Poker Hands Ranked – Where Every Hand Sits in the Poker Hierarchy

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If you’re new to poker or card games in general, one of the first things you need to memorize is how poker hands are ranked. No matter what game you play, with few exceptions (like short deck poker), poker hand rankings will be the same.

We’ve put together this at-a-glance guide and go into some more detail about what hands to look out for when you’re playing.

Poker Hand Description Example
Royal Flush A straight from 10 to ace with all cards of a matching suit
10♦ J♦ Q♦ K♦ A♦
Straight Flush A straight with cards of a matching suit
5♥ 6♥ 7♥ 8♥ 9♥
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same value A♦ A♥ A♠ A♣ X
Full House One pair and one set K♦ K♥ 4♦ 4♠ 4♣
Flush Any five cards of the same suit 5♣ 9♣ 10♣ K♣ J♣
Straight Five cards in sequential order, but without matching suits 2♣ 3♦ 4♥ 5♥ 6♠
Three of a Kind (or a Set or Trips)
Three cards of the same value A♦ A♥ A♠ X X
Two Pair
A pair plus another different pair A♠ A♥ 6♣ 6♠ X
Pair (or Two of a Kind)
Two cards of the same value J♣ J♠ X X X
High Card A hand with no other value than that of its highest card K♣ J♠ 2♣ 8♥ 6♠

We’ve put together this poker hand rankings guide and separate explainer on how to play Texas Hold’em. Used together, these guides will help you learn the most important of poker rules and have you ready to get in a game.

Royal Flush

Poker hands - Royal Flush
Image: Wikipedia

To make a royal flush, you must have an ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of the same suit (ex. 8♥A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10♥).

The royal flush is the most powerful hand in the poker hierarchy and sits atop the poker hand rankings. In fact, the odds of getting a royal flush in Texas Hold’em is 649,739:1.

If you get a royal flush, you beat everything and are guanteed to win, whether you’re playing a social game with friends, or a high stakes game at the best online poker sites.

You may also start to believe that poker rules and is the best game on the planet.

Straight Flush

Poker hands - Straight Flush
Image: MathCelebrity

A straight flush is any five sequential cards of the same suit (ex. 9♣ 8♣ 7♣ 6♣ 5♣) and can only be beaten by a royal flush or a better straight flush. A royal flush is, essentially, the best straight flush possible but gets its own name due to its extreme rarity.

If you make a straight flush, you can only be beaten by a better straight flush or a royal flush. In almost all cases, you don’t need to worry about your straight flush losing as the odds of making a straight flush are 72,192.33-to-1.

Four of a Kind

Poker hands - Four of a Kind
Image: Wikimedia Commons

A four of a kind is a hand that contains four cards of the same rank (ex: 4♣ 4♠ 4♦ 4♥ 9♦) and a single card of another rank (the kicker).

A four of a kind, referred to as quads in most circles, can only be beaten by bigger quads, a straight flush, and a royal flush. Again, you shouldn’t worry about losing with quads as the odds of making a four of a kind is 4,164:1.

In fact, at most poker rooms, losing with a four of a kind triggers a very sizable bad beat jackpot, which will often see the “losing” player win anywhere from five to seven figures.

Full House

Poker hands - Full House
Image: iStock

A full house is when you have three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. A full house is ranked by its triplet first and its pair second. A prime example of a full house is 8♠ 8♦ 8♥ 7♦ 7♣, known as eights over sevens. This hand would beat a hand like 7♦ 7♣ 7♠ Q♠ Q♥ due to having the higher triplet.

It’s a very powerful hand and the strongest of what many would deem are the most common poker hands. The odds of making a full house, also known as a boat, are still a whopping 693:1 and you only need to worry about better full houses, quads, straight flushes, and the royal flush.

Some poker rooms have the bad beat jackpot set if you lose with an “aces full” full house, which means when you have a full house that contains three aces.

Flush

Poker hands - Ace-High Flush
Image: Wikimedia Commons

A flush in poker is when you have five cards of the same suit. While a flush beats hands like straights and three of a kind, they lose to higher flushes, full houses, and better. The rank of a flush is determined based on the highest of the five cards. For example, a Q♠️ 5♠️ 4♠️ 3♠️ 2♠️ flush beats J♦️ T♦️ 9♦️ 8♦️ 6♦️.

A flush is much worse in value than a royal flush or a straight flush but is still pretty strong on the overall poker card rankings list. When it comes to Texas hold’em hands, the odds of getting a flush is 507.8-to-1.

Straight

Poker hands - Straight in Poker
Image: Fine Art America / Miroslav Nemecek

A straight is any five cards in sequential order excluding straight flushes and royal flushes (ex. A♦ K♣ Q♣ J♦ 10♠). When straights lose, they usually lose to hands like bigger straights, flushes, and full houses. Straights beat powerful hands like three of a kinds, two pairs, and strong one pair holdings.

Straights are about half as rare as flushes at 253.8-to-1, though they are nearly five-and-a-half times less common than three of a kinds.

Three of a Kind

Poker hands - Three of a Kind
Image: AceHigh Poker

A three of a kind is having three cards of the same rank and two cards of other, unequal ranks, known as kickers.

In Texas Hold’em, making a three of a kind with a pocket pair is known as a set while making a three of a kind with two community cards and one card in your hand is known as trips.

Sets are much more powerful because they’re hidden while trips can look pretty obvious and you can be beaten by trips with a bigger kicker.

The odds of getting a three-of-a-kind is roughly 46.3-to-1. Three of a kinds commonly lose to straights, flushes, and better while they confidently defeat two pair and one pair holdings.

Three of a kind can also win or lose via kickers. For example, a 3♦ 3♠ 3♣ K♠ 2♠ will defeat 3♦ 3♠ 3♣ J♠ 5♦.

Two Pair

Poker hands - Two Pair
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Two pair is having two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank, and one card of a third rank (the kicker). Two pairs commonly beat smaller two pair holds, one pair hands, and high card hands.

A hand like 5♣ 5♠ 3♣ 3♦ Q♠ would be considered “fives over threes” and lose to a hand such as 10♦ 10♠ 2♠ 2♣ 7♣. The odds of making a two pair hand is 20:1.

One Pair

Poker hands - One Pair
Image: Flickr

One pair, or simply a pair, is when you get two cards of the same rank and three cards of different ranks. For example, a 9♣ 9♦ Q♠ J♥ 5♥ hand would be called a pair of nines and beat a hand like 6♦ 6♥ Q♦ 8♥ 3♠, a pair of sixes.

Pairs only beat smaller pairs or unpaired hands and lose to everything else above it. The odds of making a one pair hand are very common, with the chances being roughly 1.37:1.

High Card

Poker hands - King High Poker Hand
Image: Flickr

A high card hand is often described as a junk or nothing hand and only occurs when the five card hand does not fall into any above category. A high card hand contains five cards of different ranks that are not sequential and are not of the same suit.

They do not defeat any other holdings except smaller high card hands.

Conclusion

Now that you have our poker guide with you, you now know all of the poker hands ranked in order.

These rankings do not change for almost all common variants of the game so once you know these you’re ready to learn how to play Omaha poker and a number of other variants of the game that’s easy to learn but impossible to master.

Blaise Bourgeois
Poker and Gambling Expert
Blaise Bourgeois
Poker and Gambling Expert

Blaise is an Expert Gambling Writer and a professional poker player in Brazil. He has played and traveled throughout Latin America for the last four-and-a-half years and recently won his first WSOP Circuit ring! He received his Master's in Sport Management and Sports Analytics from St. John's University. Blaise also holds a Mathematics and Computer Science degree from SUNY Purchase, where he still holds the school's Men's Soccer record for goals in a season. Blaise has worked for Catena Media, OddsSeeker, WSOP, PokerNews, and Poker.Org in various capacities. He has a passion for extensive research and aims to provide accurate…