Being a successful poker player is different from being a failure at the game because good players know how to handle setbacks. They don’t become overly emotional and believe the world is ending. They don’t lose their minds and begin chasing losses. The players recognize that failures and defeats make them smarter and better, therefore they accept that everyone makes mistakes from time to time and are motivated to learn from them.
Poker is a game that is usually played with a complete deck of fifty-two (52) cards. French settlers introduced poker to the United States in 1829. It is a gambling game in which the players bet on the best ‘hand’ depending on the specific game type or game rules that have been agreed on before the commencement of the game. Just like any other gambling game, it requires some luck, skill, and an in-depth understanding of the game. As a result, we will be walking you through the various hand rankings that you can come across in a game of poker.
They say variety is the spice of life, the different types of poker have made it almost impossible to get tired of the game. The different types of games have different rules, as a result of which some are more commonly played than others. Some of the popular types of poker games are as follows;
- Texas Hold’em
- Seven Card Stud
- Five Card Draw
- High Low Chicago
- Omaha High Low
- Stud High Low
- 2-7 Single Draw
- 2-7 Triple Draw
Irrespective of the type of poker you are playing, the end goal is to have the highest-ranking hand, so understanding the details of each hand wields you the weapon to win the game. A poker hand is a collective name given to the cards held by each player at any given time in the game. And different hand ranking systems are used in the different types of poker games.
In this article, we have explained the traditional high poker hand rankings in very simple terms. This is the most popularly used poker hand ranking. It is the most common because the types of poker games in which it is used are the most widely played variation like Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud, and Five card Draw. The hand rankings from the highest to the lowest are as follows:
- Royal Flush: This this the highest-ranking and strongest possible hand in poker. It can never be beaten. It is technically a straight flush, but it beats all other ones. The ace, king, queen, jack, and ten cards are all from the same suit. There are only 4 combinations possible with a 52-card deck. The probability of having this hand is 1 in 649,739.
Here are the 4 possible combinations;
A K Q J 10
A K Q J 10
A K Q J 10
A K Q J 10
- Straight-Flush: It is a poker hand that makes a straight and at the same time makes a flush. It is a rare feat to achieve and can only be beaten by another straight flush that is valued higher or ultimately by a Royal Flush. It consists of five sequentially valued cards of the same suit. The suits do not in themselves affect the strength of a straight flush, so K Q J 10 9 is the same as K Q J 10 9. The lowest ranking straight flush is A 2 3 4 5 and the highest ranking straight flush is K Q J 10 9 . There are 36 combinations possible with a 52-card deck. The probability of having this hand is 1 in 72,192.
- Four of a Kind: It is a poker hand that contains four cards of the same rank which can be from the four different suits and one card from another rank, also known as the kicker. This hand ranks above the Full House but ranks below the straight flush. Examples are 2 2 2 2 5 , 7 7 7 7 3 etc. There are 624 combinations possible with a 52-card deck. The probability of having this hand is 1 in 4164.
- Full House: This poker hand is also called full boat. It contains three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. The suit into which the cards fall is not a determining factor. This means that the 3 cards of one rank can be formed with cards of differing suits. The same rule applies to two cards of the same rank. This hand ranks above a Flush and below the Four-of-a-Kind hand. An example of this hand is 4 4 4 5 5 . Another example is 7 7 7 K K etc. There are 3,744 possible combinations for this poker hand with a 52-card deck. The probability of having this hand is 1 in 693.
- Flush: A flush is a poker hand that contains 5 different ranked cards of the same suit that are not in sequential order. It is ranked below a Full House and above a Straight in poker hand rankings. K 8 7 3 1 and Q 5 3 2 1 are examples of a flush poker hand. There are 5,108 possible combinations for this hand with a 52-card deck. The probability of having this hand is 1 in 508.
- Straight: It is a poker hand that contains any five consecutive ranking cards of different suits. Aces can be used as both a high card and a low card. The highest possible straight is known as a ‘broadway’ and the lowest possible straight is known as a ‘bicycle’ or a ‘wheel’. It ranks just below the flush and above three-of-a-kind. Examples of straight are 3 4 5 6 7 and 6 5 4 3 2 . There are 10,200 possible combinations for a straight hand with a 52-card deck. The probability of having this hand is 1 in 254.
- Three of a Kind: This is the seventh-highest-ranked poker hand. It ranks above the two pairs and just below the straight. This poker hand contains three cards of the same rank from different suits and two other random cards. The other two cards are called kickers. Examples of this hand are 2 2 2 8 J and 7 7 7 10 3 . There are 54,912 possible combinations for this hand with a 52-card deck. The probability of having this hand is 1 in 46.
- Two Pair: This is the eighth highest-ranking poker hand. It consists of two cards of the same rank, with two other cards of the same rank, with a random card as the fifth card. The fifth card is called a kicker. This poker hand is ranked above one pair and below three-of-a-kind poker hands. Examples of this poker hand are 2 2 7 7 8 and 7 7 K K A . There are over 100,000 possible combinations for this poker hand with a 52-card deck. The probability of having this hand is 1 in 20.
- One Pair: This poker hand can only beat the high-card poker hand, every other poker hand ranks higher than one pair and can beat it. It consists of two cards of the same rank (could be from the same or different suits), with three other random cards. 2 2 5 7 8 is an example of a one-pair poker hand. There are over 1 million possible combinations for this poker hand with a 52-card deck. The probability of having this hand is 1 in 1.36.
- High Card: This is the least-ranking poker hand, it cannot beat any other poker hand type. Furthermore, it is the most typical poker hand. Any card combination that does not fall into any of the aforementioned poker hand categories automatically falls into this category. There are 1.3 million possible combinations for this poker hand with a 52-card deck. The probability of having this hand is 1 in 0.99.
It is very important to note that in the event of a tie, the player with the highest-ranked cards wins the game. You will not frequently see players aiming to draw the lower-ranking poker hands in Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud, or Five Card Draw, except if the player is very skillful and very good at bluffing. Usually, people get better at these things as they gather experience in the game. There are currently many channels and avenues for a beginner to gather experience many of which are online platforms. As a result, you can enjoy the game of poker from the comfort of your home.
It is however important to note that not all poker games decide their winners by picking the highest-ranked hand according to the traditional high poker hand ranking system. The game could be tweaked to add some spice and prevent monotony. The low-hand or lowball poker system reverses the normal poker hand rankings so that the lowest-ranking poker hand is the best one in the game. There is also a High-Low poker ranking system where the normal ranking system is divided into high and low between the players.
Poker Hand Ranking At a Glance
In this article, we have been able to briefly take you through the different hands in poker, the different poker hand systems, and the probability of having each of them in a poker game with the standard 52-deck card. The highest ranking poker is the royal flush, it is the most difficult to have and can win you any game played with the highest poker hand ranking system.