Poker is a popular game for many reasons. For one, it is relatively easy to learn how to play. The basic rules can be learned in a few minutes, and many resources are available to help players improve their skills. Poker is also a very versatile game, with many different variants that you can play. Whether you want to play a simple game of five-card draw or a complex game of HORSE, a version of poker will suit your needs. Finally, poker is a social game that people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy. Chatting with people through an online room or directly over the table is a great way to make new friends and have fun.
It is a common misconception that poker is primarily a game of luck. While it is true that luck plays a role in the outcome of any given hand, skill is by far the more important factor. The best poker players are those who can make intelligent decisions based on the cards they are dealt, and they are often able to win even when their hand is not particularly strong. The key to success in poker is being able to read your opponents and figure out what they will do next. With enough practice, anyone can develop this skill, regardless of how lucky they might be. This strategic depth is one of the biggest reasons to play poker, as it ensures that everyone from beginner to seasoned pro still has something new to learn. While poker’s strategic depth can seem intimidating to beginners as they don’t know where to start, you shouldn’t worry. Focusing on the basics, like poker hands in order, is a great idea, and this poker guide will help you learn just that.
Poker hands in order
In poker, cards are ranked based on their numerical or face value, and two cards with the same value but different suits are considered equally strong. From lowest to highest, cards are ranked two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, jack, queen, king, and ace. However, individual card rankings are not the only thing you need to know in poker. Cards can form certain combinations too. Here is a list of all of them, from weakest first to strongest last:
High card – As the name implies, this hand contains a single top card. In a five-card hand with no other combinations, the highest-ranking card represents the strength of the hand. Ex. If you had a 4-3-2-7-King, you would have a king-high hand. If two players have the same highest card, the second-highest card is used to break the tie. This process can be repeated, and the pot is evenly split if both players have all the same cards in rank. The tiebreaker card in a hand is usually referred to as the “kicker.”
Pair – In a five-card hand, if two cards have the same rank and there are no other combinations, the hand is considered a “pair.” When compared against each other, pairs follow the standard card rankings, and if they are even, the highest non-paired card is used, and so on.
Two-pair – In a five-card hand, if there are two pairs, the hand is known as a two-pair. In the event of a tie between the highest pairs, the second-highest pair is considered, then if there is still a tie, the final unpaired card is considered.
Three-of-a-kind – In a five-card hand, if three cards have the same rank, that hand is known as a three-of-a-kind. In the event of a tie, the remaining two cards serve as the kickers.
Straight – One of the few five-card hand combinations, a straight is five cards in consecutive order. If two players have a straight, the highest card of each straight is considered. Ex. If you had 7-8-9-10-Jack, you would have a jack-high straight.
Flush – Another five-card hand combination; this time, a flush is five cards of the same suit. If two people have a flush, the tie is broken by following the standard procedure of comparing the kickers, as all suits are equally powerful.
Full house – A full house combines a three-of-a-kind and a pair. The strength of a full house is determined by the three-of-a-kind first, then the pair.
Four-of-a-kind – In a five-card hand, the four-of-a-kind consists of all four cards of the same suit and any other card as the fifth. In the event of a tie (which is only possible if the four-of-a-kind comes entirely from the community cards), the player with the highest fifth card wins.
Straight flush – A straight flush is five cards of the same suit in consecutive order, except for 10-Jack-Queen-King-Ace. In the event of a tie, the highest card in the straight flush is considered.
Royal flush – A royal flush is the strongest possible straight flush and poker hand, consisting of a 10-Jack-Queen-King-Ace all of the same suit. The pot is automatically split if two players have a royal flush, as there would be no kicker.
The first step is knowing the fundamentals
To be successful at poker, it is critical to understand the different hands and their rankings. New poker players can start by memorizing the ranking of the hands and then move on to playing online poker micro-stakes games that don’t require a financial commitment. Many resources are available to help you learn poker, so there is no reason to be worried. Start your journey today and see how far you can go!