Before you sit down at the tables you're going to need to know which hand beats which hand. Does a full house beat a straight? Does a straight flush beat four of a kind? These are questions you're going to want to have answers to when staring at what you've got in your hand and the community cards wondering what kind of possible combinations (outs) may be had. There are ten different combinations of hands one may have. We explain them all below and list them in order of strength.
Royal Flush - This is the best possible hand that you can have at the table. Don't expect to see many of them though, the odds are getting one is 1 in 649,740! However, it does happen! A royal flush is best defined as a 5 card sequence in which all your cards are suited the same and includes a 10, Jack, Queen, King and an Ace.
Straight Flush - This is another rare hand. Similar to the Royal Flush, a straight flush is suited all the same except it doesn't have to include 10 through Ace. It can be any 5 cards of the same suit as long as they run consecutively. It should be noted that in most poker games "wild cards" are not allowed to be part of a straight flush. Not that you'll probably ever see it, but if two players in the same game were to have straight flush's, the player with the highest card would take precedence over the other. If you ever get this hand, take a picture, because the odds of getting on is 1 in 64,974!
Four of a Kind - The third strongest hand you can achieve in poker is a 4 of a kind. As it's name states, this hand consists of four of the same card. The odds of landing one of these babies which is almost a sure winner is 1 in 3,914.
Full House - Another popular name for this hand is a "boat". This hand is made up of using a combination of 3 of a kind and one pair. If two players in the same game happen to have a full house, WHICH DOES HAPPEN FROM TIME TO TIME, the player with the biggest 3 of a kind in his hand is deemed the winner. The odds of landing a full house, which is usually a nice fat winning hand is 1 in 586.1.
Flush - This is a hand where you need to have 5 cards that need to be of the same suit. Unlike the straight flush, they do not need to be in consecutive order. An example: 8, 5, 4, 3, 2, all of clubs. It should be noted that some people are confused about flush's in that they think it needs to be five cards of one COLOR. This is not true. It has to be SUIT. All clubs, all spades, all hearts or all diamonds. Three clubs and 2 spadres is a whole'lotta nothing! If two players have a flush in the same game, highest card wins the hand. This odds of receiving a flush in a hand which is usually a winner, is 1 in 273.1.
Straight - This hand is kind of like the straight flush above, except it's not as hard to get and its all about having 5 cards in consecutive number order, without having to be the same suit. As a side note, some people are confused about straights in that they think you can go jack-queen-king-ace-2-3. NOPE. It has to start as low as a-2-3-4-5 or only can go as high as 10-j-q-k-a. In summary, there is no continuation past the Ace. If two players at the same table have a straight, the player with the highest valued card in his straight is the winna. This is a strong hand in poker, but not always a winner. The odds of landing a straight are 1 in every 131.8 hands.
Three of a Kind - This hand is also known as a "set" or "trips" depending on HOW you got it. A set is when you have 2 of the three cards in your hole cards. Trips is when your holding one card of the 3 of a kind and using 2 off the community cards (aka: the board). As it's name implies, a three of a kind is a hand that has 3 of the same card with two of anything else. If two players at the same table have trips which does happen from time to time, the highest "kicker", which is one of the two "other" cards determines the winner. The odds of receiving a 3 of a kind in poker is 1 in 34.8 hands.
Two Pair - This hand which sports odds of 1 in every 13.11 hands is not bad and not good. Sometimes you'll win with it while others you'll feel good about having it and get smacked around by something bigger. Two pair, as it's name implies, means having 2 pair's of the same card with one stray card. If two players at the same table have two pair, the highest pair determines the winner. If they have the same two pair, which is really rare! The stray card plays the role of the "kicker" and highest kicker wins.
Pair - A pair consists of two of the same card. This is a very common occurrence in a poker hand and often times many other players at the same table will also have a pair. This hand is often times beat by a higher hand. If two players have a pair, the highest pair wins. The odds of receiving a pair in a hand is 1 in every 2.
High Card - This is a crappy hand. You have none of the above hands and this is almost always certainly a loser. We have surely seen high hand winners in our time, but it's not worth betting on. The odds of receiving this worthless hand is one to one.
We hope that you have enjoyed our article on poker hands. We don't profess to have the best grammar in the world but we do try to make up for that by making it fun for our readers with our home style way of telling how it is.
Before we go, we'd like to leave you with a poker tip: One of the big keys to winning at poker whether it be online or in a brick and mortar poker room is that you play solid starting hands. Due to the odds in poker, your going to see more bad starting hands than good. What you'll need to do is exercise GREAT discretion in what you play otherwise you have no chance at being a winning player.
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