Poker Card 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Poker Hand Rankings Across Poker Games

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Poker hand rankings are the order of poker hands from highest to lowest. They are used in poker games to determine who wins the pot, whether in a cash game or tournament format.

Poker hand rankings are important because they provide a standard by which all poker players can understand who has the winning hand in any given situation.

There are many different poker games, each with its unique hand rankings. The most popular poker games are Texas Hold’em and Omaha, but variations include lowball poker games like Razz, which follow a different hand hierarchy.

This article will cover the order of poker hands for the most popular poker games. By the end of this quick guide, you will better understand poker hand rankings and how they are used in different poker games.

Common Poker Hand Rankings

There are several ways to rank poker hands, but the most commonly used is the high-to-low system in popular poker games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha.

There are 10 different card combinations in this system, the rank of each determined by the highest card in that hand.

Here’s a complete list based on poker hand strength, from highest to lowest:

Royal Flush

The highest poker hand is made up of the following cards: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten, all of which are in the same suit.

The rest of the poker hand hierarchy in descending order are as follows:

Straight Flush

Five sequential cards of the same suit (e.g., 5 of clubs, 6 of clubs, 7 of clubs, 8 of clubs, and 9 of clubs)

Four of a Kind

Four cards of an identical rank (e.g., 9 of spades, 9 of hearts, 9 of diamonds, and 9 of clubs)

Full House

Three cards of a similar rank, with two more cards of another rank (e.g., 3 aces and 2 kings)

Flush

Five non-sequential cards of the same suit (e.g., 2 of clubs, 6 of clubs, 10 of clubs, Jack of clubs, and Ace of clubs)

Straight

Five sequential cards of different suits (e.g., 3 of clubs, 4 of spades, 5 of hearts, 6 of diamonds, and 7 of clubs)

Three of a Kind

Three cards of a similar rank (e.g., 7 of clubs, 7 of spades, and 7 of hearts)

Two Pair

Two pairs of cards, each of a different rank (e.g., Ace of clubs and Ace of hearts, with King of diamonds and King of spades)

One Pair

A pair of cards of identical rank (e.g., 9 of clubs and 9 of hearts)

High Card

The tenth highest poker hand is made up of any five cards that do not form any of the above poker hands. The highest card in the hand is used to determine the rank of this poker hand (e.g., Ace of spades, 9 of diamonds, 8 of hearts, 7 of clubs, and 6 of spades).

Lowball Poker Hand Rankings

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There are also poker games that use lowball poker hand rankings. Lowball poker is a variation of poker where the lowest hand wins the pot instead of the highest.

The most common type of lowball poker is called Ace-to-Five lowball, where the Ace is always considered low, and the Five is considered high.

The poker hand rankings in Ace-to-Five lowball are as follows—this is the same hierarchy of poker hands observed in the game Razz:

Five Low / Wheel

The lowest and best poker hand is made up of an Ace, a Two, Three, Four, and Five, not necessarily of the same suit.

The rest of the lowball poker hands rank in descending order as follows:

Six Low

Five cards of different suits that include a Six as the highest card (e.g., 3 of clubs, 4 of hearts, 6 of diamonds, 2 of spades, and Ace of clubs)

Seven Low

Five cards of different suits that include a Seven as the highest card (e.g., 3 of clubs, 5 of hearts, 7 of diamonds, 2 of spades, and Ace of clubs)

Eight Low

Five cards of different suits that include an Eight as the highest card (e.g., 4 of clubs, 5 of hearts, 8 of diamonds, 2 of spades, and Ace of clubs)

In Deuce-to-Seven lowball poker, the Deuce (2) is always considered low, and the Seven is always considered high.

The poker hand rankings in Deuce-to-Seven lowball poker are as follows:

Seven Low

The lowest and best poker hand is made up of a Deuce, Three, Four, Five, and Seven not necessarily of the same suit.

Aces are always high in this type of poker, so the next best hands after a Seven Low are:

Eight Low

Five cards of different suits that include an Eight as the highest card (e.g., 4 of clubs, 5 of hearts, 8 of diamonds, 3 of spades, and 2 of clubs)

Nine Low

Five cards of different suits that include a Nine as the highest card (e.g., 5 of clubs, 7 of hearts, 9 of diamonds, 3 of spades, and 2 of clubs)

Ten Low

Five cards of different suits that include a Ten as the highest card (e.g., 6 of clubs, 7 of hearts, 10 of diamonds, 2 spades, and 4 of clubs)

Determining Winners Based on Poker Hands

Winners of poker hands are determined based on these poker hand hierarchies. The player with the highest poker hand wins the pot.

In case of a tie—that is, if two or more players have the same hands—the pot is awarded to the player with the highest card in their hand. If the highest cards are a tie, then the second highest card is used, and so on.

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Poker games use different variations of poker hand hierarchies, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the poker hand rankings specific to the game you’re playing.

Knowing poker hand rankings is also vital because it will help you understand what kind of hands to play and when to fold. For example, if you’re playing a game of Texas Hold’em and you have two pair, you know this is an excellent hand to play because it has a chance of making a full house or four of a kind—two strong poker hands.

On the other hand, if you have a hand like 7-2 offsuit, you know to play carefully since significantly more hands can beat you.

Learning poker hand rankings is a great first step toward understanding and successfully playing the game. Once you know how cards are ranked per game, you can start learning poker strategies and tips to increase your chances of winning.

There you have it! A helpful guide to poker hand rankings across poker games. We hope you can use this knowledge to your advantage at your next game, be it in a live tournament or an online match on sites like GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. Good luck!