List of poker hands

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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 possible hand in many variants of poker.

In poker, players form sets of five playing cards, called hands, according to the rules of the game.[1] Each hand has a rank, which is compared against the ranks of other hands participating in the showdown to decide 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 are used to rank the high and low hands.[3][4]

Each hand belongs to a category determined by the patterns formed by its cards. A hand in a higher-ranking category always ranks higher than a hand in a lower-ranking category. A hand is ranked within its category using the ranks of its cards.[5] Individual cards are ranked, from highest to lowest: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2.[6] However, aces have the lowest rank under ace-to-five low or ace-to-six low rules, or under high rules as part of a five-high straight or straight flush.[7][8] Suits are not ranked, so hands that differ by suit alone are of equal rank.[9]

There are nine categories of hand when using a standard 52-card deck, except under ace-to-five low rules where straights, flushes and straight flushes are not recognized. An additional category, five of a kind, exists when using one or more wild cards. 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.[12][13]

Hand-ranking categories[edit]

* Only possible when using one or more wild cards
** Category does not exist 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 hand that contains five cards of one 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 the deck.[7] Five of a kind, aces, A A A A Jkr, 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.[6] Other wild card rules allow jokers or other designated cards to represent any card in the deck, making it possible to form five of a kind of any rank.[citation needed]

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.[7][14]

Straight flush[edit]

Jack of clubs10 of clubs9 of clubs8 of clubs7 of clubs
A jack-high straight flush

A straight flush is a hand that contains 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.[6] Under high rules, an ace can rank either high (as in A K Q J 10, an ace-high straight flush) or low (as in 5 4 3 2 A, a five-high straight flush), but cannot simultaneously rank both high and low (so Q K A 2 3 is an ace-high flush).[7][14] Under deuce-to-seven low rules, an ace always ranks high (so 5 4 3 2 A is an ace-high flush). Under ace-to-six low rules, an ace always rank low (so A K Q J 10 is a king-high flush).[15] Under ace-to-five low rules, straight flushes are not possible (so 9 8 7 6 5 is a nine-high hand).[8]

Each straight flush is ranked by the rank of its highest-ranking card. For example, 10 9 8 7 6 ranks higher than 8 7 6 5 4, which ranks higher than 6 5 4 3 2. 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.[7][14]

An ace-high straight flush, such as A K Q J 10, is called a royal flush or royal straight flush and is the best possible hand in high games when not using wild cards.[6][16][17] A five-high straight flush, such as 5 4 3 2 A, is called a steel wheel and is both the best low hand and usually the best high hand of the showdown in ace-to-five high-low split games.[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 hand that contains four cards of one 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.[6]

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.[7][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 or a boat (and originally called a full hand), is a hand that contains 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.[6]

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.[7][14]

Flush[edit]

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

A flush is a hand that contains five cards all of the same suit, not all of sequential rank, such as K 10 7 6 4 (a "king-high flush" or a "king-ten-high flush").[20] It ranks below a full house and above a straight.[6] Under ace-to-five low rules, flushes are not possible (so J 8 4 3 2 is a jack-high hand).[8]

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.[7][14]

Straight[edit]

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

A straight is a hand that contains 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.[6] Under high rules, an ace can rank either high (as in A K Q J 10, an ace-high straight) or low (as in 5 4 3 2 A, a five-high straight), but cannot simultaneously rank both high and low (so Q K A 2 3 is an ace-high hand).[7][14] Under deuce-to-seven low rules, an ace always ranks high (so 5 4 3 2 A is an ace-high hand). Under ace-to-six low rules, an ace always ranks low (so A K Q J 10 is a king-high hand).[15] Under ace-to-five low rules, straights are not possible (so 10 9 8 7 6 is a ten-high hand).[8]

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 6 5 4 3 2. Straight hands that differ by suit alone, such as 9 8 7 6 5 and 9 8 7 6 5, are of equal rank.[7][14]

An ace-high straight, such as A K Q J 10, is called a broadway straight,[21] while a five-high straight, such as 5 4 3 2 A, is called a baby straight,[22] bicycle or wheel and is the best possible hand in ace-to-five low games (where it is a high card hand, not a straight).[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 hand that contains three cards of one 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.[6]

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.[7][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 hand that contains two cards of one 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.[6]

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.[7][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 hand that contains two cards of one 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.[6]

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.[7][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 hand that does not fall into any other category, such as K J 8 7 4 ("high card, king" or "king-jack-high" or "king-high").[18][27] Note that under ace-to-five low rules, straights, flushes and straight flushes are not possible, so such hands are instead high card hands.[8] It ranks below one pair.[6]

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.[7][14]

Under deuce-to-seven low rules, a seven-five-high hand, such as 7 5 4 3 2, is the best possible hand.[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 possible hand.[29] Under ace-to-five low rules, where aces have the lowest rank and straights, flushes and straight flushes are not possible, 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 possible hand.[8][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 978-1-77007-469-9.
  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 0-9677551-2-3.
  5. ^ "Poker Hands Order – Poker Hand Rankings at PokerStars". www.pokerstars.com. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  6. ^ 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 978-1-77007-469-9.
  7. ^ 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 0-9769703-0-9.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Poker Hand Ranking | Official World Series of Poker Online". www.wsop.com. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Probability: 5-Card Poker Hands". www.math.hawaii.edu. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  11. ^ Bourne, Murray. "Probability and Poker". www.intmath.com. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  12. ^ Berg, Henry (13 May 2013). "FiveCardSingleDeckHands.txt". Code Throwdown. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  13. ^ "How many poker hands are there?". Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  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 0-8184-0660-7.
  15. ^ a b "Lowball Hand Rankings". playlowballpoker.com. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Taylor, David G. (2015). The Mathematics of Games: An Introduction to Probability. CRC Press. pp. 49–51. ISBN 978-1-4822-3543-2.
  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 1 August 2016.
  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 978-1-880685-10-5.
  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 978-1-880685-32-7.
  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 4 August 2016.

External links[edit]