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Poker Hand Rankings: What Are The Best Poker Hands?

If you played poker as a child, you might have the poker hands memorized. Those who never enjoyed home poker games as a kid or those who haven't played in a long time need a quick refresher. Have no fear; in the article below, we provide a guide to poker hands for players of all levels.

Our guide discusses the many different hands in poker: the best poker hands, the worst poker hands, and all of the possible poker hands in between. We discuss which poker hands you should play, along with a mathematical breakdown of the chances of getting certain hands in poker. Our calculations and odds are based on the most popular version of poker, Texas Hold'em, because that is the game new players are most likely to play online.

Ranking Poker Hands From Best To Worst

The best hand in poker is the royal flush. This happens once every 30,000 hands or so in Texas Hold'em and Seven-Card Stud, so unlike Hollywood movies, don't expect to see many of them. Here's a full list of the poker hands, ranked from best to worst:

  • Royal Flush: Is the best possible hand in poker.
  • Straight Flush: Is the next-best to the royal flush.
  • Four of a Kind: A four-of-a-kind of a higher rank beats a four-of-a-kind of a lower rank.
  • Full House: When more than one full house competes, the player with the higher three-card combination wins.
  • Flush: Five "suited" cards, or five cards of the same suit. The flush with the highest card wins.
  • Straight: Five cards in sequential order. The straight with the highest card wins. Also, an ace can connect to a king or a two.
  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of a single rank, plus any other two high cards. The highest set of trips wins.
  • Two Pair: Two sets of pairs. The hand with the highest-ranked pair wins a tie.
  • Pair: One pair of cards of the same rank. In the case of a tie, the highest-ranked pair wins. If both are the same, then the next-highest card wins.
  • High Card: In descending order: Ace-King-Queen-Jack-Ten-Nine-Eight-Seven-Six-Five-Four-Three-Two.

Major Types of Poker Hands

Beginners might want a more detailed explanation of the poker hands. The next list describes the cards required to form each hand. Flushes, full houses and straights are powerful hands that are more likely to appear than royal flushes.

  • Royal Flush: Five-card combination that's a flush plus a straight, with the five cards being AKQJ10.
  • Straight Flush: A suited five-card combination with the ranks all in sequential order.
  • Four of a Kind: Four cards of any single hand rank: four aces, four jacks or four sevens.
  • Full House: A three-of-a-kind of one card rank combined with a pair of another card rank: 55544.
  • Flush: Five-card combination all of one suit: five hearts, five spades, five diamonds or five clubs.
  • Straight: Five-card combination in sequential order: 65432 or KQJ109.
  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of any single hand rank: three aces, three jacks or three sevens.
  • Two Pair: Two cards of one hand rank and two cards of another hand rank: 5544x.
  • Pair: Two cards of any single hand rank: 22xxx.
  • High Card: Having no combination, but having the highest card: Ace-high beats King-high and so on.


The Probability of Getting Certain Hands

Below is an overview of the probability of getting certain hands in poker. Since the most popular version of poker is Texas Hold'em, we show probabilities for receiving a hand when receiving seven cards. In all cases, the object of the game is to build the best five-card hand, so having two additional cards raises the odds of receiving a strong hand. For instance, the chances of getting a royal flush in the first five cards of Five-Card Draw are 1 in 649,740 hands.

  • Royal Flush: 1 in 30,940 hands
  • Straight Flush: 1 in 3,590 hands
  • Four of a Kind: 1 in 594 hands
  • Full House: 1 in every 37.52 hands
  • Flush: 1 in every 32.05 hands
  • Straight: 1 in every 20.65 hands
  • Three of a Kind: 1 in every 19.7 hands
  • Pair: 1 in every 1.28 hands

Comparing Absolute Value To Relative Value

When learning to calculate odds, players must learn to tell the difference between absolute value and relative value. One of the stumbling blocks for new online poker players is to realize when a pair of aces (or other high pair) is in danger of losing. If certain flops come, a pair of aces face the significant danger of losing. Players must learn to spot these situations and bet accordingly.

  • Absolute Value: A hand's strength in absolute terms. A pair of aces is top pair in any situation.
  • Relative Value: A hand's strength relative to the board (community cards). A pair of aces remains the top pair, but its relative value is significantly weaker if the board shows a straight draw, a flush draw or another powerful hand possibility.

Poker Hands FAQ

What are the hands in poker (in order)?

See the section above called "Ranking Poker Hands from Best to Worst" for the poker hands in order. Royal flush is the highest poker hand, while high card (7) is the lowest.

What are the rules of poker?

The rules of poker differ from one variant to another. For instance, Texas Hold'em and Omaha have rules for community cards and blind bets, while Seven-Card Stud and Five-Card Draw don't have community cards and use ante bets instead. Read our individual poker variant pages for a detailed description of game rules.

Which hands beat which in poker?

Once again, see our section above called "Ranking Poker Hands from Best to Worst" to see the poker hands ranked from best to worst. If you need a description of each hand rank, see the section called "Major Types of Poker Hands" for a more detailed explanation.

What is the rarest hand in poker?

The royal flush is the rarest hand in poker. The royal flush appears once in every 30,940 hands in Texas Hold'em and in Seven-Card Stud. If you receive a Royal Flush, bet with great confidence that you'll win the hand.

What is the weakest hand in poker?

The weakest hand in poker is 75432 unsuited. This is the lowest high card hand possible because it is the hand with the lowest cards that don't fill a straight. For instance, 65432 unsuited has lower cards in it, but forms a straight. Also, 75432 suited is a flush, so it's a pretty high-ranked hand.

What are 4 Aces called in poker?

Four aces are called a "four of a kind" in poker. Any four cards of the same rank create a four of a kind, which is the third-highest card combination. If you have four twos against four aces, though, the four of a kind with the deuces would be dominated.

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