To play poker successfully, it is important to understand poker hand rankings. A poker hand is easy to classify, and once you know the hand rankings, you can determine who has the winning hand. In Texas Hold’em and other online poker games, two or more players may have the same hand. When this happens, knowing the poker hand rankings becomes even more important. Most hands are easy to evaluate as they consist of a recognizable pattern.
Poker Hand Rankings – Best to Worst
Poker hand rankings are easy to memorize from the poker hands list below. In Texas Hold’em and other online poker games, the highest-ranking hand wins. So we have listed the poker hands in descending order, with the highest-ranking hand on top. Each card consists of a Rank and a Suit.
The best hand in poker is a Royal Flush. It consists of the A, K, Q, J, 10 all the same suit, and it beats everything else in online poker games like Texas Hold’em. If there is another Royal Flush, the players will split the pot equally.
The second-best poker hand you can have is a Straight Flush. It consists of 5 cards of sequential rank that are from the same suit. A Straight Flush is better than a Four of a Kind and all lower hands. If there is a second Straight Flush, the higher top card wins, or the players share the pot equally.
Four of a Kind
Four of a Kind or Quads consists of 4 cards that share the same value, and a 5th card known as the kicker. The highest value Four of a Kind always wins, and if players have the same value Quads, the winner is the player with the higher kicker. It beats a Full House and all hands lower.
A Full House contains 3 cards that have the same value, and 2 cards of another value. If there is more than one Full House, the highest Three of a Kind wins. If the Three of a Kind is also the same, then it’s ranked by the highest Pair. A Full House is often a winning hand.
A Flush consists of 5 cards of the same suit. The value of the cards is irrelevant but they cannot be in sequence as that would be a Straight Flush. If there is another Flush, the highest card wins. It will beat a Straight or anything lower.
A Straight consists of 5 cards of sequential value. The suit of the cards does not matter, but they cannot all be the same suit. If there is more than one Straight, the highest top card wins. There are often multiple straights in Texas Hold’em.
Three of a Kind
A Three of a Kind consists of 3 cards of the same value, and 2 kickers. If there are multiple Three of a Kinds, the highest one wins. Otherwise, the winner is the one with the highest kicker. It is better than Two Pairs or anything lower.
A Two Pair hand consists of 2 cards of one value, 2 cards of a second value, and a kicker. If there are multiple Two Pair hands, the winner is the highest pair. If the high pair is the same, check the best low pair, then check the kicker.
A Single Pair consists of 2 cards that are the same value, and 3 kickers. If there is a similar hand, the highest Pair wins. Otherwise, the win goes to the player with the best kicker. A Pair is the second-lowest hand but can still be a winner.
A High Card is the lowest ranking poker hand. It consists of 5 cards that do not make up any of the other possible hands. With no pairs or flushes to consider, it is ranked by the highest card and continues down in order to the lowest card.
Poker Suits Explained
Poker, like many card games, uses a standard deck of 52 playing cards. There are 4 different suits that a card can belong to. They are the red suits made up of Hearts and Diamonds, and the black suits made up of Clubs and Spades. Some card games such as Bridge assign different values to each suit. But in Texas Hold’em and other poker games the suits are all given an equal value. This means a tie cannot be evaluated by suit, and winning poker hands follow the hand rankings list.
What Happens in a Tie?
Because of the way hand rankings work, it is very unusual to have a tie when playing online poker. Since suits do not matter, a Flush, Straight, or Straight Flush can be judged by the highest card. Other winning hands are determined by the highest value of the Pair, Triple, or Quad cards. If they are the same, then the kickers are used to evaluate the best hand. In saying that, there are certain poker hands where a winner cannot be determined. In this case, the pot will be split equally between the players involved.
The Best Starting Hands in Poker
The best poker hand depends on which version you are playing. If you are playing draw poker, getting a Royal Flush would be the best starting hand. In Texas Hold’em, the best starting hand is a pair of Aces, commonly known as Pocket Aces. This dominates all other possible starting hands, and you have a chance to win a massive pot if other players start with a lower pair such as Pocket Kings. With Pocket Aces you have the best poker hand right from the pre-flop, so you have a chance to raise the pot right from the start.
Worst Starting Hands
The worst poker hands are ones where you cannot improve your hand easily. In Texas Hold’em, the worst poker hands to start with contain a 2 and a 7 offsuit. There are hardly any options to improve this hand. You have no straight draw, no flush draw, and even if you get a pair it will be too low to play.
Why Should I Learn Poker Hand Rankings?
Winning at Poker involves more than being lucky enough to hit a Full House. You need to determine if this will be the winning hand. Knowing the list of poker hands that your opponents might have, and understanding the hand rankings, is crucial to becoming a successful poker player.