Basic Hand Ranking
There are 52 cards in a deck, the ranking of the
individual cards, from high to low, is ace, king,
queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. There is
no ranking between the suits - so for example the
king of hearts and the king of spades are equal.
hand consists of five cards. The categories of poker
hands, from highest to lowest, are listed below.
Any poker hand in a higher category beats any poker
hand in a lower category (so for example any three
of a kind beats any two pairs) Between poker hands
in the same category the rank of the individual
cards decides which is better, as described in more
where a player has more than five cards and selects
five to form a poker hand, the remaining cards do
not play any part in the ranking. Poker ranks are
always based on five cards only.
This is the highest poker hand. It
consists of ace, king, queen, jack, ten, all in
the same suit. As all suits are equal, all royal
flushes are equal.
Five cards of the same suit in sequence
- such as J-10-9-8-7. Between two straight flushes,
the one containing the higher top card is best.
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.
The cards cannot "turn the corner": 4-3-2-A-K is
Four of a kind
Four cards of the same rank - such
as four queens. The fifth card can be anything.
This combination is sometimes known as "quads,"
and in some parts of Europe it is called a "poker,"
though this term for it is unknown in English. 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, then the one with the higher fifth
card is better.
This consists of three cards of one
rank and two cards of another rank - for example
three sevens and two tens (colloquially known as
"sevens full" or more specifically "sevens over
tens"). When comparing full houses, the rank of
the three cards determines which is higher. For
example 9-9-9-4-4 beats 8-8-8-A-A. If the threes
of a kind were equal, the rank of the pairs would
Five cards of the same suit. 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
too, then the third highest card, and so on. For
example K-J-8-3-2 beats K-J-7-6-5 because the eight
beats the seven.
Five cards of mixed suits in sequence
- for example Q-J-10-9-8. When comparing two sequences,
the one with the higher ranking top card is better.
Ace can count high or low in a straight, but not
both at once, so A-K-Q-J-10 and 5-4-3-2-A are 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
Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same rank plus two
other cards. This combination is also known as Triplets
or Trips. When comparing two threes of a kind the
hand in which the three equal cards are of higher
rank is better. So for example 5-5-5-3-2 beats 3-3-3-K-Q.
If you have to compare two threes 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.
is two cards of equal rank. In a hand with two pairs,
the two pairs are of different ranks (otherwise
you would have four of a kind), and there is an
odd card to make the hand up to five cards. When
comparing hands with two pairs, the poker 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, so that
for example 8-8-6-6-3 beats 8-8-5-5-K. Finally,
if both pairs are the same, the odd cards are compared,
so Q-Q-5-5-8 beats Q-Q-5-5-6.
with two cards of equal rank and three other cards
which do not match these or each other. 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 poker hand; 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-9-3
beats J-J-A-8-7 because the 9 beats the 8.
Five cards which do not form any
of the combinations listed above. When comparing
two such hands, the one with the better highest
card wins. If the highest cards are equal the second
cards are compared; if they are equal too the third
cards are compared, and so on. So A-J-9-5-3 beats
A-10-9-6-4 because the jack beats the ten.