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Poker Hand Order

To be able to play poker you must know the sequence of hands – which hand beats which hand. Luckily the sequence is quite straightforward and easy to pick up.

When you reach the showdown in Hold’em and your opponent turns over his set of threes, you’ll obviously need to know if your straight beats his three of a kind (it does!). Below is a simple list (from lowest to highest) of hands:

  • High Card
  • One Pair
  • Two Pairs
  • Three of a Kind (A Set)
  • Straight
  • Flush
  • Full House (a combination of three of a kind and a pair)
  • Four of a Kind
  • Straight Flush
  • Royal Flush (a straight flush from 10 to A)

Most of these hands are pretty straightforward. The lowest hand in Hold’em – a high card – is when you haven’t been able to make a hand of any kind and the best you can offer is a high card. An ace is the highest card and can sometimes take down a pot (if your opponent is very weak!), but a high card will usually not be good enough to win.

One pair is self-explanatory. The higher the pair, the better. For example, if you hold a pair of nines and your opponent holds a pair of sixes, then you win. Two pairs and a three of a kind (a set/trips) come next, followed by a straight and a flush. These are the two that can get people confused because they feature the other way round in other card games. In Hold’em a flush is a stronger hand than a straight. And like every other hand in Hold’em, the higher the better. For example, a straight from three to seven will lose to a straight from five to nine. Very straightforward.

Now we get to the premium hands. These are the hands that will almost always take the pot because they are rare. After a flush comes the full house which requires five cards (three of a kind and a pair). For example, you could be holding a pair of fours in your hand, and if the flop comes 466, you now have three fours and a pair of sixes; a full house. Next up is four of a kind, again very self-explanatory. The best hand in Hold’em is a straight flush, and if that straight flush runs from 10 to ace – the royal flush – you have an unbeatable hand.

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