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Understanding Poker Hand Rankings

By Hank Blaine

All variations of poker revolve around one universal rule: the hierarchy of winning hands in the game.

We at Nitrobetting are here to assist players through our NitroBetting poker guides. Those who want to understand winning poker hand combinations, read on. We’ll discuss poker hand rankings in this quick guide, with the game’s winning hands ranked from highest to lowest value.

Whether it’s the traditional five-card draw version or the more popular Texas hold ’em, this guide is all aspiring poker players need to know as the basic foundation of learning the game’s fundamentals.

Poker Hand Combinations, Ranked!

There are 10 possible winning hands in poker that all new players will quickly pick up on after a few rounds of play:

1. Royal Flush

The best and most elusive hand in all of poker sits atop our poker hand rankings. A royal flush consists of a hand with A, K, Q, J, and a 10, with all cards sharing the same suit.

It’ll be hard to keep a straight face if you luck into this hand, but you’re probably winning that round regardless of the absolute best draw you could ask for.

2. Straight Flush

Only a royal flush trumps this fantastic hand, with even the lowest-possible straight flush of A, 2 3, 4, and 5 are able to beat pretty much any other winning hand on the table.

3. Four of a Kind

A four-of-a-kind hand is as it exactly sounds; a hand bearing four cards of the same value.

4. Full House

A full house consists of three cards sharing the same value and another set of two cards sharing the same value.

A lot of poker rounds are easily won by players with a full house, and it’s also quite frequent to see two full house hands going up against one another. In the event of a round having two or more hands with full houses, the hand with the stronger three-of-a-kind set wins the pot.

5. Flush

A flush is made up of a five-card hand all sharing the same suit and in no particular sequence or order.

Suited hands in Texas hold ’em games – regardless of the value of the two cards in the player’s hand – make for high upside plays that could outright steal pots from opponents looking to win with high pairs in hand.

6. Straight

A straight consists of a hand with five cards in sequential order, regardless of the cards’ suits. And like the flush hand, a straight hand is best played when the cards a player is dealt are already in sequential order.

In Texas hold ‘em, odds of getting a straight improve even more if a hand has outs to make an “outside straight”, wherein community cards dealt can make a straight by either end of a possible straight combination. This is in contrast to what they call an “inside straight”, wherein a player is hoping for just one particular card that will complete his/her straight.

7. Three of a Kind

From here on out, winning poker hand combinations no longer make up a full five-card hand.

A three-of-a-kind hand contains a set of three cards sharing the same value.

While a three-of-a-kind hand loses to all the five-card winning hands mentioned earlier, it’s still strong enough to trump that of the more common forms of winning hands seen in poker rounds. This leads us to…

8. Two Pair

A two-pair hand consists of a hand with two sets of two cards sharing the same value.

Even though this winning hand requires four cards in comparison to the three-of-a-kind hand which only requires three cards, having two-pair hands does occur more often than the latter.

9. Pair

A hand with a pair consists of two cards sharing the same value.

Given the odds of attaining other winning hands in poker, an opening hand with a strong pair like Kings or Aces often leads to a quick win, especially if the player uses that strong opening hand to his/her advantage with a more aggressive approach towards taking the pot.

10. High Card

A hand that wins mainly on the strength of having the card with the highest value on the table closes out our poker hand rankings.

It takes a huge amount of tough luck by all players involved for a poker round to be decided by the hand with the highest value on the table. Only the most skilled poker player would be daring enough to try and bluff his/her way to victory by merely having a hand that wins by way of a high card.

READ MORE: Jacks or Better Strategy Guide

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