Poker Hand Rankings

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Here is a list of all standard poker hands ranked from lowest to highest. For each hand, I will explain how to break ties in the instance that two or more players end up with a hand of similar rank at showdown. Unless specified, aces are always high.

  • High Card: A hand consisting of 5 cards of different rank, different suits, and not in a sequence. If 2 or more players at showdown each contain a hand of high card, then they each compare the highest card in their hand. The player with the higher card is the winner. If there is a tie, then the next highest card is compared, and so on.
  • Pair: A hand with 2 cards of identical rank and 3 other cards. When multiple players have a pair, the higher pair wins. If each pair is identical, then the highest single card breaks the tie, and so on.
  • Two Pair: A hand with 2 cards of identical rank, another 2 cards of a different rank, and 1 single card of a third rank. When multiple players have two pair, the player with the highest pair wins. If each player’s highest pair are the same, then the second pair is used to break the tie. If both pairs are identical, then the last card determines the winner.
  • Three of a Kind: A hand consisting of 3 cards of identical rank and 2 cards of different ranks. When multiple players have three of a kind, the higher rank wins. In Texas Hold’em, it is possible for players to share the same three of a kind. If this happens, then the player with the highest of the 2 singletons wins the pot.
  • Straight: Five cards in sequential order and in different suits. The higher straight is the one that has the higher card. The highest is an ace-high straight. The lowest is a five-high straight. This is one of the only instances where an ace can count as a low card.
  • Flush: Five cards in the same suit, but not in a sequence. The higher flush is the one that has the higher card.
  • Full House: A hand consisting of three of a kind in one rank and a pair of a different rank. When multiple players have a full house, the hand that has the highest three of a kind is the winner. In Texas Hold’em, if players share the same three of a kind, then the pairs are compared and the highest pair wins.
  • Four of a Kind: A hand consisting of all 4 cards of one rank and a fifth card of a different rank. When multiple players have four of a kind, the higher rank wins. In Texas Hold’em, it is possible for all players to share the same four of a kind if one appears on the board. If this happens, then the player with the highest fifth card breaks the tie.
  • Straight Flush: Five cards in sequential order and in the same suit.
  • Royal Flush: A ten, jack, queen, king, and ace in the same suit. This is the best hand in all of poker!

One final note. If the best hand at showdown is shared between multiple players with all 5 cards being identical between them, then those players split the pot. This is true, even when there are more than 5 cards available. For example, in Texas Hold’em and Seven Card Stud, players are able to make their best 5 card hand from 7 available cards. If the hands for two players at showdown are the same, the sixth and seventh cards cannot be used to attempt to break the tie. Therefore, the pot is split.

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