Poker is one of the most popular card games around. While there are many varieties of poker and people have a general idea about them, few memorize all of the different hand rankings. Before you sit down to play, it’s important to be well-versed in the types of poker hands, so you know things like what’s the high card, what hand wins and what full houses look like.
If you’re new to the game, this guide will help you understand the various types of cards you might end up with and explain what the different hand rankings mean.
Classical High Poker Hand Ranks
A straight flush is the second-best hand you can land, according to the poker hand rankings. When you have five cards of identical suits, all in a sequence, then you have a straight flush. In the event of possible straight flush, you want to go for it.
Four of a Kind
A four of a kind is exactly what it sounds like: it’s four cards of the same rank. In other words, you could have four Kings or four 10’s for a kicker. A four of a kind is the third-best in poker hands ranked.
When you have both a pair and three of a kind, you have a Full House. That means you could have a trio of threes and a pair of twos. Keep in mind that if two people have a Full House, the one with the higher ranking three of a kind wins.
Three of a Kind
When you have three cards in the same suit, you have a three-of-a-kind. That could mean three Queens, three sevens or three of any other kind of card. Most poker cheat sheet rankings will indicate that this is the seventh-best hand you can have.
A flush is when you have to have five cards of the same suit. Straight flushes and a royal flush are more valuable types of flushes in the hand rankings. Royal flush is usually the one of the strongest – or the strongest – poker hands you can have.
A straight is a poker hand where you have five cards that line up in consecutive order. In other words, a four, a five, a six, a seven and an eight. A straight flush occurs when all five cards are of the same suit. If they’re not of the same suit, then it’s just a straight. Not all straights are of the same rank as the higher-ending card is the better hand.
A high card is one of the weakest in the poker hand rankings. It means that you essentially can’t even match two cards to get anything done. In that case, the highest ranking card in your hand is your high card. You just have to hope everyone else has poker hands of either a matching rank or worse.
A two pair is when you have a couple of pairs in your hand. For example, if you have two two’s and two sevens, then you have two pairs. The two cards that are highest are your higher pair. If there are other poker hands with the same matching rank, then the person with the highest pair wins the hand.
When you have two identical cards, this is known as a one pair or just a pair. That could be two cards like two Jacks, two Aces and so on. If someone else has the same highest pair, then it’s a matching rank. Otherwise, the person with the highest one pair wins.
A Game Where Lowest Is Best
Ace to Five Lowball poker is a different style of game where the poker hand rankings are inverted, and low hand matters too. This high low split poker is just basically the opposite of hold’em in many ways. If a low pair in Texas Hold’Em, you’d lose but in this version, you’d actually win.
A five low is also known as a Wheel. It’s when you have a five card poker hand that goes five, four, three, two and Ace. These have to be in consecutive order. If it’s hands split, it won’t qualify.
A six low is when you have an unpaired hand with six being the highest card. That means the hands split into something like six, five, four, three and Ace. If two players have a Six Low then the next-highest card is used as the tiebreaker.
A seven low is when you have an unpaired hand with the high card being a seven. It’s the third-best card in the poker hand rankings for this game. In the case of a tie, the player with the poker hand that has the lowest card after the seven wins.
An eight low is when you have an unpaired hand with the high card being an eight. As with six and seven low, the player with the next lowest card wins.
Keep in mind that in the high-low variants of the game, eight low is the highest hand to qualify to win the low portion of the pot. If nobody has reached this threshold for an eight low, then the best high hand takes it all.
Kansas City Lowball
Kansas City Lowball is another name for Deuce to Seven Lowball. In this game, you have to keep a close eye on the hand rankings as they differ from other variants. For the most part, they’re ranked in the opposite order of regular poker. Whereas a straight and a royal flush would be great in traditional poker, it’s something you want to avoid in this game.
The worst hand in regular poker is the best in this game. That means that just straight five cards that are unpaired and unrelated are the best hand in this game. You also want the lowest hand, so a high being a seven with four other uncoordinated cards is the best hand in this game.
Right next to a seven low is an eight low, which is just one step above. Think of it as an eight high card in regular poker with no pairs, no coordination among the rest of the other cards. That’s the second-best hand in this game, according to the poker hand rankings FAQ.
A high card being a nine with four other unpaired, unrelated cards is an excellent hand in this game. If two players have the same hand, the lower second card ends up winning the tiebreaker.
A ten low is a hand with five unpaired and unconnected cards with the best card being a ten. In the event of two players having a ten low, the lower second card is what breaks the tie.
Draw Poker Variant
While many players are familiar with the poker hand rankings in Texas Hold’em, few follow the rules of hand ranks of Badugi. This is a game where you want to end up with the lowest four-card hand possible. After the cards are dealt, each player gets three opportunities to discard cards from their hand and draw new ones. Of course, the goal is to get something that ends up doing well as per the Badugi hand rankings.
The best hand in this game is known as Badugi. It’s when you end up with four cards, each a different suit and the cards are unconnected in any way. A four, a three, a two and an Ace is the best you can get, and that’s a Badugi.
When you have two cards either paired or of the same suit, only one counts towards the hand. If the other three unpaired cards are of different suits, that is a three-card hard. For example, a nine of hearts, a five of hearts, a four of diamonds and a three of clubs is a three-card hand.
You have a two-card hand if you have two unpaired cards of different suits and two additional cards that are either paired or suited. So if you have a five of clubs, a four of diamonds, a three of diamonds and a three of clubs, that’s a two-card hard. The pair and the suited cards discount it to a two-card hand.
The worst hand you can land in Badugi is when you have four hands of the same suit or four-of-a-kind. In the case that this happens, the three higher cards are discounted and you’re left with one playable card.