Poker Hands.. What Is the Correct Hierarchy & Ranking?
Poker hand rankings can, admittedly, be a little confusing at first when you start playing poker. However, with a little practice, you will know the rankings of all the different poker hands like the back of your hands. In fact, anyone that plays poker regularly will have the rankings etched in their minds and they don’t even have to think about it anymore, they just know. Heck! You could wake them up from a slumber and ask them what hand beats what in Poker and they will be able to tell you.
So, if you are someone still trying to get the hang of all the different poker hands and their rankings, worry not. It will come with time and it will come sooner than you think. However, we have composed an article that you can use for quick reference to help you along your way and to make the learning curve slightly more gradual.
While referring to the rankings provided in this article, it must be noted that poker is a game of with a rich history that dates all the way back to the 16th century. Therefore, there are now several different versions of poker. The ranking system may not be the same in all versions. Having said that, this ranking system is the most commonly used and applicable to all the major and well known versions of Poker such as Texas hold em’, Chinese Poker, Chicago, Poker Menteur and PaiGow Poker. Therefore, these rankings are referred to as the ‘Standard’ Poker Hand Rating.
So, without any further ado, let us dig into the standard poker hierarchy and take a closer look at the different hands and where they stand in comparison to other hands or combinations.
Standard Poker Hand Ranking
Firstly, let us address the basic question of what a Poker hand is. A Poker hand is a combination of five cards that the player has. The rankings of the various hands themselves have been enumerated below. A hand which is ranked higher will beat a hand ranked lower and the highest ranked hand will take the pot at the end of the betting rounds (provided that the player did not fold the hand).
While one standard deck of 52 cards is sufficient to play Poker, virtually all casinos and Poker rooms use two decks because this allows for the game to flow faster and for more possible potential combinations.
What beats what in Poker? Ranking hands from highest to lowest
In a poker game where there are no wild cards in play or use, a straight flush is going to be the highest ranked hand that you can possible have. In other words, there is no other hand that anyone else can have that can beat a straight flush. So what cards do you need for a Straight Flush? Well, a straight flush requires not only five cards in numerical sequence, but these five cards should also belong to the same suit.
For example – Jack of clubs, 10 of clubs, 9 of clubs, 8 of clubs and 7 of clubs would make for a straight flush. Likewise, 5 of hearts, four of hearts, 3 of hearts, 2 of hearts and Ace of hearts is also a straight flush.
However, you can further distinguish between two straight flushes as to which one is ranked higher than the other. For this, you just need to look at the highest card in which straight flush, and which ever hand has the higher highest card will be the straight flush that wins. The highest straight flush that you can have is called a royal flush.
A royal flush will consist of the cards A, K, Q, J, and 10 which all belong to the same suit. Another thing to remember about a straight flush is that it cannot loop over, that is, it 4 of diamonds, 3 of diamonds, 2 of diamonds, Ace of diamonds and King of diamonds cannot be considered a straight flush.
Four of a Kind
Four of a kind is the second most highly ranked hand in the standard rankings. Four of a kind, as the name suggests is when the hand comprises of four cards which are all of the same rank. Thus, this could be four jacks or four queens, or four kings, or four 10’s. Obviously, they will be of different suits. The fifth card can be anything and it is called the kicker.
You can also further distinguish two four of a kind hands as one being higher than the other. This depends on the rank of the four cards. For example, 7 of hearts, 7 of diamonds, 7 of clubs and 7 of spades is considered higher that say 4 of clubs, 4 of spades, 4 of diamonds and 4 of hearts because of the fact that 7 is higher or greater than 4.
A full house is a hand which is also sometimes referred to as a boat. In a full house, all five cards in the hand are considered and evaluated. It is known as a full house when the hand comprises of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.
For example, a 6 of hearts, 6 of spades, 6 of diamonds, a 7 of clubs and 7 of hearts is considered a full house. It is essentially a three of a kind and a two of a kind both in just one hand.
A flush is another hand wherein all five cards in the hand are considered. A flush is when you have five cards that may be of different ranks, but all five belong to the same suit.
For example, a 5 of hearts, a King of hearts, a 3 of hearts, an Ace of hearts, and a 2 of hearts will be considered a flush since they all belong to the same suit – Hearts!
A straight is like a flush, but instead of the suit being the same, the ranks need to be the same in a Straight. So, if you have a sequence of five cards which is unbroken, but of different suits, then you are said to be holding a straight.
For example – 10 of hearts, 9 of diamonds, 8 of spades, 7 of clubs, and six of hearts is a straight since the numerical sequence is intact even though the suites are all mixed up.
Three of a kind
A three of a kind is a hand wherein of the five cards, you have three cards which have the same ranking. The suits can be different in a three of a kind. The other two cards in your hand maybe anything, and it does not really matter unless there is another player on the table who also happens to have a three of a kind, in this case, the other two cards in the hands are considered and the player with the higher other two cards will emerge victorious.
A two pair is when you have one pair of cards that are equal in rank and another pair of cards that are also equal in rank.
For example, this hand is considered as a two pair – 4 of spades, 4 of hearts, 3 of clubs, 7 of clubs and 7 of diamonds.
When you have two cards in your hand that are of the same rank, you are said to have a pair.