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Poker Hands

There are a wide range of game variations when it comes to poker, but one thing remains the same - the hand combinations that are possible in poker. A poker hand will always be made up of five cards and have the same combinations available in every type of poker game. To learn the possible poker combinations and what their values are, you must first know the rank of each card. Ranking from highest to lowest, you have the Ace, the King, the Queen and the Jack, which are all considered the Royal cards. After that, the value is determined by the number on each card, counting down from 10 all the way down to the ace, which can be considered high or low in poker.

The ranking of poker hands is determined by statistical probabilities, not just card value. Based on a 52 card deck, there are different probabilities for achieving a five card combination. When the card combination has a lower probable outcome, then its value as a hand goes up (see starting hands & outs).

There are 2,598,960 possible five card hand combinations that can be dealt. The number of ways each ranking hand can possibly be dealt is outlined below.

Again, the hands that have the highest probabilities (i.e. those dealt more frequently) are worth the least. For example, the highest card (with 1,302,540 combinations) is the most common and worth the least. Therefore, the royal flush (with only 4 possible combinations) is the rarest and hardest to get, making it the most valuable and highest in rank.

Pictured below you'll find the poker hands ranked from highest to lowest.

Royal Flush

Royal straight flush or Royal Flush

Example: Royal flush of hearts

The highest in a 5 card straight all of the same suit (e.g. A, K, Q, J, 10 all of hearts).

Straight Flush

Straight Flush

Example: 9 high straight flush

5 cards in sequence (straight) all in the same suit (e.g. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of spades - 9 high straight flush). The higher straight flush wins. AKQJT is the highest straight flush, and is also called the royal flush. 5432A is the lowest straight flush.

Four of a Kind

Four of a kind (Quad)

Example: quad tens, Queen kicker

Four Cards of the same denomination (e.g. 10, 10, 10, 10, Q - quad tens). If two players have the same 4-of-a-kind, then the highest 5th card wins. 4-of-a-kind is also known as quads.

Full House

Full House (Boat)

Example: Queens full of fives

Three cards of one denomination and a pair (two of another) (e.g. Q, Q, Q, 5, 5 - full house queens full of fives - tied hands are decided by the best three of a kind first, then the best pair). The Full House is also known as a boat.



Example: King-high flush

Five cards all in the same suit but not in denomination sequence eg. Kh, 10h 7h, 6h, 3h - a queen high flush. If two flushes have the same top card, then the flush with the higher 2nd-to-top card wins, and so on.



Example: 8-high Straight

Five cards in denomination sequence of any suit eg. 87654 - staight eight high. The straight with the higher top card wins. AKQJT is the highest straight; 5432A is the lowest straight (5432A is also called a wheel).

Three Of A Kind

Three Of A Kind (Set or Trips)

Example: Trip Sevens, Ace kicker

Three cards of the same denomination, eg 777a9 - trip 7's. The higher 3-of-a-kind wins. If two hands have the same 3-of-a-kind, then the 2 kickers (unpaired cards) are used to break the tie. 3-of-a-kind is also known as trips. If you have a pocket pair in Texas Hold'em, and you form trips by the third card coming onto the board, this is known as a set.

Two Pairs

Two Pairs

Example: Aces over sixes

Two pairs of the same denominations - If tied with the same the higher pair then the highest low pair wins, if these are tied then highest other card (or kicker) decides it eg AA 66 2 - two pairs aces and 6's.

One Pair

One Pair

Example: Pair of Kings, Ace kicker

One pair of the same denomination eg. Kh Ks A 7 4 - A pair of Kings. The hand with the higher pair wins. If the pairs are equal, then the kickers are used to break the tie, first by comparing the highest kicker, then the 2nd highest kicker, and finally the lowest kicker.

High Card

High Card

Example: Queen-high

If none of the above hands are made then the highest card wins (e.g. Q, 5, 2, 7, 8 - is a Queen high which would be beaten by a king high - K, 5, 3, 7, 8). . If highest cards are tied, then the 2nd highests are compared, and so on.

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