible starting hands in Texas Hold'em. However, there are a whopping 270,725 start hand combinations in Omaha Hold'em.
⭐ How many cards are there in a hand of poker?
A poker hand is made up of five cards. In order to form a five-card poker hand, players must combine some of the community cards with their own cards.
Having said that, there are poker variants that offer more of a choice where players can form their hand. For example, seven-card stud features two hole cards (dealt face down) and one card dealt face up in the beginning of the round.
At the showdown, players will have a total of seven cards from which they must select five to form their poker hand.
⭐ What poker hands to play?
Some poker hands are only worth folding, but others might stand at least some chance of becoming the winning poker hand of the round. This largely depends on whether you're playing against multiple players and what your play style is.
⭐ What hands to play in tournament poker?
In tournament poker, the stakes are usually higher than they are at regular tables. This means that players will tend to play tight, which refers to the practise of only pursuing hands that they believe have good showdown value.
Having said that, many poker events have been won by what most consider low-value hands. We recommend assessing each situation and playing accordingly.
⭐ Is three pair a poker hand?
Although it is possible to have three different pairs — a pocket pair and two pairs among the community cards — they do not qualify as a hand combination. This is due to the fact that a poker hand can only be made up of five cards, and three pairs would make use of six.
⭐ Which is better, a set or trips?
Before getting to the answer, let's establish what each of the two words mean. A set is when a three of a kind is formed when holding a poir. Trips is when a three of a kind is formed without holding a pair.
The most potentially lucrative option is the set. Seeing as fewer players, if any, will have made a three of a kind given that you'll be holding two of the three cards required to form it, the pot odds are in your favour — unless a better hand can be formed.
⭐ What is a chopped or split pot?
When more than one player holds the winning poker hand, the pot is evenly distributed — an action referred to as 'splitting the pot'. For example, if two players hold the winning hand of a round that happens to be a seven high straight, the pot is split.
It must be noted that in order for the pot to be split, each winning hand must be completely tied, that is, no higher-ranking kickers can be included.
⭐ How many poker hands are possible?
As we've explored above, there are 2,598,960 poker hands of different values.
In order to calculate the probability of a specific hand, we must count the number of ways said hand can occur and divide the figure by the total number of possible five-card draws — a figure that stands at 2,598,960. Read this post if you wish to examine the exact probability of drawing each hand combination.