Poker Hands Ranking

When evaluating poker hands there are a number of basic rules which are useful to know.

Hands are ranked in order of their relative probabilities, the less probability there is to get a certain hand the more valuable it is considered to be.

  • A poker hand always consists of 5 cards. In games such as Texas Holdem and Omaha Poker, where players have access to more than 5 cards, the best 5 card combination is considered to be each player’s hand. The rest of the cards are never considered, not even in the case of a tie.
  • There are four different suits in a deck of cards with 13 individual card rankings in each suit. These cards are ranked from Ace, which is the highest, to King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3 and 2, which is the lowest.
  • All suites have the same value and the suits only matter if you have 5 of the same, giving you a so-called flush, or if you have 5 in the same suit and all cards are in sequential order, giving you a so-called straight flush.
  • Hands are always ranked primarily by category rather than individual card rankings. That means that the worst two pair hand, which is a pair of twos with a pair of threes, always wins overall hands with no pair, or with one pair, even if that pair is the highest (pair of aces).

The ranking of the different poker hands is as follows, from best to worst:

  1. Straight flush: Any five cards in sequence and of the same suit.
  2. Four of a kind: A hand with four cards of the same rank.
  3. Full house: A hand with three cards of one rank and two of another rank.
  4. Flush: Five cards of the same suit.
  5. Straight: Five cards in sequence.
  6. Three of a kind: Three cards of the same rank.
  7. Two pair: Two cards of one rank, two of another.
  8. One pair: Two cards of the same rank.
  9. High card: No pair or better, just five cards which don’t “help” each other in any way.

In some less played poker variations, of which we should note that none are available at any online poker rooms, wild cards can be used. This means that a card of a certain rank, usually the twos, can be played as if it was of any rank and/or suit that the player so wishes, making it possible to have five of a kind.

In such cases five of a kind is considered better than a straight flush and is therefor the best possible combination.