In poker, certain combinations of cards, or hands, outrank other hands, based on the frequency with which these combinations appear. The player with the best poker hand at the showdown wins the pot.
Although used in Strip Poker, Five Card Draw Poker, Texas Hold'em, these hand rankings are also used in a variety of other card games.
Strip Poker - Standard Ranking
A poker hand consists of five cards, no more, no less. Although in many poker games each player has seven (or more) cards to play, the sixth and seventh cards are not used to determine the winner. If two or more players have identical five-card hands, they divide the pot equally between them.
The individual cards are ranked Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 (low). An Ace may also be used as a low card, below the 2, in making a straight or a straight flush.
Suits have no rank in poker, and are not used to determine the winner of a hand.
Strip Poker - Rank Of Hand Probability - Five of a kind
Five of a kind is a poker hand such as A♠ A♣ A♥ A♦ (Wild), which contains five cards of the same rank (only possible in wild card games in which wild cards may be cards that already exist in the hand). It ranks above all other poker hands.
Higher ranking sets of five defeat lower ranking sets. Since the general rule is that poker hands only have five cards come into play, there are no kickers to further break any ties.
Examples: Q♠ Q♣ Q♥ Q♦ (Wild) (five Queens) defeats 7♠ 7♣ 7♥ 7♦ (Wild) (five sevens)
Strip Poker - Rank of Hands - Royal Flush
A royal flush is a poker hand containing an ace, king, queen, jack, and a 10 of the same suit (for example A♠ K♠ Q♠ J♠ 10♠). Because it is both a straight (having five cards in sequential rank) and a flush (having five cards of the same suit), it is also known as an ace-high straight flush.
A royal flush is not actually a separate type of hand in poker. It is ranked as a straight flush, but since it has an ace as the highest card, it is the highest ranking straight flush, and therefore the highest ranking hand in poker (sans wild cards).
Strip Poker - Rank of Hands - Straight Flush
A straight flush is a poker hand such as Q♠ J♠ 10♠ 9♠ 8♠, which contains five cards in sequence, all of the same suit. It ranks above all other poker hands (unless wild cards are used, in which case it ranks below five of a kind).
Two such hands are compared by their high card in the same way as are straights, and the same wild card rules apply as for straights. The ace rule also applies: 5♦ 4♦ 3♦ 2♦ A♦ is a 5-high straight flush (sometimes called a "steel wheel"). An ace-high straight flush such as A♣ K♣ Q♣ J♣ 10♣ is called a royal flush, and is the highest ranking poker hand possible without wild cards.
* 7♥ 6♥ 5♥ 4♥ 3♥ beats 5♠ 4♠ 3♠ 2♠ A♠
* J♣ 10♣ 9♣ 8♣ 7♣ ties J♦ 10♦ 9♦ 8♦ 7♦
Strip Poker - Rank of Hands - Four of a Kind
Four of a kind is a poker hand such as 9♣ 9♠ 9♦ 9♥ J♥, which contains four cards of one rank, and an unmatched card. It is also called quads. It ranks above a full house and below a straight flush.
Higher ranking quads defeat lower ranking ones. Between two equal sets of quads (possible in wild card and community card games), the kicker determines the winner.
* 10♣ 10♦ 10♥ 10♠ 5♦ ("four tens" or "quad tens") defeats 6♦ 6♥ 6♠ 6♣ K♠ ("four sixes")
* 10♣ 10♦ 10♥ 10♠ Q♣ ("four tens, queen kicker") defeats 10♣ 10♦ 10♥ 10♠ 5♦ ("four tens with a five")
Strip Poker - Rank of Hands - Full House
A full house is a poker hand such as 3♣ 3♠ 3♦ 6♣ 6♥, which contains three matching cards of one rank, plus two matching cards of another rank. It is also called a "full boat", "boat" or "tight" or occasionally a "Danny Tanner", in reference to the sitcom, Full House. It ranks above a flush and below four of a kind.
Between two full houses, the one with the higher ranking set of three wins. If two have the same set of three (possible in wild card and community card games), the hand with the higher pair wins.
* 10♠ 10♥ 10♦ 4♠ 4♦ ("tens full") defeats 9♥ 9♣ 9♠ A♥ A♣ ("nines full")
* K♠ K♣ K♥ 3♦ 3♠ defeats 10♠ 10♥ 10♦ 4♠ 4♦
* Q♥ Q♦ Q♣ 8♥ 8♣ ("queens full of eights" or "full house, queens over eights") defeats Q♥ Q♦ Q♣ 5♠ 5♥ ("queens full of fives")
Some poker games are played with a deck that has been stripped of certain cards, usually low-ranking ones. For example, the Australian game of Manila uses a 32-card deck in which all cards below the rank of 7 are removed, and Mexican stud removes the 8s, 9s, and 10s. In both of these games, a flush ranks above a full house, because having fewer cards of each suit available makes full houses more common.
Strip Poker - Rank of Hands - Flush
A flush is a poker hand such as Q♣ 10♣ 7♣ 6♣ 4♣, which contains five cards of the same suit, not in rank sequence. It ranks above a straight and below a full house.
Usually two flushes are compared as if they were No pair hands. In other words, the highest ranking card of each is compared to determine the winner; if both have the same high card, then the second-highest ranking card is compared, etc. The suits have no value: two flushes with the same five ranks of cards are tied.
* A♥ Q♥ 10♥ 5♥ 3♥ ("ace-high flush") defeats K♠ Q♠ J♠ 9♠ 6♠ ("king-high flush")
* A♦ K♦ 7♦ 6♦ 2♦ ("flush, ace-king high") defeats A♥ Q♥ 10♥ 5♥ 3♥ ("flush, ace-queen high")
* Q♥ 10♥ 9♥ 5♥ 2♥ ("heart flush") ties Q♠ 10♠ 9♠ 5♠ 2♠ ("spade flush")
In community card poker, this top-down tie-breaking can lead to unanticipated kicker-screw. For example, in Texas Hold 'em, a player with two low hole spades, when three out of four table cards are spades, may bet aggressively knowing s/he has the flush. If a fourth spade comes on the river, this player's hand is degraded from powerful to effectively useless.
When Wild cards are used, a wild card contained in a flush is considered to be of the highest rank not already present in the hand. For example, in the hand (Wild) 10♥ 8♥ 5♥ 4♥, the wild card plays as the A♥, but in the hand A♣ K♣ (Wild) 9♣ 6♣, it plays as the Q♣.
Some home games and some casinos play the double-ace flush rule, in which a wild card in a flush always plays as an ace, even if one is already present. In such a game, the hand A♠ (Wild) 9♠ 5♠ 2♠ would defeat A♦ K♦ Q♦ 10♦ 8♦ (the wild card playing as an imaginary second A♠), whereas by the standard rules it would lose (because even with the wild card playing as a K♠, the latter hand's Q♦ outranks the former's 9♠). This rule is rare, and is an exception to standard practice, so it should be announced clearly if you intend to use it.
Some poker games are played with a deck that has been stripped of certain cards, usually low-ranking ones. For example, the Australian game of Manila uses a 32-card deck in which all cards below the rank of 7 are removed, and Mexican stud removes the 8s, 9s, and 10s. In both of these games, a flush ranks above a full house, because having fewer cards of each suit available makes flushes rarer.
Strip Poker - Rank of Hands - Straight
A straight is a poker hand such as Q♣ J♠ 10♠ 9♥ 8♥, which contains five cards of sequential rank, of varying suits. It ranks above three of a kind and below a flush.
Two straights are ranked by comparing the high card of each. Two straights with the same high card are of equal value, and split any winnings (straights are the most commonly tied hands in poker, especially in community card poker games).
Straights are often described by the highest card, as in "queen-high straight" or "straight to the queen".
* 8♠ 7♠ 6♥ 5♥ 4♠ ("eight-high straight") defeats 6♦ 5♠ 4♦ 3♥ 2♣ ("six-high straight")
* 8♠ 7♠ 6♥ 5♥ 4♠ ties 8♥ 7♦ 6♣ 5♣ 4♥
Aces are a special case here: a hand such as A♣ K♣ Q♦ J♠ 10♠ is an ace-high straight (or "broadway"), and ranks above a king-high straight such as K♥ Q♠ J♥ 10♥ 9♦. But the ace may also be played as a 1-spot in a hand such as 5♠ 4♦ 3♦ 2♠ A♣, called a wheel, bicycle, or five-high straight, which ranks below the six-high straight 6♠ 5♣ 4♣ 3♥ 2♥. The ace may not "wrap around", or play both high and low in the same hand: 3♣ 2♦ A♠ K♠ Q♣ is not a straight, but just ace-high no pair. The wrap-around is, however, one of the unconventional hands used in some home games.
When wild cards are used, the wild card becomes whichever rank is necessary to complete the straight. If two different ranks would complete a straight, it becomes the higher. For example, in the hand J♦ 10♠ 9♣ (Wild) 7♠, the wild card plays as an 8 (of any suit; it doesn't matter). In the hand (Wild) 6♥ 5♦ 4♥ 3♦, it plays as a 7 (even though a 2 would also make a straight).
The general rule about poker hands having only five cards may come into play here. If playing a seven-card game you end up with K♠ K♣ K♥ Q♠ J♦ 10♦ 9♣, and your opponent has K♦ Q♦ J♥ 10♥ 9♠ 8♠ 7♣, your hands are tied. The best five-card poker hand you can make is a king-high straight, and the best hand he can make is also a king-high straight. The fact that you also have three kings and he also has a seven-card-long straight are both irrelevant. Of course, if his hand were instead A♥ K♦ Q♦ J♥ 10♥ 9♠ 8♠, his ace-high straight would defeat your king-high.
In Mexican stud, because the 8s, 9s, and 10s are removed from the deck, a hand such as 6-7-J-Q-K counts as a straight (to the king).
Strip Poker - Rank of Hands - Three of a Kind
Three of a kind is a poker hand such as 2♦ 2♠ 2♥ K♠ 6♠, which contains three cards of the same rank, plus two unmatched cards. Also called "trips" or "a set." It ranks above two pair and below a straight.
Between two such hands, the hand with the higher ranking matched set wins. If both have the same matched set (this is possible only in games with wild cards or community cards), then the kickers are compared to break the tie.
* 8♠ 8♥ 8♦ 5♠ 3♣ ("three eights" or "trip eights") defeats 5♣ 5♥ 5♦ Q♦ 10♣ ("three fives")
* 8♠ 8♥ 8♦ A♣ 2♦ ("three eights, ace kicker") defeats 8♠ 8♥ 8♦ 5♠ 3♣ ("three eights, five, three")
In Texas hold 'em, a set usually refers to a three of a kind in which two of the cards are in the player's hand and the third is on the board, whereas trips more often refers to one card in the player's hand and two on the board. Three of a kind suggests either.
Strip Poker - Rank of Hands - Two Pair
A poker hand such as J♥ J♣ 4♣ 4♠ 9♠, which contains two cards of the same rank, plus two cards of another rank (that match each other but not the first pair), plus one unmatched card, is called two pair. It ranks above one pair and below three of a kind.
Between two such hands, the higher ranking pair of each is first compared, and the higher pair wins. If both have the same top pair, then the second pair of each is compared. Finally, if both hands have the same two pairs, the kicker determines the winner.
These hands are be referred to in speech, for example, as "jacks and fours" or "jacks over fours" or just "jacks on the roof" or "jacks up" (the latter is common in games where the smaller pair is rarely needed to break ties, so it doesn't need to be mentioned most of the time). Two small pairs with ranks between 2 and 9 are also sometimes referred to by the two-digit number they make: sevens and fives, for example, might be called a "seventy-five".
* K♥ K♦ 2♣ 2♦ J♥ ("kings up") defeats J♦ J♠ 10♠ 10♣ 9♠ ("jacks up")
* 9♣ 9♦ 7♦ 7♠ 6♥ ("nines and sevens") defeats 9♥ 9♠ 5♥ 5♦ K♣ ("nines and fives" or "ninety-five")
* 4♠ 4♣ 3♠ 3♥ K♦ ("fours and threes, king kicker") defeats 4♥ 4♦ 3♦ 3♣ 10♠ ("fours and threes with a ten")
Note in particular here that the general rule about poker hands having only five cards often comes into play. If you are playing a seven-card game and have, for example, 10♣ 10♦ 8♦ 8♥ 4♣ 4♠ Q♦, the highest poker hand you can make is two pair: 10♣ 10♦ 8♦ 8♥ Q♦. The extra 4♣ 4♠ are of no consequence because you can't squeeze them into a five-card hand.
Strip Poker - Rank of Hands - One Pair
One pair is a poker hand such as 4♥ 4♠ K♠ 10♦ 5♠, which contains two cards of the same rank, plus three unmatched cards. It ranks above any no pair hand, but below all other poker hands.
Between two such hands, the hand with the higher ranking pair wins. If two hands have the same rank of pair, the third card in each hand (called the kicker or side card) is compared in the manner as no-pair hands.
* 10♣ 10♠ 6♠ 4♥ 2♥ ("pair of tens") defeats 9♥ 9♣ A♥ Q♦ 10♦ ("pair of nines")
* 10♥ 10♦ J♦ 3♥ 2♣ ("tens with jack kicker") defeats 10♣ 10♠ 6♠ 4♥ 2♥
* 2♦ 2♥ 8♠ 5♣ 4♣ ("pair of deuces, eight-five-four") pushes against 2♣ 2♠ 8♣ 5♥ 3♥ ("deuces, eight-five-three")
In some games, the kicker becomes very important (typically community card games like Texas hold 'em), while in other games (such as draw poker) it is almost never significant. Nonetheless, it is always used if needed.
Strip Poker - Rank of Hands - High Card
A no-pair or high-card hand is a poker hand such as K♥ J♣ 8♣ 7♦ 3♠, in which no two cards have the same rank, the five cards are not in sequence, and the five cards are not all the same suit. It can also be referred to as "nothing" or "garbage," and many other derogatory terms. It ranks below all other poker hands.
Two such hands are ranked by comparing the highest ranking card; if those are equal, then the next highest ranking card; if those are equal, then the third highest ranking card, etc.
No-pair hands are often described by the one or two highest cards in the hand, such as "king high" or "ace-queen high", or by as many cards as are necessary to break a tie.
* A♦ 10♦ 9♠ 5♣ 4♣ ("ace high") defeats K♣ Q♦ J♣ 8♥ 7♥ ("king high")
* A♣ Q♣ 7♦ 5♥ 2♣ ("ace-queen") defeats A♦ 10♦ 9♠ 5♣ 4♣ ("ace-ten")
* 7♠ 6♣ 5♣ 4♦ 2♥ ("seven-six-five-four") defeats 7♣ 6♦ 5♦ 3♥ 2♣ ("seven-six-five-three")
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