Poker HandsPoker is popular all over the world and therefore comes in varieties. The most popular types include draw poker, stud poker and community card poker (i.e. Texas Hold'em poker and Omaha poker). But they all have one thing in common. Each poker game combines the best five cards on the table and/or in your hand. This poker hands guide will help you deal with the plethora of poker hands odds and ratings.
The basic concept of poker hands is to combine the cards of a 52 card deck, meaning that you have to exclude the Jokers of that deck. Obviously, poker cannot be played with two decks or more, since this would result in impossible card combinations, such as five of a kind cards.
A deck of cards includes four suits, hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades, and are all treated equal. Therefore, an ace of spades has the same value as the ace of hearts. The cards range from 2 to 10, jacks (J), queens (Q), kings (K) and aces (A). If you count the combinations, you will find out that each suit has 13 cards and that multiplying this with all four suits results in 52 cards.
We will now – in order - present the winning hands in poker ranking from the best to the worst. Also note that the higher rank of a poker hand, the lower is the probability of having it. The value of the poker hands are presented in the hierarchy chart below (presented with pictures of the poker hands).
Royal Straight Flush
This is the only unbeatable hand of poker. It is also called Royal Flush and requires a straight from 10 to ace in one suit. It is so unlikely and therefore also not often considered a threat to the other poker players.
The odds of hitting a Straight Flush are slightly better than the Royal Flush. Any suited straight goes from ace to 5 and 9 to king. The ace can be combined with the deuce, which results in a lower Straight Flush than 2 to 6. A higher Straight Flush beats a lower Straight Flush.
Four of a Kind
There are only 13 possible situations when a player is dealt Four of a Kind. You must hit all four available cards of a kind, such as kings. Four kings will beat four queens but lose to four aces. A winning poker hand includes five cards. Therefore, you must also take the remaining card into account. In Texas Hold’em, two or more players can hit the same Four of a Kind with the community cards. If situations like this, the highest fifth card declares the winner.
There are many slang names for Full House, such as Full Boat. This is a tricky hand and also one of the most feasible super combinations a poker player can hit. It consists of one Three of a Kind combined with a Pair. One example is three kings paired with two queens. The higher Full House you get, the better, but the most important cards are the ones that form the Three of a Kind. For example, 55588 beats 444AA since trip fives are higher than trip fours.
To claim a Flush, you need five equally suited cards of any kind. The Flush is usually a very tricky hand, since other players can hit a Flush with a better kicker. A player with the ace Flush is unbeatable to any other Flush.
It is often very tricky to play a Straight. With the right cards, it is the perfectly disguised trap. The Straight ranges five consequent cards from ace to 5 and 10 to ace. The higher the straight is, the better the hand. Ace high straight cannot be beaten by any other straight. Also note that this straight differs from the Straight Flush by connecting unsuited cards.
Three of a Kind
Often referred to as Trips, Three of a Kind is perhaps the trickiest and most unanticipated hand a player can hold. Like Four of a Kind, this hand combines three equal cards, such as kings. Three aces cannot be beaten by any other Trips. A winning poker hand includes five cards. Therefore, you must also take the remaining two cards into account. In Texas Hold’em, two players can hit the same Three of a Kind. If such scenario takes place, the player with the highest five cards wins.
Four cards can form Two Pairs, such as two jacks and fives. The highest pair of the four is the determining card that concludes the winner against another Two Pairs. If both players hit the same top pair, the second pair is taken into account. A fifth card will be taken into account if both players hold the same valued cards.
Hitting a single Pair is the most common combination at the table. As with Two Pairs, the highest pair against another pair wins. In the event of two equal pairs, the highest card concludes the winner. If this card is shared by both, then the fourth and eventually the fifth card will decide.
If none of the cards combine at least a Pair, the player then plays with a High Card. If two facing players play with a High Card only, the highest card will then decide the outcome. If both players share the same high card, the second highest card is taken to account. It goes on like this until all five cards have been used and the strength of the hands is decided. If all cards are shared, the players split the pot.
Statistics of the poker hands
Now that you know about the poker hands and what beats what, it is time to take a look at the hands in poker and the statistical percentages of poker hands. The following list of ranked hands is showing approximated numbers of all the good hands and presented by the best hands in poker, from top to bottom. This order of winning hands in poker was done with a five card hand and a 52 card deck.
0.0015% Straight Flush 0.02% Four of a Kind 0.15% Full House 0.2% Flush 0.4% Straight 2% Three of a Kind 5% Two Pairs 42% Pair 50% High Card
Hands in Texas Hold'em
In Texas Hold’em, you are dealt only two cards which you must combine with the five community cards. This opens up for a few more outs than the typical draw poker varieties, but also narrows the field of the best starting poker hands. Phil Hellmuth, well-known poker professional claims that there are 15 good starting hands, that include ace king suited, ace king off suit and all 13 pocket pairs (a name of a poker hand with two equal cards).
It is true that any pocket pair is one of the best poker hands, although the best hold’em poker hand is pocket aces. This hold’em poker hand is so big that many slang names have emerged for it. “American Airlines”, shortened AA, resembles two aces. Even ace king is humbly nicknamed to “Big Slick” and “Anna Kournikova”, which is amusingly compared to how often you win with AK compared to how often this tennis professional scores in the tennis leagues. Other famous poker hands include the “Pocket Rockets” (AA), “Big Chick” (AQ), “Cowboys” (KK), “Canadian Rockets” (QQ) and even sexist terms like “Doggie Balls” (88) and “Big Lick” or “Dinner for two” (69).
Many poker celebrities hold different poker hands which they claim to be their favorites. If you plan on becoming a solid poker player, you must first learn the poker hands you are most likely going to get. Only one in 16 dealt hands is a pocket pair. Suited cards appear once every 3.25 hands and unsuited have the odds of 0.417 to 1.
Knowing how often you hit a high pocket pair is also valuable to high level poker play. The most formidable starting hand, AA, occurs only once in 220 hands. But then again, you can get KK or any other specific pocket pair once every 220 hands. Receiving AA, KK or QQ happens once every 73 hands, but nothing beats any specific suited cards, such as ace king, which only happens once every 331 hands. Although this means little in general, when you are in a situation, it may help to know all the possible poker sequences as well as the outs of getting the best poker starting hands.