Poker Hands Chart

One of the first rules for poker success is memorizing the poker hands chart. The poker hands chart is the list of how each hand ranks from strongest to weakest. If you don't memorize this chart before you hit the tables and start betting, how will you know whether or not you should hold 'em or fold 'em?

The following hands are ranked according to the commonly accepted rankings in standard five card poker.

The absolute best hand possible you can get is a royal flush. The word 'flush' refers to the fact that each card is in the same suit. The word 'royal' refers to the fact that the bulk of the straight are face cards and includes an ace. So a royal flush is five cards in sequence with a high ace. A royal flush is: ace, king, queen, jack, ten. All these cards are in the same suit.

On the off chance that two players end up with a royal flush in different suits, you may have to come up with a hierarchy of suits. This should be decided upon ahead of time as there is no agreed upon order.

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Next in line is the straight flush. It has the same characteristics as a royal flush, but the high card is not an ace. That is, a straight flush is five cards in sequence and all of the same suit. An example would be: eight, seven, six, five, and four of hearts. If two players end up with a straight flush, then the player with the highest top card wins. That is, the player holding eight, seven, six, five, four would beat the player holding six, five, four, three, two.

Four of a kind is the third best hand in poker. This is exactly what it sounds like: four cards of the same value. This could mean two, two, two, two or queen, queen, queen, queen. If another player has a four of a kind as well and the two of you are vying for top spot, the hand with the highest number collected wins (i.e. four queens beats four twos).

Full house comes next. This is three of a kind and a pair. Examples include nine, nine, nine, two, two or queen, queen, queen, four, four, four. Should the last two players end up each holding a full house the hand with the highest three of a kind wins.

A flush is next in line. This is any five cards of the same suit. For example, three, eight, ten, jack, king - all of hearts. If two players end up holding a flush, the hand with the highest card wins.

Straights are the next weakest hand. This is a hand where all five cards are in sequence, but not of the same suit. Again, if two players end up with straights, the highest lead card wins.
Next, comes three of a kind (three cards with the same value), followed by two pair (two pairs like eight, eight, two, two), then one pair, and finally, the high card.

That's the great thing about poker! Two players could bluff it out all the way to the end with absolutely nothing in their hands and the person with the highest card will win the pot.

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by Bones McCoy at Poker Room on November 07, 2006

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