Guide to Poker Hand Rankings

Guide to Poker Hand Rankings
Reading time: 8 minutes

If you want to improve your poker game, understanding how poker hand rankings work is the best place to start. But it can be a little overwhelming, particularly if you’re new to poker. That’s why our experts have put together this guide to help you learn how poker hands are ranked.

We explain the types of hands in poker and where they rank from strongest to weakest. We’ll also explain the probability of each rank. And let you know about the number of different combinations there are to make up each specific hand.

Let’s start with the different poker hands and their rankings…

Different Poker Hands and their Ranking

Poker hands fall into one of ten different categories, with each one having a different rank in terms of the strength of the hand. Across almost all versions of poker, there is a standard ranking for poker hands (with exceptions being for lowball games and games using a wild card).

Here is a list of the hands in ranking order from strongest to weakest:

royal flush poker hand

A Royal Flush is the strongest poker hand ranking and is thus unbeatable. It is made up of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 of the same suit. There are 4 different combinations for a royal flush (Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs and Spades). The probability of making a royal flush is 30, 939 to 1.

straight flush poker hand

A Straight Flush is the second highest hand ranking in poker. This hand consists of five cards in sequences all in the same suit. There are 36 different combinations of this poker hand. The probability of making a straight flush is 3,437.8 to 1.

four of a kind poker hand

Four-of-a-kind is the third-highest hand ranking in poker. Also known as ‘Quads’, four-of-a-kind is made up of the same card value in 4 different suits. There are 624 different combinations of this hand. The probability of making a Four of a Kind is 594 to 1.

full house poker hand

The fourth strongest hand in poker is a full house. This hand is made up of a pair of the same card ranking and three of a different card ranking (a combination of a pair and a three of a kind). There are 3,744 different combinations for this type of hand. It has a probability of 37.5 to 1.

flush poker hand ranking

A Flush is the fifth strongest poker hand. It comprises five cards in the same suit in any sequence. There are 5,108 different combinations for this hand. The probability of making a normal Flush is 32.1 to 1.

straight poker hand

A straight is the next highest poker hand ranking. It consists of five cards in numerical sequence in any suit. There are 10,200 different combinations for a straight. The probability of making a Straight is 20.6 to 1.

three of a kind poker hand

Three-of-a-kind is the next highest poker hand ranking. Also known as ‘trips’, this hand comprises 3 of the same card value, with two unmatched cards. There are 54,912 different combinations for trips. Three-of-a-kind has a probability of 19.7 to 1.

two pair poker hand ranking

The third weakest hand ranking is two pair. This hand consists of two sets of matching card values, with another random card. There are 123,552 different combinations for a two-pair hand. It was a low probability of 3.26 to 1.

pair poker hand ranking

The second lowest poker hand rank is a pair. This hand consists of one pair of matched card values, along with 3 random and unmatched cards. There are just over one million different combinations for this hand. It has a probability of 1.28 to 1.

High card poker hand

The weakest poker hand is a high-card hand. This is just a random assortment of cards, with the highest card in the hand being played against other opposing hands which are similar. There are just over 1.3 million different combinations for this, with a probability of 4.74 to 1. It was a slightly higher probability of odds due to getting Ace highs.

Poker Hands Rankings Chart

Use the chart below as a reference to learn the poker hands rankings from the strongest to the weakest.

Poker Hand Rankings

Poker Hands Probability

Probability in poker refers to the likelihood of ending up with a certain hand. Because there are so many cards to play with, the possible outcomes are much greater than, say, tossing a coin where you’ll get one of two results – heads or tails.

For example, when you play with a 52-card deck, the odds of getting an Ace as your first card is only 7.7%, while the odds of getting a spade of any value as your first card is 25%.

When you’re playing poker, every card that’s dealt also changes the makeup of the deck. For example, if you receive a King as your first card, it leaves only three additional Kings in the remaining cards, so the odds of getting another King are reduced further.

Let’s look at the probability of getting certain hands, like a straight, flush or four-of-a-kind.

  • A pair: 42%
  • Full House: less than 1% or approximately 0.1441%
  • Royal flush: 1 in 649,740 hands
  • Straight flush: 1 in 72,193 hands
  • Four of a kind: 0.168%
Poker Hand Frequency Probability Odds
Royal Flush 4 0.00% 1 in 649,740
Straight Flush 36 0.00% 1 in 72,193
4-of-a-Kind 624 0.17% 1 in 4,165
Full House 3,744 0.14% 1 in 694
Flush 5,108 0.20% 1 in 509
Straight 10,200 0.39% 1 in 255
3-of-a-Kind 54,912 2.11% 1 in 46
Two Pair 123,552 4.75% 1 in 20
One Pair 1,098,240 42.26% 1 in 3.7
High Card 1,302, 540 50.12% 1 in 1

Playing poker requires various skills, including paying attention to poker math, which can give you an advantage over your opponents and help to improve your game play.

Strategy Tips – Using Poker Hands Ranked

For example, the number of players can determine the strength of a poker hand. Because players choose to remain in the game, you can assume they must have a pretty strong hand to continue playing.

Studying a poker hand rankings chart is a good first step. Once you understand how poker hands are ranked, you’ll be able to use these hand rankings strategically when you next play a game of poker.

Let’s take a look.

Make better decisions

Using poker hand rankings to guide your poker strategy can improve your performance at the table. That’s because understanding hand rankings and learning about which hands are strong and weak helps you to anticipate what moves your opponents are likely to make. It also helps you make smarter plays.

For example, if you’re holding a 2 and an 8, it may be worth folding pre-flop instead of being called by another player with higher-ranked cards.

Understand Your Opponent’s Hand

In poker, an important skill is to try to keep track of what other hands your opponents have. One way you can do this is by knowing about poker hand rankings. And understanding what high-value hands are, such as a Royal Flush, all the way down to the lowest-value hands.

For example, if your opponent is betting aggressively, you might assume they hold a strong hand (unless they’re bluffing). They’re likely to continue to play aggressively until they’ve been beaten. Alternatively, if you’re holding a King and an Ace, but your opponent has Three of a Kind in the flop, you can adjust your strategy and try to outsmart them.

Using poker hand rankings to your advantage helps you to stay one step ahead of your opponents.

Decide When to Play vs When to Fold

Based on our experience playing poker for many years, you can successfully use poker hand rankings to guide your decisions. But for this to work, you’ll need a basic understanding of the different categories of hands in poker.

These include high cards, pairs, two-pair, three-of-a-kind, straight, flush, full house, and four-of-a-kind. Knowing which hands are strong or weak in each category lets you work out which cards you need to play to improve your game play.

For example, if you’re holding a Three of a King, which is typically a strong hand, but the other cards you’re holding are low-ranking cards, it may not be worth playing. It all depends on what your opponents hold.

Determine the Likelihood of Winning

Whether you’re playing Seven Card Stud or Texas Hold’Em, poker hand rankings can help you work out how likely it is for you to win a particular hand. You can do this by assessing the cards in your hand and what cards have already been played.

For example, if you’re holding three Jacks, you could hold the winning hand. But if your opponents also hold a Jack, your chances reduce.

Choose The Right Starting Hand

In our experience, selecting the right starting hand is critical to your poker success. But it’s important to consider your playing style and how you can maximise every opportunity in a game.

One way to help is to use poker hand rankings to guide you. For example, if you like to play aggressively, consider focusing on high-value cards or trying to build one pair or even two pair. These can be some of the best starting hands if you like to take risks and make big bets.

If you’re more cautious, then you may want to stick with lower-value cards to build one pair, and non-suited high-value cards. With these starting hands, you can stay in the game longer, maximising middle or late game plays.

Learn About Implied Odds

Implied odds refer to the potential rewards you can get if you continue with your hand, even if your winning percentage is lower.

For example, let’s say you’re playing in a no-limit Texas Holdem game. If you’ve already put all your chips into the pot but don’t have a strong hand, you can still work out the potential payouts using poker hand rankings. For example, knowing that a Royal flush beats a Straight Flush. But a Straight Flush beats a Three of a Kind.

Understanding hand rankings helps you understand implied odds. Which lets you make better-informed decisions during poker games.

The Bottom Line

Understanding the different poker hands and where they rank from strongest to weakest is the first step to improving your poker game. Knowing the best hands and how to combine them is a surefire way to turn poker into a profitable card game to play at home with family and friends, as well as online on the best poker sites in NZ.

Poker Hands FAQs

What Is the Order of Poker Hands?

In a poker hand rankings chart, the order of poker rankings starting from highest to the lowest is:

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four-of-a-Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three-of-a-Kind
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair
  • High Card

What's the Best Hand in Poker?

A Royal Flush is the best hand in poker. Such hands are pretty rare for poker players to get, which is why the odds are so high: To get a Royal Flush, you need to hold the highest possible straight flush, which is made up of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 - all of the same suit.

What Beats What In Poker?

The easiest way to work out which hands beat another in a game of poker is to take a look at a poker hand rankings chart.

A Royal Flush is the best possible hand, followed by a Straight Flush, which is another powerful hand. Holding only a high card or one pair is one of the lowest-ranking hands you can hold. But it all depends on what cards your opponent is holding. Sometimes, a pair beats another player's hand easily if they've got low-value cards. Or a single high card can also end up a winner.

How Many Poker Hands Are There?

In a game of poker, there are 2,598,960 potential poker hands! That's because a poker game uses a 52-card deck, giving you a huge amount of potential combinations.

Each of the potential hands of poker is equally likely when players are dealt five cards from a standard deck. That's why many poker players use probability to help determine the likelihood of a certain hand, such as five consecutive cards or two pairs.

What Are the Odds of Getting a Royal Flush?

The odds of getting a Royal Flush are about the same as getting a Straight Flush. You can form it four ways (one for each suit). The probability is 0.000154%, and the odds are 649,739:1.

What Happens if Two Poker Hands Are The Same?

If two or more players end up with the same hand, such as two pairs or a pair of Aces, the pot is split between those players.

In Texas Hold'Em, it can be fairly common for your best possible hand to be the same as another player.

How Can I Memorise Poker Hands?

With so many combinations, it can be hard when you're first starting to memorise all the different values and work out if any have the same value or equal value. One method you can use is to create a sentence or phrase that helps you remember the various poker hand rankings.

For example, “Aces are high, but deuces are low” is fairly common to help you remember the Ace-to-Five ranking.

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Noah Adams
Noah Adams
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Noah is the senior content editor at CasinoCrawlers and a writer with many iGaming articles under his portfolio. Therefore, he is skilled at writing bonus guidelines, gambling strategies, and casino reviews. During his spare time, he enjoys playing Call of Duty and is a huge rugby fan.

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