Poker Hand Ranks
Who beats whom? Often times in poker, players can bet the house, completely sure that theirs is the winning hand-- only to find out that their buddy across the table has the same hand. But if two players both have the same hand, who wins? We’ll cover the rules for who wins the pot in various circumstances, but first we’ll go over the rankings of different poker hands.
For the beginning poker player, it is important to be familiar with the rankings of different poker hands. Here are the different hands in poker, ranked from lowest to highest.
When no player has a hand consisting of a pair or better, the winner is the player with the highest card. 2 is the lowest, Ace is the highest.
A pair consists of 2 cards of the same number or face. Example: 2 Aces
Two pair consists of 2 separate pairs of cards, each of the same number or face. Example: 2 Aces, 2 Jacks
Three-of-a-kind (Trips, set):
Three of a kind consists of 3 cards of the same number or face. Example: 3 Tens
A straight consists of 5 consecutive cards of varying suits. Example: Four of spades, Five of hearts, Six of clubs, Seven of diamonds, Eight of spades Note: In Hold’em poker, Aces can be either high or low.
A flush consists of 5 non-consecutive cards of the same suit. Example: Two, Five, Nine, Seven, King – all of Spades
Full house (Full boat, boat):
A full house consists of three of a kind, and one pair. Example: 3 Jacks, 2 Sevens
Four of a kind consists of 4 cards of the same number or face. Example: 4 Queens
A straight flush consists of 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. Example: Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten – all of hearts
A royal flush is the highest possible straight flush and consists of the Ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace all of the same suit.
Who wins when two or more players have the same poker hand? In most cases, a winner can be determined. If the hands are identical and no winner can be determined, the pot gets split evenly among those who are tied.
In cases when players have the identical hand, and the hand uses less than 5 cards (four-of-a-kind, three-of-a-kind, two pair, one pair, and high card), the winner is the player with the highest kicker, or the highest unpaired side card.
For example: Player 1 and Player 2 each have a pair of Tens. Player 1’s hand is Ten, Ten, Ace, Three, Nine, and Player 2’s hand is Ten, Ten, Jack, Five, Seven. Although both players have a pair of Tens, player 1 would win because an Ace kicker beats a Jack kicker.
In cases where more than one player has a straight, flush, or straight flush, the winner is determined by which player has the highest-ranking card(s) within the hand. If the highest-ranking card is the same for both players, then the next highest card is used. If both hands are identical, then the pot is split evenly between all players with the identical hand. For example: Player 1 and Player 2 each have a flush. Player 1’s high card in the flush is a Nine; Player 2’s high card in the flush is a Jack. Player 2 would win.
In cases where more than one player has a full house, the winner is determined by which player has the highest ranking three-of-a-kind. If players tie for the highest ranked three-of-a-kind, then the rank of the pair determines the winner.
For example: Player 1’s hand is Ace, Ace, Ace, Ten, Ten; Player 2’s hand is Six, Six, Six, Queen, Queen. Player 1 would win because, when comparing the two players’ three-of-a-kind rankings, the Aces outrank the Sixes.
In cases where more than one player has two pair, the winner is determined by which player has the highest-ranking single pair first. If both players have the same ranking single pair, then the other pair is compared. If both players have the same two pairs, then the pot is decided by who has the higher kicker card.
For example: Player 1’s hand is Five, Five, Three, Three, Nine; Player 2’s hand is Jack, Jack, Two, Two, Eight. Player 2 would win.
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