For those new to the game of Poker, understanding the Poker hand rankings can be the most difficult part of the game. The object of this article is to clear up the confusion regarding Poker hand ranking and, hopefully, avert some of the hurt feeling and flaming associated with going all-in thinking you had a winning hand, only to find you lost your whole kitty.
The Basics of Ranking a Poker Hand
Here is where the fun begins; five cards that decide whether you win or lose the game. How does it work? The strength of your hand is determined by the cards in it and their values. Multiple cards of different suits but identical ranks (think four Aces or a pair of Sevens) or multiple cards of the same suit and consecutive ranks (think Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of Spades) constitute strong hands in Poker. Hands can also be ranked by having a selection of cards all from the same suit with a High card (High card is the card with the highest rank in ones hand). For the purposes of this article, we will discuss the Standard Poker hand rankings.
The Standard Poker hand rankings begin with the Straight Flush. This is the poker player’s friend. With forty possible variations, the likelihood of being dealt a Straight Flush is about 0.00154% with four possible Royal Flushes in the category. A Royal Flush is a Straight Flush with an Ace for the High card. The Royal Flush is the highest Poker hand ranking and wins the game.
A slightly more likely (0.024%) hand to be dealt is the Four of a Kind. Just as the name implies, Four of a Kind comprises four cards of identical ranking with a fifth unrelated card. The only Poker hand ranking that can defeat the Four of a Kind is a Straight Flush.
Going down the line, a Full House (with a 0.144% likelihood of being dealt) is the next strongest Poker hand ranking. It consists of three cards of one rank and two of another, like three Tens and a pair of Fours. In the event that more than one player is dealt a Full House, the score determined by adding the face values of the cards determines the winners. For example, three Aces and two Fours would defeat three Aces and two Threes.
Further along the road, we encounter the Flush, which can be expected from the dealer 0.20% of the time. This poker hand is comprised of five cards from the same suit but not in ranking order. It is announced by its High card, as in Ace-High Flush. In the event of two players having a Flush, the total face value of the cards is used to determine the winner.
A Straight has a likelihood of 0.39% for being dealt in the game of Poker. Consisting of five cards in ascending rank, the Straight comes in 10,240 possible combinations.
The next strongest Poker hand ranking is the Three of a Kind. This hand consists of three cards of the same rank paired with any two unrelated cards. There is a 2.11% chance of being dealt a Three of a Kind in a fair game of Poker.
Next, we have Two Pair. This self explanatory hand, along with its slightly less powerful partner, One Pair, are amongst the most likely winning Poker hand rankings. The Two Pair will be dealt 4.75% of the time while the One Pair has a whopping 42.27% chance of being dealt.
The final Standard Poker hand ranking is that of High Card. Quite simply, when you have nothing of value in your hand, the highest card in your hand is the High Card. This hand is not likely to win but sometimes a bluff can carry you through.
Good luck with your Poker playing. Hopefully this article will make things easier to understand.