Poker Hand Ranking: The Best Hands You Should Learn
Learning and mastering poker hands is an integral part of how to play poker. There is such a thing as a poker hand order, and any poker website you go to will definitely have a list of the ten best poker hands. Others — like Poker Professor — also list low hand rankings for games other than Texas Hold’em.
When we say “best poker hands” or “high poker hands,” we mean hands that almost always guarantee a win for you. There are ten of these, from being the best poker hand possible to the lowest ranking (best) hand.
Poker rules differ based on the kind of poker you play. Most beginners go for Texas Hold’em because it’s easy to learn. Aside from Hold’em, there’s Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, “Irish,” and Razz, where the best high hand and the best low hand split the pot.
Here’s the only poker hands list you need to learn, understand, and master:
- The Royal Flush
This is the highest of all poker hands, with A, K, Q, J, 10 all in the same suit. According to Poker Professor, “As all suits are equal, all royal flushes are equal.”
- The Straight Flush
This is any connecting straight cards (10-9-8-7-6) all in the same suit. If, in a game, two players hold straight flushes, the one with the higher top card gets a higher ranking.
Note: A Straight Flush hand beats a Four-of-a-Kind.
- The Four-of-a-Kind
This is four cards of the same ranking but not the same suit (8-Q-Q-Q-Q). This hand is also called “quads.” If, in a game, two players both have quads, the one with the higher set of four cards is ranked higher.
Note: A Four-of-a-Kind hand beats a Full House.
- The Full House
This is three cards of one ranking and then a pair of cards of another ranking. For example, 6-6-6-Q-Q. In the event that there is more than one Full House hand on the table, the rank of the three cards determines which player is ranked higher.
Note: A Full House hand beats a Flush.
- The Flush
This is five cards of the same suit but not in numerical order or sequence. For example, 4-J-8-2-9. If there are two Flushes at a table, the highest card will decide which player is ranked higher. If the highest cards are the same, the second-highest card will determine which player is ranked higher. And so on.
Note: A Flush hand beats a Straight.
- The Straight
This is five cards in a sequence but not the same suit. According to 888poker.com, “The highest possible Straight is A-K-Q-J-10 (also called ‘Broadway’).” In the case of two Straights, the one with the higher ranking top card is in a better position.
Note: A Straight hand beats a Three-of-a-Kind.
- The Three-of-a-Kind
This is three cards of the same rank as two other cards (7-7-7-K-3). This hand is also called “Trips” or “Set.” When there are two Three-of-a-Kind hands on the table, the one with a higher ranking three cards is better.
Note: A Three-of-a-Kind hand beats a Two Pair.
- Two Pair
This is two pairs of cards of different ranks with a different fifth or odd card. If the two pairs have the same ranking, this would be considered a Four-of-a-Kind. When two players have Two Pairs, the one with the higher highest pair wins. For example, J-J-2-2-4 is better than 10-10-9-9-8. The former wins.
Note: A Two Pair hand beats a One Pair.
- The One Pair
This is a single pair or two cards of the same rank and nothing else. The three other cards do not match the pair or each other. Where there are two Pairs at the table, the hand with the higher pair wins.
Note: The One Pair hand beats a High Card.
- The High Card
This is if you do not have any of the first nine hands listed here. Your highest card will play.
It might be easier for a visual person to master these hands. Nonetheless, as you play more, you will also know them by heart in no time. Remember that it is also important to know and learn the rules of the kind of poker you are playing. This poker hand ranking we just taught you is for Texas Holdem.
Things to remember
- The best hand in poker is the Royal Flush
- The poker hands above have been listed from strongest to weakest
- A hand is formed in poker when there are five cards (in Stud, there are seven cards)
- The best hole cards in Texas Hold’em are the two Aces (“Hole cards” are cards you need to keep a secret from the rest of the table)
- In case you are not dealt good cards, your poker strategy can still help you win
Now that you know and understand the best poker hands and the poker hand rankings, it’s time to move on to the rules of the game. Play, practice, watch, read, and breathe poker. You’ll get your winnings in no time.