Online Poker Hand Rankings Guide and Tips

If you’re new to online poker, you’re going to need to know how the different possible hands in poker rank. For the purposes of this explanation, let us assume that you are playing the most common version of the game, Texas Hold ‘Em – this means you’ll have two cards in your hand, also called the ‘hole’, or ‘pocket’, and you’ll see five ‘common’ cards laid down on the table. Here are the hands you can make, in ascending order.

High Card

This is very straightforward. If neither of your two cards matches what’s on the table, your only chance is to hope you have a higher card than your opponents.

For example, if you have the 8 of Diamonds and the Jack of Spades, while your opponent has the 4 of Clubs and the 7 of Hearts, you would win the hand – your ‘Jack High’ is higher than your opponent’s 7 in online poker.

A Pair

If a card comes down on the table that matches one that’s in your hand, you have a pair. Likewise, if you have two of the same card in your hand, you also have a pair, one that can be improved upon once the ‘common’ cards are dealt. If two players have nothing more than a pair, the player with the higher pair will win the hand. If two players have the same pair, the player with the higher remaining three cards in their five-card hand will win.

For example, if you have an 8 in your hand and your opponent has a Queen, and the first three ‘common’ cards – known as the ‘flop’ – are an 8, a Queen, and a 3, your opponent would win with a pair of Queens to your 8s. However, if another player had two Kings in their hand, they would win.

Two Pair

For example, if your hand is a 4 and a Jack, and the flop is a 4, a 9 and a Jack, you have ‘two pair, 4s and Jacks’. If your opponent had ‘two pair, 4s and 9s’, you would win the hand – however, if your opponent had ‘two pair, 9s and Jacks’, they would win – you both have the same higher pair, while your opponent has the better low pair.

Three Of A Kind

Also known as a ‘set’, or ‘trips’, three of a kind is fairly self-explanatory. If you have a pocket pair that matches a card in the flop, or if two cards the same come down in the flop and match a card in your hand, you have three of a kind. The player with the highest three of a kind wins.

A Straight

A straight is five consecutive cards, of any suit. This usually requires a card from the ‘turn’ (the card after the flop) or the ‘river’ (the card after that, the last of the five ‘common’ cards) to help you out – ‘flopping’ a straight is rare. The player with the higher straight wins.

A Flush

A flush consists of five cards of the same suit, of any value. Once again, this often requires a card from the turn or the river to help you out. The player with the highest card as a part of the flush wins.

For example if you have the Ace and 4 of Hearts in your hand and the flop is two Hearts and a Club, you are one card from a flush – if the turn is a Heart, you then have an ‘Ace high’ Flush. If your opponent has the King and 8 of Hearts, you win – your flush is higher than theirs.

A Full House

A full house consists of three of a kind plus a pair. This requires two or more of the same card to come down in the ‘common’ cards, plus one player to either have a pocket pair, or two cards corresponding to cards on the table. If two players have a full house – a common occurrence if two pairs of the same card come down in the ‘common’ cards – then the one with the higher group of three cards wins.

For example, if you have pocket Aces, and the flop is Ace, 4, 6, you have three Aces. However, if the turn is another 4, you have a full house, referred to as ‘Aces full of 4s’. If another player has a 4 and a 6, they now also have a full house – ‘4s full of 6s’, which is beaten by your hand.

Four Of A Kind

Also referred to as ‘quads’, this hand involves all four of the same card being in play at once, either through three of the same ‘common’ card matching a card in your hand, or two matching a pocket pair.

For example, if you have pocket Kings and two Kings come down in the flop, you have four Kings. However, if the other three cards in the ‘common’ group are Aces, and your opponent has an Ace, you lose, to ‘quad Aces’, an extremely rare hand.

A Straight Flush

According to casino and gambling website, a straight flush, a very uncommon hand, requires a hand of five consecutive cards of the same suit. This hand is extremely rare, and is thus the best hand in poker.

For example, if you have the 8 and the 9 of Hearts in your hand, and the 10, Jack, and Queen of Hearts come down in the flop, you have a straight flush. It is almost certain that you have won the hand.

A Royal Flush

The only hand in poker that could beat the straight flush mentioned above would be if one player had the King and Ace of Hearts in their hand. This would make a royal flush, the highest possible straight flush, and therefore the best form of the best hand in poker. The odds of hitting a royal flush in any random poker hand are 649,740 to 1.

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