Hand Rankings Used in Poker
Knowing the hand rankings used in poker is very important. In games of Texas Hold´em Poker, Omaha Poker and 7 Card Stud Poker – in which the best five cards from seven are used to make a hand – there are 133,784,560 possible combinations of hands you can make.
You do not need to know every possible combination to be a good poker player – in fact all you need to know about the hand rankings used in poker is that there are ten possible types of hands you can make, and that they have a hierarchy that determines the winner of each pot.
The hierarchy demonstrated below is used in all formats of Texas Hold´em Poker, Omaha Poker and 7 Card Stud Poker. It is also used to determine the Hi hand when playing Omaha Hi/Lo or Stud Hi/Lo – the Lo hand being comprised of five cards with separate values of Eight or lower and ignoring straights and flushes.
The exception to this hierarchy is Six Plus Hold´em. In 6 Plus Holdem the cards with a face value of Deuce to Five are removed from the pack. This makes it harder to complete Flushes and easier to complete Straights. To see the hand rankings used for this variant of Hold´em Poker, please visit our dedicated Six Plus Holdem page.
We have ranked the hands used in poker from lowest to highest, so the further down the page you go, the better a hand you have!
High Card – approximate probability 17.4%
It is actually very unlikely that a player will finish a hand of poker with just a “High Card” – and even less likely that a player will win the pot with just a High Card, as it is the lowest possible hand you can have in a game of poker.
In the rare event that two players go to showdown with the same High Card, the second highest card (or third, fourth or fifth highest card) determines who wins the pot. There is no benefit to having a High Card in Spades, Diamonds, Hearts or Clubs, and if the two hands have identical values, the pot is split.High Card
One Pair – approximate probability 43.7%
Over the seven cards that are used in a game of Texas Hold´em Poker, Omaha Poker and 7 Card Stud Poker, you are likely to find a pair nearly half the time. It may not ultimately be good enough to win the pot, but a pair delivered early in the hand has the potential to improve.
When two or more players go to showdown with One Pair, the player with the highest value pair (Aces > Deuces) wins the pot. In the event that two players have a pair of equal value, the player with the highest value third card (or fourth or fifth card) wins the pot. If both hands are identical, the pot is split.One Pair]
Two Pair – approximate probability 23.5%
It is surprising how often players are dealt two pairs in a hand of poker – almost one-in-four hands. This can either occur because a player has one pair in their hole cards and another on the board, or because the two separate value hole cards have both paired on the board.
The second of the two scenarios is most favorable position to be in, because a pair on the board can easily become three of a kind for another player. The more players there are involved in a hand, the more likely this scenario becomes.Two Pair
Three of a Kind – approximate probability 4.77%
Now we are getting into the premium hands. With 84.7% of the possible hands already accounted for, if you can make a hand using three cards of the same value, there is a strong likelihood that the pot will be yours.
The potential problem to be aware of is if two of the three cards are among the community cards. Another player could, in theory, have the same Three of a Kind with a better fourth or fifth card that would enable them to take down the pot with a better “kicker”.Three of a Kind
Straight – approximate probability 4.62%
A Straight is a five-card hand that has cards of individual values running in consecutive order. Aces count both high and low when making a Straight, with Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten being the best possible Straight to make.
One issue to be aware of is if four of the five cards used to make the Straight appear among the community cards. It is possible that another player could be holding two hole cards that improve upon the Straight that you are able to make.Straight
Flush – approximate probability 3.03%
A Flush is comprised of five cards of the same suit and ranked according the highest card used to make the Flush – for example, an Ace-high Flush beats a King-high Flush. There is no hierarchy between the suits as it is impossible to make two flushes of different suits in the same hand.
Issues to be aware of include having two low-value hole cards of the same suit as – although Flushes are rare hands to hit – another player could have two higher cards of the same suit; and four cards of the same suit on the board when you have a low-value card of the same suit among your hole cards.Flush
Full House – approximate probability 2.8%
A Full House is comprised of One Pair and Three of a kind in the same hand. It is an outstanding hand to make in 7 Card Stud Poker, where each player is dealt individual cards, but has its pitfalls in Texas Hold´em poker and Omaha Poker if key cards are dealt among the community cards.
For example, if three Aces were to be dealt on the flop, and you were holding a Pair of Fours in your hole cards, you are at risk of your hand being beaten by a player who has been dealt a higher pocket pair in their hole cards.Full House
Four of a Kind – approximate probability 0.152%
Four of a Kind or “Quads” is a great hand for disguising – especially if the Four of a Kind is made up using your two hole cards and two of the community cards. You really want to play this hand to its maximum potential to pull in as many chips from the other players as possible.
Although Quads is a great hand, it is possible for it to get beaten by another Four of a Kind. In this scenario, many sites have a progressive Bad Beat Jackpot that will often more than compensate for the disappointment of getting your quads quashed.Four of a Kind
Straight Flush – approximate probability 0.025%
A Straight Flush is a set of five cards in running order all of the same suit. It is a great hand to have if you hold the top end of the Straight Flush in your hole cards, but – depending on the community cards that are dealt – can be a bit worrying if you hold the bottom end of the hand in your hole cards.
Making a Straight Flush can be a very rewarding hand if another player believes that he or she has a high ranking non-Straight Flush, and you should structure your betting actions based on what you know about other players that stay with you in the hand.Straight Flush
Royal Flush – approximate probability 0.003%
The Royal Flush is every player´s dream hand. It is an Ace-high Straight Flush and is an unbeatable hand. Because it is a dream hand, be careful how you structure your betting action. If you bet too aggressively, everybody will recognize the value of your hand and fold immediately.Royal Flush
We hope that our guide to hand rankings used in poker is of some value to you – not only so that you can see the strength of your own hand, but so you can identify the potential hands that other players could make with the community cards that have been dealt.