Poker Hands Ranked – From High Card to Royal Flush

Poker is an engaging mix of strategy, skill and chance – an essential skill in improving any player’s game. Knowing how to rank poker hands will allow you to develop better strategies.

High Card is the basic poker hand. This comprises one pair of equal rank cards. If two players possess identical high cards, then the one with the highest kicker wins.

High Card

Royal Flushs can claim the bulk of any poker pot. Consisting of five consecutive cards of one suit – Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten – they represent one of the strongest hands available and should be treated as such in any game of poker.

There are various categories of poker hands, and any hand that falls into a higher category (ie, one pair vs two pairs) will beat those in lower categories (so two pairs beat one pair). Furthermore, card ranks play an integral part in each category something which becomes evident as you gain more experience playing poker.

Downloading a poker hands chart as a reference when learning the rankings can be invaluable for quick identification of how your hands stack up against those of your opponents, and for resolving ties or special situations.

Straight Flush

Straight poker hands consist of five consecutively numbered cards in at least two different suits, such as Q J 10 9 8. When comparing these hands, the one with the highest card wins when comparing two straights that share that high card; any two containing similar high cards must then be ranked according to their middle and low card rankings so that one with a higher ranking emerges (for instance A-2-7-J-8 beats K-10-6-4-5).

Royal flush is the highest natural poker hand and requires four cards of one suit to make. While making such a combination is very rare, when accomplished it becomes extremely powerful.

The two strongest non-pair poker hands are king-queen suited and pocket tens suited. Both starting hands can produce strong top pairs as well as straights and flushes; their strength depends on other cards in play as well, therefore it is essential to read all card combinations that have already come into play before starting your hand.

Four of a Kind

Four of a Kind, which comprises four cards of equal rank, is the second-best poker hand after Flush or Straight and can only be bested by Full House and Royal Straight Flush hands.

When it comes to Four of a Kind hands, rank or denomination is what determines which hand wins – for instance 4 Kings would beat 4 Tens in this instance.

Three of a Kind is defined as three cards of equal value across three suits, and two pairs of the same rank card in two distinct suits – such as three sevens and two tens – in which all suits match, along with any pair that’s identical – such as three sevens and two tens. This hand will beat Two Pair, One Pair and High Card; however it must still be played cautiously against opponents with better hands so it is wise to know poker hand rankings and read tables so as to decide whether it’s wise to call an opponent’s bet or fold.

Two Pair

As soon as you begin playing poker, one of the key concepts to grasp is hand rankings. Although there are various aspects of the game – betting, bluffing and pot equity among them – to master, learning how hands rank is essential in building up any player’s experience and expertise.

Two Pair is a poker hand that comprises two sets of identical-rank, different-suit cards that rank the same and belong to different suits. It ranks below three-of-a-kind and one pair, but higher than High Card; however, two pair hands may still lose to board pairings.

In an encounter between players who hold identical hands, rank of the higher pair is taken into account first; otherwise if there’s a tie then kickers come into play to determine who wins. They don’t factor into ranking two similar pairs though they do impact how poker hands compare against one another; for instance JJ beats 9-9 when its kicker is 5 otherwise its considered a tie.

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