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Texas Hold’em Hand Rankings

Before getting your fill of beginner’s and advanced poker strategy, there is one thing you must know by heart: the poker hand rankings, so here we go, starting with the badest and meanest of monsters and counting down to the feeblest. Remember that all poker hands are made up of 5 cards.

The Royal Flush – this is the granddaddy of them all. Unfortunately, you’re probably not going to come by this fella as often as you’d like to. The chances of hitting a Royal Flush are extremely meager.
A royal flush is a straight flush made up by the highest possible cards: As, Ks, Qs, Js, Ts is an example of a Royal.


Suits do not really count when differentiating between hands in standard poker. In some games though the Diamond is considered the strongest followed by Hearts, Clubs and Spades. Ad, Kd, Qd, Jd, Td will probably end up slitting the pot with the aforementioned hand though as their values are equal. (in standard Texas Holdem, a Royal will never go up against another Royal though).

The Straight Flush – as its name says, this monster is a combination of a straight and a flush. This hand won’t come about often either.
Here’s an example of a straight flush: 3d, 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d.


It’s basically a straight of the same suit. Careful though, a 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d, 8d beats the previous hand. If you lose on something like that though, you’ll probably end up taking down the bad beat jackpot anyway, so I wouldn’t worry.

Four of a kind – this baby is still a monster, although if you’ve played poker or online poker for long enough, you’re likely to already have bumped into it several times.
8d, 8h, 8c, 8s is an example of a four of a kind, (or quads as players often call them).


9d, 9h, 9c, 9s beats the above presented hand. Bad Beat Jackpots usually end at four 8s, so if you lose on four sevens don’t expect chips to rain down on your table.

Full House – also known as a “boat” in poker-circles, a full house is a hand that’ll probably earn you a lot of money (depending on the board texture) every time you bump into it. This is how it looks: Ks, Kd, Kh, 8s, 8c. (kings full of eights)


Be careful with it though if you have the above hand with the 3Ks on the board and the two 8s in the pocket, and there are several raisers around the table you may be very vulnerable with your “boat”. Anyone who has 2 9s, 10s, Js, Qs, Ks and As in the pocket will beat you, not to mention that the guy who has the K who will beat everyone.
In this respect: Ks, Kd, Kh, 9s, 9h beats Ks, Kd, Kh, 8s, 8c
Also: 8s, 8d, 8h, Ks,Kh loses to Ks, Kd, Kh, 8s, 8c

The Flush – is comprised of any 5 cards of the same suit. Here’s an example:
2s, 5s, 7s, 9s, Js.


Be on the look-out for the highest card in your flush because it determines its rank. 2s, 5s, 7s, 9s, Js, for example, loses to 2s, 5s, 7s, 9s, Qs.
If you watched people play poker, you may have heard the expression “nut flush”. The guy with the A of the same suit as the other four cards on the table, in his pocket, has the nut flush, and he’ll probably punish severely all others who draw to a flush, especially the guy with the suited K in his pocket.

The Straight –  The straight is made up of 5 cards of any suit, but of consecutive numeric values. Ex: 3s, 4d, 5h, 6s, 7c


3s, 4d, 5h, 6s, 7c loses to 4d, 5h, 6s, 7c, 8h
The higher the straight, the more it’s worth. The best possible straight is As, Kd, Qc, Jd, Th.
The A counts as one, so As, 2d, 3h, 4d, 5d is a valid flush. Kd, Ah, 2s, 3d, 4c on the other hand, IS NOT.

Three of a kind -  also known as “trips”, this is still a pretty strong poker hand. Get three cards of the same value in your hand like : Js, Jd, Jh, 2s, 5d and you got yourself some trips.


 The bigger the value of the three equal-value cards, the stronger your trips are.
Js, Jd, Jh, 2s, 5d loses to Qs, Qd, Qh, 2s, 5d.
While the trips represent a very strong hand indeed, as you can see there are a quite a few hands that can beat them. Keep your eyes on the board texture to avoid being trapped with them.

Two Pairs – when you get 2 pairs of equal value cards in your hand like so:
8s, 8d, 9s, Jh, Jc,


 you have (you’ve guessed it) two pairs.
Again, the higher the pairs, the stronger the hand. 8s, 8d, 9s, Jh, Jc loses to 8s, 8d, 9s, Qh, Qc,
This hand counts as a true monster in a heads-up game, and a reasonable hand in a short-handed one. It’s cannon-fodder in other situations.

One Pair - the name explains everything here. Here’s the example:
As, Ad, 6d, 8h, 9c


This hand is only good if you make top pair (that is, the highest card on the board pairs with one of your pocket cards) and the board texture doesn’t show anything else. Play it if it’s top pair, muck it if it’s not.
(low pairs can be played in heads-up though)

High Card - this one here is the saddest excuse for a poker hand yet. When you translate it, it basically means: zilch.
Kd, Jh, 2s, 5h, 8c


is such a hand. In this case your high card is a K.

Ad, Jh, 2s, 5h, 8c beats the above hand, because the high card is the A. In short handed games, a high card is sometimes enough to decide the fate of the pot. Do not play this hand unless you’re in a heads-up or short handed game and you have a clear read.

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