List of poker hand categories

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Five playing cards – the ace, king, queen, jack and ten of hearts – spread out in a fan.
An ace-high straight flush, commonly known as a royal flush, is the best hand possible in some variants of poker.

In poker, players construct sets of five playing cards, called hands, according to the rules of the game being played.[1] Each hand has a rank, which is compared against the ranks of other hands participating in the showdown to determine who wins the pot.[2] In high games, like Texas hold 'em and seven-card stud, the highest-ranking hands win. In low games, like razz, the lowest-ranking hands win. In high-low split games, both the highest-ranking and lowest-ranking hands win, though different rules may be used to rank the high and low hands.[3][4]

Each hand falls into a category determined by the patterns formed by its cards. Hands in a higher-ranking category always rank higher than hands in a lower-ranking category. Hands in the same category are ranked relative to each other by comparing the ranks of their respective cards.[5] Suits are not ranked in poker, so hands in the same category that differ by suit alone are of equal rank (e.g. J 8 5 3 2 has the same rank as J 8 5 3 2).[6] Cards in poker are ranked, from highest to lowest: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2.[7] However, aces have the lowest rank when forming part of an ace-to-five straight or straight flush, such as 5 4 3 2 A or 5 4 3 2 A, or when playing ace-to-five or ace-to-six low rules.[8][9]

There are nine hand categories when using a standard 52-card deck with no wild cards, except under ace-to-five low rules where straights, flushes and straight flushes are not recognized. The fewer hands a category contains, the higher its rank.[10] There are 311,875,200 ways to deal five cards from the deck but only 2,598,960 distinct hands, because the order in which cards are dealt or arranged in a hand does not matter.[11] Moreover, since hands differing only by suit are of equal rank, there are only 7,462 distinct hand ranks when using all nine hand categories.[12][13]

Hand categories[edit]

* Only possible when using one or more wild cards
** Categorized as high card under ace-to-five low rules
Rank Name Example
0 Five of a kind* Ace of spadesAce of clubsAce of heartsAce of diamondsJoker
1 Straight flush** Jack of clubs10 of clubs9 of clubs8 of clubs7 of clubs
2 Four of a kind 5 of clubs5 of diamonds5 of hearts5 of spades2 of diamonds
3 Full house 6 of spades6 of hearts6 of diamondsKing of clubsKing of hearts
4 Flush** Jack of diamonds9 of diamonds8 of diamonds4 of diamonds3 of diamonds
5 Straight** 10 of diamonds9 of spades8 of hearts7 of diamonds6 of clubs
6 Three of a kind Queen of clubsQueen of spadesQueen of hearts9 of hearts2 of spades
7 Two pair Jack of heartsJack of spades3 of clubs3 of spades2 of hearts
8 One pair 10 of spades10 of hearts8 of spades7 of hearts4 of clubs
9 High card King of diamondsQueen of diamonds7 of spades4 of spades3 of hearts

Five of a kind[edit]

Ace of spadesAce of clubsAce of heartsAce of diamondsJoker
Five of a kind, aces

Five of a kind is a poker hand containing five cards of the same rank, such as 3 3 3 3 3 ("five of a kind, threes"). It ranks above a straight flush, but is only possible when using one or more wild cards as there are only four cards of each rank in a standard 52-card deck.[8] Most commonly, five of a kind becomes possible when a joker is added to the deck as a bug, a form of wild card that may either act as a fifth ace or be used to complete any straight, flush or straight flush. Under these rules, the only possible five of a kind is five aces, such as A A A A Jkr.[7]

Each five of a kind is ranked by the rank of its quintuplet. For example, Q Q Q Q Q ranks higher than 6 6 6 6 6.[8][14]

Straight flush[edit]

"Straight flush" redirects here. For other uses, see Straight flush (disambiguation).
Jack of clubs10 of clubs9 of clubs8 of clubs7 of clubs
A jack-high straight flush

A straight flush is a poker hand containing five cards of sequential rank, all of the same suit, such as Q J 10 9 8 (a “queen-high straight flush”).[4] It ranks below five of a kind and above four of a kind.[7] As part of a straight flush, an ace can rank either above a king (e.g. A K Q J 10) or below a two (e.g. 5 4 3 2 A), but not both in the same hand (e.g. Q K A 2 3 is an ace-high flush, not a straight flush).[8][14] Under ace-to-five low rules, straight flushes are not recognized and a hand that would be categorized as a straight flush is instead a high card hand.[9]

There are 40 possible straight flush hands and 10 distinct ranks of straight flush under high and deuce-to-seven low rules when using a standard 52-card deck.[12] Each straight flush is ranked by the rank of its highest-ranking card. For example, 10 9 8 7 6 ranks higher than 6 5 4 3 2, which ranks higher than 5 4 3 2 A. Straight flush hands that differ by suit alone, such as 7 6 5 4 3 and 7 6 5 4 3, are of equal rank.[8][14]

An ace-high straight flush, such as A K Q J 10, is commonly known as a royal flush or royal straight flush and is the best hand possible in high games when not using wild cards.[7][15][16] Note that it is not possible to form an ace-high straight flush under ace-to-six low rules, where aces always have the lowest rank and a hand such as K Q J 10 A is actually a king-high flush.[17] A five-high straight flush, such as 5 4 3 2 A, is otherwise known as a steel wheel and is significant in ace-to-five high-low split games for being both the lowest-ranking low hand and usually the highest-ranking high hand of the showdown.[4]

Four of a kind[edit]

5 of clubs5 of diamonds5 of hearts5 of spades2 of diamonds
Four of a kind, fives

Four of a kind, also known as quads, is a poker hand containing four cards of the same rank and one card of another rank (the kicker), such as 9 9 9 9 J ("four of a kind, nines"). It ranks below a straight flush and above a full house.[7]

There are 624 possible four of a kind hands and 156 distinct ranks of four of a kind when using a standard 52-card deck.[12] Each four of a kind is ranked first by the rank of its quadruplet, and then by the rank of its kicker. For example, K K K K 3 ranks higher than 7 7 7 7 Q, which ranks higher than 7 7 7 7 10. Four of a kind hands that differ by suit alone, such as 4 4 4 4 9 and 4 4 4 4 9, are of equal rank.[8][14]

Full house[edit]

6 of spades6 of hearts6 of diamondsKing of clubsKing of hearts
A full house, sixes over kings

A full house, also known as a full boat (and originally called a full hand), is a poker hand containing three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank, such as 3 3 3 6 6 (a “full house, threes over sixes” or “threes full of sixes” or “threes full”).[18][19] It ranks below four of a kind and above a flush.[7]

There are 3,744 possible full house hands and 156 distinct ranks of full house when using a standard 52-card deck.[12] Each full house is ranked first by the rank of its triplet, and then by the rank of its pair. For example, 8 8 8 7 7 ranks higher than 4 4 4 9 9, which ranks higher than 4 4 4 5 5. Full house hands that differ by suit alone, such as K K K J J and K K K J J, are of equal rank.[8][14]

Flush[edit]

Jack of diamonds9 of diamonds8 of diamonds4 of diamonds3 of diamonds
A jack-high flush

A flush is a poker hand containing five cards all of the same suit, not all of sequential rank, such as K 10 7 6 4 (a “king-high flush” or “king-ten-high flush”).[20] It ranks below a full house and above a straight.[7] Under ace-to-five low rules, flushes are not recognized and a hand that would be categorized as a flush is instead a high card hand.[9]

There are 5,108 possible flush hands and 1,277 distinct ranks of flush under high and deuce-to-seven low rules when using a standard 52-card deck.[12] Each flush is ranked first by the rank of its highest-ranking card, then by the rank of its second highest-ranking card, then by the rank of its third highest-ranking card, then by the rank of its fourth highest-ranking card, and finally by the rank of its lowest-ranking card. For example, K J 9 6 4 ranks higher than Q J 7 6 5, which ranks higher than J 10 9 4 2, which ranks higher than J 10 8 6 3, which ranks higher than J 10 8 4 3, which ranks higher than J 10 8 4 2. Flush hands that differ by suit alone, such as 10 8 7 6 5 and 10 8 7 6 5, are of equal rank.[8][14]

Straight[edit]

10 of diamonds9 of spades8 of hearts7 of diamonds6 of clubs
A ten-high straight

A straight is a poker hand containing five cards of sequential rank, not all of the same suit, such as 7 6 5 4 3 (a “seven-high straight”). It ranks below a flush and above three of a kind.[7] As part of a straight, an ace can rank either above a king (e.g. A K Q J 10) or below a two (e.g. 5 4 3 2 A), but not both in the same hand (e.g. Q K A 2 3 is considered an ace-high high-card hand, not a straight).[8][14] Under ace-to-five low rules, straights are not recognized and a hand that would be categorized as a straight is instead a high card hand.[9]

There are 10,200 possible straight hands and 10 distinct ranks of straight under high and deuce-to-seven low rules when using a standard 52-card deck.[12] Each straight is ranked by the rank of its highest-ranking card. For example, J 10 9 8 7 ranks higher than 10 9 8 7 6, which ranks higher than 5 4 3 2 A. Straight hands that differ by suit alone, such as 9 8 7 6 5 and 9 8 7 6 5, are of equal rank. When aces rank high they cannot also rank low in the same hand (e.g. A K Q 3 2 is an ace-king high card hand, not a straight).[8][14]

An ace-high straight, such as A K Q J 10, is otherwise known as a broadway straight,[21] while a five-high straight, such as 5 4 3 2 A, is otherwise known as a baby straight,[22] bicycle or wheel and is the best possible hand in ace-to-five low games where it is instead categorized as a high card hand.[23][24]

Three of a kind[edit]

Queen of clubsQueen of spadesQueen of hearts9 of hearts2 of spades
Three of a kind, queens

Three of a kind, also known as trips or a set, is a poker hand containing three cards of the same rank and two cards of two other ranks (the kickers), such as 2 2 2 K 6 ("three of a kind, twos" or "trip twos" or a "set of twos"). It ranks below a straight and above two pair.[7]

There are 54,912 possible three of a kind hands and 858 distinct ranks of three of a kind when using a standard 52-card deck.[12] Each three of a kind is ranked first by the rank of its triplet, then by the rank of its highest-ranking kicker, and finally by the rank of its lowest-ranking kicker. For example, 6 6 6 Q 4 ranks higher than 3 3 3 K 2, which ranks higher than 3 3 3 J 7, which ranks higher than 3 3 3 J 5. Three of a kind hands that differ by suit alone, such as 9 9 9 10 8 and 9 9 9 10 8, are of equal rank.[8][14]

In community card games, such as Texas hold ‘em, three of a kind is called a set only when it comprises a pocket pair and a third card on the board.[25]

Two pair[edit]

Jack of heartsJack of spades3 of clubs3 of spades2 of hearts
Two pair, jacks and threes

Two pair is a poker hand containing two cards of the same rank, two cards of another rank and one card of a third rank (the kicker), such as J J 4 4 9 (“two pair, jacks and fours” or “two pair, jacks over fours” or “jacks up”).[18][26] It ranks below three of a kind and above one pair.[7]

There are 123,552 possible two pair hands and 858 distinct ranks of two pair when using a standard 52-card deck.[12] Each two pair is ranked first by the rank of its highest-ranking pair, then by the rank of its lowest-ranking pair, and finally by the rank of its kicker. For example, 10 10 2 2 K ranks higher than 5 5 4 4 10, which ranks higher than 5 5 3 3 Q, which ranks higher than 5 5 3 3 J. Two pair hands that differ by suit alone, such as K K 7 7 8 and K K 7 7 8, are of equal rank.[8][14]

One pair[edit]

10 of spades10 of hearts8 of spades7 of hearts4 of clubs
One pair, tens

One pair, or simply a pair, is a poker hand containing two cards of the same rank and three cards of three other ranks (the kickers), such as 4 4 K 10 5 ("one pair, fours" or a “pair of fours”). It ranks below two pair and above high card.[7]

There are 1,098,240 possible one pair hands and 2,860 distinct ranks of one pair when using a standard 52-card deck.[12] Each one pair is ranked first by the rank of its pair, then by the rank of its highest-ranking kicker, then by the rank of its second highest-ranking kicker, and finally by the rank of its lowest-ranking kicker. For example, 9 9 Q J 5 ranks higher than 6 6 K 7 4, which ranks higher than 6 6 Q J 2, which ranks higher than 6 6 Q 8 7, which ranks higher than 6 6 Q 8 3. One pair hands that differ by suit alone, such as 8 8 10 6 5 and 8 8 10 6 5, are of equal rank.[8][14]

High card[edit]

King of diamondsQueen of diamonds7 of spades4 of spades3 of hearts
High card, king

High card, also known as no pair or simply nothing, is a poker hand containing five cards not all of sequential rank or of the same suit, and none of which are of the same rank, such as K J 8 7 4 ("high card, king" or "king-jack-high" or “king-high”).[18][27] It ranks below one pair.[7] Under ace-to-five low rules, where straights, flushes and straight flushes are not recognized, hands that would fall into these categories are also high card hands.[9]

There are 1,302,540 possible high cards hands and 1,277 distinct ranks of high card under high and deuce-to-seven low rules when using a standard 52-card deck.[12] Each high card hand is ranked first by the rank of its highest-ranking card, then by the rank of its second highest-ranking card, then by the rank of its third highest-ranking card, then by the rank of its fourth highest-ranking card, and finally by the rank of its lowest-ranking card. For example, K 6 5 3 2 ranks higher than Q J 6 5 3, which ranks higher than Q 10 8 7 4, which ranks higher than Q 10 7 6 4, which ranks higher than Q 10 7 5 4, which ranks higher than Q 10 7 5 2. High card hands that differ by suit alone, such as 10 8 7 6 4 and 10 8 7 6 4, are of equal rank.[8][14]

Under deuce-to-seven low rules, a seven-five-high hand, such as 7 5 4 3 2, is the best hand possible.[28] Under ace-to-six low rules, where aces have the lowest rank, a six-four-high hand, such as 6 4 3 2 A, is the best hand possible.[29] Under ace-to-five low rules, where aces have the lowest rank and straights, flushes and straights are not recognized, a five-high hand, such as 5 4 3 2 A or 5 4 3 2 A, commonly known as a bicycle or wheel, is the best hand possible.[9][23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Krieger, Lou (2006). "What is Poker?". The Poker Player's Bible. South Africa: Struik Publishers. pp. 12–14. ISBN 978-177007-469-9. 
  2. ^ Harrock, Richard (2011). "The Basics of Play". Poker for Dummies, Mini Edition. United States of America: Wiley Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-0-470-05565-6. 
  3. ^ Sklansky, David (2005). The Theory of Poker. United States of America: Two Plus Two Publishing LLC. p. 2. ISBN 1-880685-00-0. 
  4. ^ a b c Braids, Sam (2003). The Intelligent Guide to Texas Hold'em. Towson, Maryland: Intelligent Games Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 0967755123. 
  5. ^ "Poker Hands Order - Poker Hand Rankings at PokerStars". www.pokerstars.com. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  6. ^ "Poker Hand Ranking | Official World Series of Poker Online". www.wsop.com. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Krieger, Lou (2006). The Poker Player's Bible. South Africa: Struik Publishers. pp. 30–34. ISBN 978-177007-469-9. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Greiner, Ron (2005). The Everyday Guide to Recreational Poker. Everyday Endeavors, LLC. pp. 46–60. ISBN 0976970309. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Scott, Alex (2010). "How to Play Lowball Draw". What I Know about Poker: Lessons in Texas Hold'em, Omaha and Other Poker Games. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-9567151-3-5. 
  10. ^ "PROBABILITY: 5-CARD POKER HANDS". www.math.hawaii.edu. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  11. ^ Bourne, Murray. "Probability and Poker". www.intmath.com. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Berg, Henry (2013-05-13). "FiveCardSingleDeckHands.txt". Code Throwdown. Retrieved 2016-07-13. 
  13. ^ "How many poker hands are there?". Retrieved 2016-07-13. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kreiger, Lou; Bykofsky, Sheree (2006). The Rules of Poker. Lyle Stuart. pp. 99–102. ISBN 0818406607. 
  15. ^ Miller, Ed; Sklansky, David; Malmuth, Mason (2005). Small Stakes Hold 'em. United States of America: Two Plus Two Publishing LLC. pp. 343–358. ISBN 1-880685-32-9. 
  16. ^ Taylor, David G. (2015). The Mathematics of Games: An Introduction to Probability. CRC Press. pp. 49–51. ISBN 978-1-4822-3543-2. 
  17. ^ "Lowball Hand Rankings". playlowballpoker.com. Retrieved 2016-08-05. 
  18. ^ a b c Wenzel, John (2004). The Everything Poker Strategy Book. United States of America: F+W Publications, Inc. pp. 6–10. ISBN 1-59337-140-3. 
  19. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  20. ^ Sklansky, David (2007). The Theory of Poker. Two Plus Two Publishing LLC. p. 124. ISBN 1-880685-00-0. 
  21. ^ Erickson, David (2015). "3.2.5.3 Broadway straight". Superior Texas Hold'em: Evolved Poker Strategy. United States of America: Evergent Teknologies. ISBN 978-0-9938197-0-4. 
  22. ^ Zee, Ray (2007). High-Low-Split Poker, Seven-Card Stud and Omaha Eight-or-better for Advanced Players. United States of America: Two Plus Two Publishing LLC. p. 323. ISBN 978-1880685105. 
  23. ^ a b Sklansky, David (2005). "Glossary of Poker Terms". The Theory of Poker. United States of America: Two Plus Two Publishing LLC. pp. 277–293. ISBN 1-880685-00-0. 
  24. ^ Malmuth, Mason (1998). "Ace-to-Five Lowball". Winning Concepts in Draw and Lowball (2nd ed.). United States of America: Two Plus Two Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 1-880685-07-8. 
  25. ^ Sklansky, David (2004). Small Stakes Hold 'Em (1 ed.). Two Plus Two Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 978-1880685327. 
  26. ^ Cardoza, Avery (2012). Poker Talk. Cardoza Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58042-502-5. 
  27. ^ Gelling, Jonathan (2009). Poker Tips that Pay. Play to Pay Publishing. p. 333. ISBN 978-0-9840822-9-2. 
  28. ^ Kimberg, Daniel (2002). Serious Poker. ConJelCo LLC. pp. 229–277. ISBN 1-886070-16-4. 
  29. ^ "WSOP | How To Play | How To Play Lowball Poker". www.wsop.com. Retrieved 2016-08-04.