How to Play Poker – Learning Poker Hands
Poker Hand Rankings
Knowing what hand beats what hand will let you cruise through a poker game as a newbie. If you are just learning how to play poker for one night, then you can stop when you are done with this lesson, but believe me, you’ll probably want to keep playing.
Poker is played with 5 cards (even Texas Hold Em is a 5 card games). The following are the hands from weakest to strongest.
This is the lowest ranking hand you can get in a game of poker. This hand means that you do not have a pair or better so you are stuck playing on the strength of the highest card in your hand. Ace is the highest traditionally, then King, Queen, Jack, 10 to 2. If the other players at your table also have nothing for hand, then you will go against their highest card to determine the winner of the hand.
This is hand where you have two cards of the same value. The higher the value of the pair, ie., AA, would beat KK, determines the winner of the hand. Suit does not matter with a pair.
Two pair means that you have four cards in your hand of which two match another. Suit also does not matter when you have two pairs. 33 AA is an example of two pair.
3 OF A KIND
Best known as ‘Trips’, this is where 3 out of your 5 cards are identical in value. 444 would beat 222. Suit does not come into play when you have three of a kind.
This is where your five cards are in order. An example of a low straight would be 23456 and an example of a higher straight would be J 10 987. If your straight has all matching suits then that is considered a Straight Flush which will be discussed coming up.
This is when all five of your cards are matching in suit. An example of a flush is Clubs (AK459). A flush can be made up of any value card as long as their suits are identical.
A full house is trips and a pair. This is where three of your cards are identical in value and the other two are identical to one another. An example of a full house is QQQ22.
FOUR OF A KIND
This hand is composed of four cards with identical values. An example of a hand that has four of a kind is KKKKA or 22224. The higher value determines the winner when there are more than one four of a kind hands at a table.
A straight flush is five equally suited cards that are numerically consecutive. An example of a straight flush is Diamonds (234567).
This is the best hand a poker player can have. This is where the consecutive cards are the top five cards which are A K Q J 10 which determines the royal part of the phrase. The flush means that they are of the same suit. If these cards were not of the same suit then they would just be considered a straight. Hearts (AKQJ 10) is a royal flush.
You may need to refer back to a poker hand ranking chart a number of times while you are learning how to play poker. It might take awhile to commit them to memory, but once you start playing you’ll be quickly reminded who has the better hand if you aren’t sure.