Poker is one of the world’s most popular card games, the most popular form of which is Texas Hold’em. The aim is to make the best five card poker hand from any combination of the seven cards – the five "community" cards and their two "hole" cards – from a standard deck of 52 cards. Your hole cards are entirely unique to you, no other player can have the same cards as you do.
An Ace is the highest ranking card in poker, followed by King, Queen and Jack, after this comes the numerical cards from 10 down to 2. The four suits are all equal in value.
All of the possible card combinations that can win a hand of poker are ranked in order from best to worst. We’ll outline each of these hand rankings in detail below. At the end of each hand that is played, whichever player (remaining in the hand) that has achieved the best ranking combination of cards wins.
If you want a brief overview of hand rankings as part of a wider guide, or want to learn how to play a hand of poker from start to finish, check out our How to Play Guide.
A Royal Flush is the highest possible hand in poker. Made up of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten, all of which need to be the same suit. The odds of getting a Royal Flush is over 650,000/1, so don’t go expecting one any time soon!
Next comes a Straight Flush, which is made up of 5 cards in any other consecutive order. All cards need to be the same suit. An Ace can act as a low card here in order to make a straight, i.e. A-2-3-4-5. If more than one player makes a Straight Flush, the highest one wins.
A Four of a Kind, often known as ‘Quads’, is when a player has four cards of the same rank. For example, four Aces. It doesn’t matter what the fifth and final card is here. If more than one player makes a Four of a Kind, the highest one wins.
A Full House is made up of a Three of a Kind and a pair combined. If more than one player makes a Full House, the player holding the highest value three card set wins. If both players have the same three card set – for example if the three cards are all community cards, then the player holding the highest two matching cards combined with them wins.
A Flush is made up of five cards all of the same suit, regardless of what their rank is. If more than one player makes a Flush, the player holding the highest individual card of that suit wins. If both players have the same highest card, the second highest is used to decide the hand and so on.
A Straight is made up of five cards in consecutive order, which can be of any suit. An Ace can act as a high or low card here in order for a Straight to be made, for example A-2-3-4-5 or A-K-Q-J-10. If more than one player makes a Straight, the player holding the highest straight wins. If both players have the same high card, the pot is split.
A Three of a Kind, often known as ‘Trips’, is when a player has three cards of the same rank. For example, three Kings. The two other cards can be of any value. If more than one player makes a Three of a Kind, the highest one wins.
To make a Two Pair, a player must have two individual pairs of cards of the same rank, for example a pair of Queens and a pair of Nines. If more than one player makes a Two Pair, the player who has the highest of the pairs wins. If both players have the same high pair, whoever has the highest second pair wins. If both players have the same Two Pair, the player with the highest ranking fifth card wins.
One Pair, also known as a single pair, is made up of one individual pair of cards of the same rank, for example a pair of Jacks. If more than one player makes a One Pair, the player who has the highest of the pairs wins. If both players have the same One Pair, the player with the next highest ranking individual card wins, known as a ‘Kicker’.
If no player can make any of the hands above, the hand is decided by the High Card. Whichever player has the highest ranking individual card wins the hand.
They are the 10 different hand rankings that can be achieved in poker! If you think it’ll be useful to have this on screen or printed and kept with you during your first few games before you begin to memorise the order and it becomes second nature, you can find a downloadable version of all the hand rankings as a single chart in our Useful Resources section.
A beginner's guide to Texas Hold'em Poker
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