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Poker Hands, Their Types And Ranking Explained For Beginners

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Poker Hands, Their Types And Ranking Explained For Beginners

In the poker terminology, a hand is the combination of five cards formed by each of the players. The pre-established ranking of poker hands helps to determine the winner. Every possible hand belongs to a certain category, depending on the pattern created by the cards. There are nine natural categories possible when using a standard deck, and one extra category that can occur when wild cards are introduced. Let’s give them a closer look.

A Complete List Of All Poker Hands

In poker games, a player can assemble one of the following 10 hands:

  • 3 of a kind.
  • 4 of a kind.
  • 5 of a kind.
  • One pair.
  • Two pair.
  • Straight.
  • Flush.
  • Straight flush.
  • Full house.
  • High card.

Some of these names appear self-explanatory, others may require a closer examination.

What Are The Best Poker Hands?

Among the possible hands in poker games, one can single out higher-tier and lower-tier combinations.

High-Tier Hands

In the conventional ranking, the following combinations are among the winning poker hands:

  1. 5 of a kind. At least one wild card needs to have been introduced in the deck for this hand to be possible.
  2. Straight flush. There are no higher-rank hands than this one if a natural deck is used (no wild cards). “Straight” here means the cards stand in an orderly fashion, and “Flush” means they are of the same suit. The highest version of a straight flush is the one with an Ace in the high position; the resulting hand is called Royal Flush.
  3. 4 of a kind. Four cards with identical ranks. If more than one player at the table has obtained a 4 of a kind, the win goes to whoever has higher-rank cards in his combination of four. All in all, a deck with wild cards can result in two 4-of-a-kind poker hands with identical ranks. In this case, the win goes to the player whose fifth card is of a higher rank.
  4. Full house. Consists of two lower hands, namely 3 of a kind and one pair. If a tie takes place, the winning player is determined by the high card principle. First, the cards in the players’ 3-of-a-kind combinations are compared, then in the pairs.

The high card principle is always utilized in case of a tie.

Lower-Ranking Poker Hands

If none of the above combinations occur, the players look for other poker hands, which are categorized in this order:

  1. Flush. The five cards belong to the same suit.
  2. Straight. A combo of five cards standing orderly, according to their ranks.
  3. 3 of a kind. Three cards of equal ranks (when the remaining two do not form a pair).
  4. Two pair. One distinct card coupled with two pairs.
  5. One pair. A trio of distinct cards and a pair of identically ranked cards.
  6. High card. Provided that none of the above poker hands has occurred, the win goes to whoever holds a card with the highest ranking.

Having identical highest cards, the players compare their second highest, and so on.

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