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Poker Hand Rankings
 


Poker Hand Rankings:

A deck of traditional playing cards consist of 52 cards. The ranking of the individual cards run from highest in value to lowest in value. Ace, king, queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. There is no ranking among suits or cards such as spades, hearts, clubs, or diamonds, therefore the Ace of spades does not beat the Ace of hearts. All suits have equal value.

A normal poker hand usually consists of five cards, however this may vary depending on the variation of the poker game. The very first ranking of hands begins with the highest card or cards known as the “high card” such as an ace being the highest value without having at least a pair. There for an Ace beats a King and so on. When the highest cards are equal; the second cards are compared. This is often known as a “kicker”. For example AQJ109, is a higher ranking hand than AQJ108.

1). Pair
A hand with two cards of equal rank and three other cards which do not match is known as a pair. When comparing two such hands, the hand with the higher pair is better - so for example 6-6-4-3-2 beats 5-5-A-K-Q. If the pairs are equal, compare the highest ranking odd cards from each hand as mentioned above; if these are equal compare the second highest odd card, and if these are equal too compare the lowest odd cards. So J-J-A-6-5 beats J-J-A-6-4 because the 5 beats the 4.

2). Two Pairs

Two pairs, consists of two pairs(cards or equal rank) For example, K-K-Q-Q-J . When comparing hands with two pairs, the hand with the highest pair wins, irrespective of the rank of the other cards - so J-J-2-2-4 beats 10-10-9-9-8 because the jacks beat the tens. If the higher pairs are equal, the lower pairs are compared. Remember that a pair of Aces is the highest pair so a hand of two pair such as A-A-2-2-3 beats K-K-Q-Q-A. This concept is particularly important in a game like Texas Holdem where the community cards can make two pair for the player.

3). Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same rank plus two other cards. This combination is also known as hitting a Set or Trips. Remember that the rank or value of the cards that make the three of a kind determines the winner. For example 5-5-5-3-2 beats 4-4-4-A-K. If you have to compare two three of a kind where the sets of three are of equal rank, then the higher of the two remaining cards in each hand are compared, and if those are equal, the lower odd card is compared.

4). Straight
Five cards of different suits in sequential order - for example Q-J-10-9-8. When comparing two straits, the one with the higher top card is the better strait. Ace can count high or low in a straight, but not both at once. A-K-Q-J-10, often called Broadway and 5-4-3-2-A, often called a wheel are both valid straights, but 2-A-K-Q-J is not. 5-4-3-2-A is the lowest kind of straight, the top card being the five.

5). Flush
A flush consists of five cards of the same suit, in no particular sequential order. When comparing two flushes, the highest card determines which is higher. If the highest cards are equal then the second highest card is compared; if those are equal as well, then the third highest card is compared, etc, etc. For example K- J- 9- 3- 2 beats K- J- 7- 6- 5 because the nine beats the seven. The ace high flush is the best type of flush one can have, because no card has a higher value than an ace. In a game like Texas Holdem where community cards are shared amongst players, often the ace card that will be used to complete a flush will be on the board. When this happens, the player with the next highest card of the suit, lets say spades will make the flush that will win. In the aforementioned example the player with the King of spades plus three other spades in their hand will have the best flush.

6). Full House
A Full House consists of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. For example, three fives and two Kings (commonly known as "fives full of Kings" or more specifically "fives on Kings"). When comparing full houses, the rank of the three cards determines which is higher. For example A-A-A-2-2 beats K-K-K-A-A. If the threes of a kind were equal, the rank of the pairs would decide. An example of this would be Q-Q-Q-5-5 would beat Q-Q-Q-4-4 because fives have a higher value than four’s.

7). Four of a kind
Four of a kind is self explanatory, four cards of the same rank. For example, four queens. The fifth card can be anything. This combination is sometimes known as "quads". Between two fours of a kind, the one with the higher set of four cards is higher - so 3-3-3-3-A is beaten by 4-4-4-4-2. It can't happen in standard poker, but if in some other game you need to compare two fours of a kind where the sets of four cards are of the same rank such as in Texas Holdem then the one with the higher fifth card is better. An example of this would be K-K-K-K-A would beat K-K-K-K-Q.

8). Straight Flush
A Strait Flush consists of five cards of the same suit in sequence - such as 10- 9- 8- 7- 6. Between two straight flushes, the one containing the higher top card is higher. An ace can be counted as low, so 5- 4- 3- 2- A is a straight flush, but its top card is the five, not the ace, so it is the lowest type of straight flush. Similar to a regular strait, cards cannot turn the corner, such as 4- 3- 2- A- K is not a valid strait.10. Royal Flush
The Royal Flush is the “Mack Daddy” of all poker hands regardless of the type of poker game. It is unbeatable and the highest ranking hand there is in poker. The royal flush consists of A- K- Q- J- -10, all in the same suit. As all suits are equal, all royal flushes are equal. Some people may think that the Royal Flush of spades is the most beautiful Royal Flush and thus sentimental to many people. As Royal Flush’s almost never ever happen, if you do get lucky enough to get one thank the stars and get ready to check raise the poor guy sitting across from you.

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