Poker for beginners: Ranking hands

Poker for beginners

The popularity of Poker has grown ten-fold, with the advent of online casinos and casino promotions adding to its growth. The rules vary from game to game. While the ranking of the hands is simple, that too can vary depending on the variation of Poker you are playing.

Texas Hold’em is the most popular variation and the standard you’ll find in any casino. It uses the ‘high card’ rankings, like Omaha, Seven-card Stud and Five-card Draw. But, games such as Razz use ‘low card’ rankings and Chinese Poker is in a league of its own. There are 10 different kinds of hands you can have during a game. Read on to find out more about the rankings, from strongest to weakest.

Royal Flush

A Royal Flush is the strongest possible hand but is also a very rare hand to hold. It consists of the cards ranked from Ace to 10, all in the same suit – A, K, Q, J, 10.

Straight Flush

A Straight Flush is a cross between a Straight and a Flush. The cards need to be the same suit but also running in consecutive order. In the event of a tie, the highest rank at the top of the sequence wins. For example, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 would beat 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Four of a Kind

As the name suggests, this hand contains four cards of the same value, with the fifth card acting as the ‘kicker’. In the event of a tie, the highest four of a kind wins. For example, four Kings would beat four Jacks. In community card games, where players have the same value four of a kind, the highest ‘kicker’ wins. For example, four Kings with a Jack ‘kicker’ would beat four Kings with an 8 ‘kicker’.

Full House

A Full House consists of a Three of a Kind and a Pair – three cards of the same ranking, with two cards of the same ranking. For example, three 10s and two 7s. All five cards cannot be of the same ranking. In the result of a tie, the highest value three of a kind wins from other Full Houses.


A Flush is having five cards of the same suit. The cards don’t need to be in consecutive, or any other order. If many players hold a Flush, the player with the highest-ranked card wins. The suits have no bearing on who wins. In the rare situation that all players’ cards are of the same ranking, the pot splits.


A Straight is a series of five cards, which are of consecutive rank. They do not need to be the same suit. Aces are either at the top or bottom of a sequence. A high ace hand would be A, K, Q, J, 10 and a low ace hand would be 5, 4, 3, 2, A.

Three of a Kind

A Three of a Kind consists of three cards of equal value and two unrelated cards. For example, three 10s and a 6, 2. As with the other hands, the highest value card wins. In community card games, the highest side card wins, or if necessary, the second-highest side card wins.

Two Pair

Two pairs of cards of equal rankings, with an unrelated side card.


Of lesser value, is a Pair. This is one pair of cards of equal value and three unrelated side cards.

High Card

If you are unable to hold any of the above rankings, your High Card is the winner. Aces are high in this instance and would win above any other card. If many players have an Ace, the second-highest card wins. In most cases, if a player only has a high card, the chances are they will have folded.