Poker Hand Rankings: What’s the Best Hand to Play?

For those new to poker, all the jargon might put you off from playing the game. What does a flop mean? What about a flush

Although it may seem like it at the moment, poker terms are not difficult to remember. And we’ll show you by familiarizing you with the best hands. To help you work through all the terms, we’ll tell you some of the most popular and sought-after poker hands, i.e. the ones that will help you trump your opponents. 

So let’s get right into our poker hand rankings!

What Are the Best Hands in Poker?

The poker hand hierarchy is one of the first things newbies must learn. After all, how can you play poker when you don’t know if your hand is better than your opponents’? 

Understanding the poker hand rankings will significantly help you classify the strength of each hand and guide you toward making smarter in-game decisions.

Here are the combinations of cards you should look out for:

Royal Flush

We’ll start off our ranking with the very best hand in poker – the royal flush. Fitting to its name, the royal flush consists of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten (in any order), all in the same suit. Unfortunately, the chances of being dealt this hand are approximately 1 in 650,000, so it really is the top dog of poker hands

If you’re lucky enough to get a royal flush, don’t hold back on the celebrations because you’ve just hit the jackpot in poker!

Straight Flush

Next up as one of the winning hands in poker is the straight flush. As you can probably guess from the name, this hand is made up of 5 sequential cards that are all of the same suit. The likelihood of being dealt this hand is 1 in 72,000, so it’s considerably more common than royal flush, but not common enough if you ask us!

If you have a straight flush in your hand, you’re in for a good game and have a great shot at winning

Four of a Kind

You might have also heard people talking about quads or four of a kind. As the name suggests, this hand is made up of 4 cards that have the same value, for example, 4 Aces. The probability of being dealt this hand is approximately 1 in 4,100, so it’s still quite rare.

With four of a kind, you should be feeling confident about your chances of winning, as this combo has shown to possess considerable strength

Full House

Out of all the poker combos on this list, the full house is the one that will ring a bell in most people’s heads. This hand is made up of 3 cards of the same value and 2 other cards that form a pair. For example, you might have 3 Aces and 2 Kings. That said, you have about a 1 in 700 chance to get a full house.

By getting a full house, you’re in a strong position to win the game! But mind your poker face because your opponents might discover your excitement prematurely. 

Flush

Next, let’s talk about the flush. Flush in poker is a hand made up of 5 cards that are all of the same suit. The cards don’t need to be ordered sequentially as long as they are of the same suit. The probability of being dealt a flush is approximately 1 in 500, so those are much better odds than the previous hands. 

Although a flush is a good hand to have in poker, it’s lower on the scale, so you should be aware that there may be other players with stronger hands.   

Straight

The next best hand in poker is the straight, which as you might have guessed, is made up of five sequential cards. The value or suit of the cards doesn’t matter here, just as long as they are in a sequence. The likelihood of receiving a hand like this is approximately 1 in 250, so we’d say there’s a fair chance. 

Three of a Kind

If you’re dealt a hand that includes 3 cards of the same value, you’re looking at a three-of-a-kind. For example, you might have 3 Aces or 3 Kings. And if you think the chances aren’t low for this one, you’d be somewhat right, since you have a 1 in 50 chance to get it. 

If you haven’t realised by this point, the probability and strength of poker hands are in a negative correlation, so if a hand is high on the poker hand hierarchy, you have extremely low chances to receive it and vice versa. 

Two Pairs

As the name suggests, this poker hand is made up of 2 cards of the same value and 2 other cards that form a pair. So you might have 2 Threes and 2 Queens. Since the probability of getting this hand is 1 in 20, it’s not surprising if you manage to get it often while playing, unlike the royal or straight flush.   

Pair

Finally, the pair hand rounds up our list of the best hands in poker. Evidently, the pair hand consists of 2 cards of the same value. For instance, if you’re holding 2 Tens, you’ve got yourself a pair. Additionally, since this hand is much less specific than the previous ones, you’ve got a 1 in 1.3 chance of getting it, so it’s almost always!

High Card

Wait, why did we say finally if our poker hand rankings aren’t done yet? Well, it’s because the high card (aka no pair or no nothing card) isn’t necessarily a “good” hand, although you should know it. This card doesn’t fall into any other category and is ranked primarily by the rank of the highest-ranking card. From there, it follows a descending manner of ranking. 

Additionally, if 2 high card hands differ by suit alone, we consider them to be of equal rank. 

poker-hand-rankings

What About “Hi”, “Lo”, and “Hi-Lo” Games?

Now that you’ve unearthed the best hands in poker, it’s time for us to talk about variations. 

For newcomers, it might come as a shock to discover that the poker hand hierarchy is not the same across all game variations. Instead, the winning hands in poker are usually governed by whether you’re playing a Hi, Lo, or Hi-Lo game. 

Hi or High-Hand Poker

High-hand poker ranks the hands in the manner displayed above. Therefore, the highest-ranking card is the Royal Flush with the lowest probability of getting it. 

Texas Hold’em and Seven-Card Stud are the most popular and common examples that employ this hand system

Lo, Lowball, or Low-Hand Poker

As the name suggests, Low-hand poker inverts the normal hand rankings. As a result, the lowest-ranked hand on our chart is the best possible combo for this game variation. However, before jumping into this type of poker, check whether the Ace is considered high or low and whether you can count a Straight or a Flush. 

If you want to play lowball, you can try your hand at a game of Razz. 

Hi-Lo or High-Low Split Poker

For a high-low split game, the pot is divided between the player possessing the highest-ranking poker hand and the one with the lowest-ranking poker hand. Consequently, that’s a win-win for both “winners” and “losers”. 

This type of ranking is present in games like the Omaha Hi-Lo, which you can play at most traditional and online casinos. 

Conclusion

 That’s a wrap on our poker hand rankings article!

We covered a lot of information, but there’s still more that needs to be said. For now, you should remember that the best hand to play is the one that gives you the best chance of winning. So, if that involves risk, you’ll need to calculate your odds and choose your hands wisely.

Good luck!

FAQ

What are the best starting hands in poker?

The best starting hands in poker are the Ace-Ace, King-King, and Queen-Queen.

What are the best hands in poker?

The best hands in poker are Royal flush, Straight flush, Four of a kind, Full house, Flush, Straight, Three of a kind, Two pairs, Pair, and High card.

Does a flush beat a full house?

Yes, full house cards beat a flush in poker

Does a straight beat a flush?

No, a straight does not beat a flush. Instead, it’s the other way around – a flush beats a straight.

What is a straight in poker?

A straight in poker is when a hand consists of 5 consecutive cards with different suits.

What is a flush in poker?

A poker flush is when a hand consists of 5 non-consecutive cards with the same suit.

 

What is a full house in poker?

A full house is a hand that consists of 3 cards of the same rank coupled with 2 other cards of the same rank.

Does 3 of a kind beat 2 pair?

Yes, 3 of a kind beats 2 pair in poker.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Toni always had an appetite for learning new things and random facts about almost everything, which is why when he got offered the job to work as a content writer he took it without hesitation. Writing daily took his love for words and research to a whole new level, and made him realize that this is a career he would love to pursue. Although he spends most of his time researching his next piece, you can also find him on the football court, in the gym, or at home with a book in his hand.

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