07-13-07, LearnTexasHoldem:

Texas Hold'em Hand Rankings

The following is a list of texas hold'em poker hand rankings from the strongest (Royal Flush) to the weakest (High Card). If you're looking for starting hand information, see our starting hand guide!

The hand ranking is the most basic element of the texas hold'em rules, and the first thing you should learn before you start playing the game.

If you don't know what beats what, your poker game won't be a very enjoyable experience. The texas hold'em hand ranking is the same as in other common poker games, such as Seven Card Stud, Omaha and Draw Poker.

You should keep in mind that all the suits have exactly the same value in Texas Hold'em and other poker games. Consequently, a flush of spades is worth just as much as a flush of hearts or a flush of diamonds.

Another important concept is the kicker. The kicker is used when two players have made the same poker hand, for example a pair of aces. In a case like that, the player with the highest side card wins the pot. One player might have a king in his hand while the other one has a queen - the player with the king in his hand wins the pot.

If you want to try other poker games, PokerStars offers great game variety: Omaha and Seven-Card Stud in all versions, H.O.R.S.E., H.O.S.E., 2-7 Triple Draw, Five-Card Draw, Razz, 2-7 Single Draw Lowball, Badugi, 8-Game, Mixed Hold'em and Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo.

  • Royal Straight Flush

    This is the daddy of all hands and even if you play often, you will rarely see one. It's similar to a hole in one in golf. It is made of up all of the same suite, ten through Ace. It is a straight and a flush and the royal part comes from it being made up of the highest cards too.

  • Straight Flush

    While not as magical as the royal straight flush, the straight flush still is a rariety. It is made up of 5 cards of the same suite ranked in succession. For example 6-10, or A-5 (Ace can play both high and low in straights).

  • Four Of A Kind

    This is self-explanatory. A four of a kind ocurrs when you have all the cards of one type.

  • Full House

    A full house happens when you have both three of a kind and also a pair. To determine if one full house higher ranked then another, first look at the three cards of the same kind. The one that is larger wins. If they both are the same then you'll have to compare the two cards.

    For example: Jacks full of fours (JJJ, 44) beats 9s full of Aces (999, AA) Jacks full of tens (JJJ, TT) beats Jacks full of nines (JJJ, 99). Full houses in texas hold'em are nice hands and you will most likely see someone show one down everytime you play.

  • Flush

    A flush occurs when you have five of the same suite. If the cards were also in succession (like a straight), then it would be a straight flush. To determine which flush wins if there are more then one in a hand, then the person with the highest card in their hand wins.

    In the example below, the person has a ten high flush. This would beat someone with a nine high flush and below. Flushes are pretty common in hold'em.

  • Straight

    A straight occurs when a player has five cards in ranked succession. Note that an Ace can play both as a high card or a low card. Note the two examples below. Straights are also very common in hold'em.

  • Three Of A Kind

    Three of a kind is a nice hand. There are two different names for three of a kind hands and it depends on whether you have two of them on the board, or a pair in your hand. They both rank the same but to be a savy player you should know the difference.

    If you have a pocket pair and hit one on the flop then it is called a "set". If you have two cards on the flop and only one in your hand then it is called three of a kind.

  • Two Pair

    Two pair is when your best five cards create a pair twice. That seems easy enough right? When comparing two hands both with two pair then the larger one always wins. For example:
    - AA 22 would beat KK JJ
    - 88 33 would beat 77 66

  • One Pair

    One pair is the hand you'll be getting the most and trying to win with the most. Top pair is usually the hand you'll be betting and trying to win some pots with. When more then one person has the same pair, then the "kickers" come in to play.

    Remember texas hold'em uses the best five cards so the following is true: Ah, Ac, Jc, 6d, 4d would lose to Ad, As, Jd, 6c, 5d. Notice how the 5 beats the 4 (best five cards makes a hand).

  • High Card

    The high card hand is the lowest non pair hand. Sometimes Ace high can win, but in the low limit games it is very rare. In the example below, the high card is K. So you would have "king high". You would beat someone if they had "queen high" or below but even a pair of deuces would beat you!


Enough talking! Take me to a poker room now!