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# Standard ranking of poker hands

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In poker, certain combinations of cards, or hands, outrank other hands, based on the frequency with which these combinations appear. The player with the best poker hand at the showdown wins the pot.

Although used in poker, these hand rankings are also used in a variety of other card games.

A poker hand consists of five cards, no more, no less. Although in many poker games each player has seven (or more) cards to play, the sixth and seventh cards are not used to determine the winner. If two or more players have identical five-card hands, they divide the pot equally between them.

The individual cards are ranked ace (high), king, queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 (low). An ace may also be used as a low card, below the 2, in making a straight or a straight flush. Suits have no rank in poker, and are not used to determine the winner of a hand.

### Royal flush

A royal flush is a poker hand containing an ace, king, queen, jack, and a 10 of the same suit (for example A♠ K♠ Q♠ J♠ 10♠). Because it is both a straight (having five cards in sequential rank) and a flush (having five cards of the same suit), it is also known as an ace-high straight flush.

A royal flush of hearts

### Straight flush

A straight flush is a poker hand such as Q♠ J♠ 10♠ 9♠ 8♠, which contains five cards in sequence, all of the same suit. Two such hands are compared by their high card in the same way as are straights. The low ace rule also applies: 5♦ 4♦ 3♦ 2♦ A♦ is a 5-high straight flush (also known as a “steel wheel”). An ace-high straight flush such as A♣ K♣ Q♣ J♣ 10♣ is called a royal flush, and is the highest ranking standard poker hand.

Examples:

• 7♥ 6♥ 5♥ 4♥ 3♥ beats 5♠ 4♠ 3♠ 2♠ A♠
• J♣ 10♣ 9♣ 8♣ 7♣ ties J♦ 10♦ 9♦ 8♦ 7♦

### Four of a kind

Four of a kind is a poker hand such as 9♣ 9♠ 9♦ 9♥ J♥, which contains four cards of one rank, and an unmatched card. It is also called quads. It ranks above a full house and below a straight flush. Higher ranking four of a kinds defeat lower ranking ones. Between two equal sets of four of a kinds (possible in wild card and community card games), the kicker determines the winner.

Examples:

• 10♣ 10♦ 10♥ 10♠ 5♦ (“four tens” or “quad tens”) defeats 6♦ 6♥ 6♠ 6♣ K♠ (“four sixes”)
• 10♣ 10♦ 10♥ 10♠ Q♣ (“four tens, queen kicker”) defeats 10♣ 10♦ 10♥ 10♠ 5♦ (“four tens with a five”)

### Full house

Two examples of a full house: The three kings on the right beats the three queens on the left

A full house is a poker hand such as 3♣ 3♠ 3♦ 6♣ 6♥, which contains three matching cards of one rank, plus two matching cards of another rank. It ranks above a flush and below four of a kind. Between two full houses, the one with the higher ranking set of three wins. If two have the same set of three (possible in wild card and community card games), the hand with the higher pair wins. Full houses are described by the three of a kind (e.g., KKK) and pair (e.g., 99), as in “Kings full of nines” or simply “Kings full”.

Examples:

• 10♠ 10♥ 10♦ 4♠ 4♦ (“tens full”) defeats 9♥ 9♣ 9♠ A♥ A♣ (“nines full”)
• K♠ K♣ K♥ 3♦ 3♠ defeats 10♠ 10♥ 10♦ 4♠ 4♦
• Q♥ Q♦ Q♣ 8♥ 8♣ (“queens full of eights” or “full house, queens over eights”) defeats Q♥ Q♦ Q♣ 5♠ 5♥ (“queens full of fives”)

### Flush

A flush is a poker hand such as Q♣ 10♣ 7♣ 6♣ 4♣, which contains five cards of the same suit, not in rank sequence. It ranks above a straight and below a full house. Two flushes are compared as if they were high card hands. In other words, the highest ranking card of each is compared to determine the winner; if both have the same high card, then the second-highest ranking card is compared, etc. The suits have no value: two flushes with the same five ranks of cards are tied. Flushes are described by the highest card, as in “queen-high flush”.

Examples:

• A♥ Q♥ 10♥ 5♥ 3♥ (“ace-high flush”) defeats K♠ Q♠ J♠ 9♠ 6♠ (“king-high flush”)
• A♦ K♦ 7♦ 6♦ 2♦ (“flush, ace-king high”) defeats A♥ Q♥ 10♥ 5♥ 3♥ (“flush, ace-queen high”)
• Q♥ 10♥ 9♥ 5♥ 2♥ (“heart flush”) ties Q♠ 10♠ 9♠ 5♠ 2♠ (“spade flush”)

### Straight

A straight is a poker hand such as Q♣ J♠ 10♠ 9♥ 8♥, which contains five cards of sequential rank, of varying suits. It ranks above three of a kind and below a flush. Two straights are ranked by comparing the high card of each. Two straights with the same high card are of equal value, and split any winnings (straights are the most commonly tied hands in poker, especially in community card poker games). Straights are described by the highest card, as in “queen-high straight” or “straight to the queen”.

Examples:

• 8♠ 7♠ 6♥ 5♥ 4♠ (“eight-high straight”) defeats 6♦ 5♠ 4♦ 3♥ 2♣ (“six-high straight”)
• 8♠ 7♠ 6♥ 5♥ 4♠ ties 8♥ 7♦ 6♣ 5♣ 4♥

A hand such as A♣ K♣ Q♦ J♠ 10♠ is an ace-high straight, and ranks above a king-high straight such as K♥ Q♠ J♥ 10♥ 9♦. But the ace may also be played as a 1-spot in a hand such as 5♠ 4♦ 3♦ 2♠ A♣, called a wheel or five-high straight, which ranks below the six-high straight 6♠ 5♣ 4♣ 3♥ 2♥. The ace may not “wrap around”, or play both high and low in the same hand: 3♣ 2♦ A♠ K♠ Q♣ is not a straight, but just ace-high no pair.

### Three of a kind

Three of a kind is a poker hand such as 2♦ 2♠ 2♥ K♠ 6♠, which contains three cards of the same rank, plus two unmatched cards. It ranks above two pair and below a straight. Higher ranking three of a kind defeat lower ranking three of a kinds. If two hands have the same rank three of a kind (possible in games with wild cards or community cards), the kickers are compared to break the tie.

Examples:

• 8♠ 8♥ 8♦ 5♠ 3♣ (“three eights”) defeats 5♣ 5♥ 5♦ Q♦ 10♣ (“three fives”)
• 8♠ 8♥ 8♦ A♣ 2♦ (“three eights, ace kicker”) defeats 8♠ 8♥ 8♦ 5♠ 3♣ (“three eights, five kicker”)

### Two pair

A poker hand such as J♥ J♣ 4♣ 4♠ 9♠, which contains two cards of the same rank, plus two cards of another rank (that match each other but not the first pair), plus one unmatched card, is called two pair. It ranks above one pair and below three of a kind. Between two hands containing two pair, the higher ranking pair of each is first compared, and the higher pair wins. If both have the same top pair, then the second pair of each is compared. Finally, if both hands have the same two pairs, the kicker determines the winner. Two pair are described by the higher pair (e.g., KK) and the lower pair (e.g., 99), as in “Kings over nines”, “Kings and nines” or simply “Kings up”.

Examples:

• K♥ K♦ 2♣ 2♦ J♥ (“kings up”) defeats J♦ J♠ 10♠ 10♣ 9♠ (“jacks up”)
• 9♣ 9♦ 7♦ 7♠ 6♥ (“nines and sevens”) defeats 9♥ 9♠ 5♥ 5♦ K♣ (“nines and fives”)
• 4♠ 4♣ 3♠ 3♥ K♦ (“fours and treys, king kicker”) defeats 4♥ 4♦ 3♦ 3♣ 10♠ (“fours and treys with a ten”)

### One pair

One pair is a poker hand such as 4♥ 4♠ K♠ 10♦ 5♠, which contains two cards of the same rank, plus three unmatched cards. It ranks above any high card hand, but below all other poker hands. Higher ranking pairs defeat lower ranking pairs. If two hands have the same rank of pair, the non-paired cards in each hand (the kickers) are compared to determine the winner.

Examples:

• 10♣ 10♠ 6♠ 4♥ 2♥ (“pair of tens”) defeats 9♥ 9♣ A♥ Q♦ 10♦ (“pair of nines”)
• 10♥ 10♦ J♦ 3♥ 2♣ (“tens with jack kicker”) defeats 10♣ 10♠ 6♠ 4♥ 2♥
• 2♦ 2♥ 8♠ 5♣ 4♣ (“deuces, eight-five-four”) defeats 2♣ 2♠ 8♣ 5♥ 3♥ (“deuces, eight-five-trey”)

### High card

A no-pair or high-card hand is a poker hand such as K♥ J♣ 8♣ 7♦ 3♠, in which no two cards have the same rank, the five cards are not in sequence, and the five cards are not all the same suit. It can also be referred to as “nothing” or “garbage,” and many other derogatory terms. It ranks below all other poker hands. Two such hands are ranked by comparing the highest ranking card; if those are equal, then the next highest ranking card; if those are equal, then the third highest ranking card, etc. No-pair hands are described by the one or two highest cards in the hand, such as “king high” or “ace-queen high”, or by as many cards as are necessary to break a tie.

Examples:

• A♦ 10♦ 9♠ 5♣ 4♣ (“ace high”) defeats K♣ Q♦ J♣ 8♥ 7♥ (“king high”)
• A♣ Q♣ 7♦ 5♥ 2♣ (“ace-queen”) defeats A♦ 10♦ 9♠ 5♣ 4♣ (“ace-ten”)
• 7♠ 6♣ 5♣ 4♦ 2♥ (“seven-six-five-four”) defeats 7♣ 6♦ 5♦ 3♥ 2♣ (“seven-six-five-trey”)