"The only thing that beats a Royal Flush is a loaded gun...
Newcomers to the game can often get confused, especially when Andy starts trying to explain Implied Odds and Expected Value. I hope this page will serve to be a lighthouse of clarity to those poor souls cast adrift on the sea of uncertainty. At least as far as it comes to determining what hands beat what, anyway. All of the recognised poker hands are ranked below from best to worst, with a fuller explanation of what they are down the bottom. Settle those showdown arguments right here without the need to resort to name calling or other threats of physical violence! If, however, anyone shows you a five of a kind and there's no wild cards in the game, reach for the old 'Louisville Slugger'...
Hey! You've got a flush draw!!!
- Royal Flush
- Straight Flush
- Four of a Kind
- Full House
- Three of a Kind
- Two Pair
- High Card
1. Royal Flush - This is the highest natural poker hand, and about as common as chicken’s teeth. Or rocking horse droppings. Pretty rare, at any rate. It consists of an ace, king, queen, jack, and a ten, and like Westlife, they all have to be in the same suit. As all suits are equal, all royal flushes are equal. I’ve only seen one of these in my lifetime when the deck hasn’t been stripped.
2. Straight Flush - A straight flush is made up of 5 cards of the same suit in sequence – for example A-2-3-4-5. Between two straight flushes, the one containing the HIGHER top card is the better hand, so 3-4-5-6-7 of spades beats 2-3-4-5-6 of hearts and so on. The cards cannot "turn the corner", so 4-3-2-A-K is just plain silly.
3. Four of a kind - Just like it says on the tin. Four cards of the same rank - such as four eights (or 'snowmen'). The fifth card can be anything (if it's another queen, please bring me my baseball bat). This hand is sometimes known as "quads". Between two 4 of a kinds, the higher set of four cards is the best hand - so 8-8-8-8-2 is beaten by Q-Q-Q-Q-2.
4. Full House - This consists of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank - for example three sevens and two 2s (colloquially known as "sevens full" or more specifically "sevens on twos"). When comparing full houses, the rank of the three cards determines which is higher. For example 7-7-7-2-2 will alway be beat 6-6-6-A-A.
5. Flush - Five cards of the same suit, in any order you like. When comparing two flushes, the highest card in the hand determines which is better. If the highest cards are equal then the second highest card is compared and so on down the line - our hand shown on the right here 5-8-9-10-A would beat 4-8-9-10-A because the FIVE beats the FOUR.
6. Straight - Five cards of mixed suits but running in sequence - for example 5-6-7-8-9. When comparing two sequences, the one with the higher ranking top card is better. Ace can count high or low in a straight. A-2-3-4-5 (also called a 'Wheel') is the lowest kind of straight. Straights cannot "turn the corner" so K-A-2-3-4 is just a big crock of shit.
7. Three of a Kind - Three cards of the same rank – often called a ‘prile’, 'trips' or 'triplets' - for example three Kings plus two other (non-paired) cards. When comparing two ‘three of a kind’s the hand in which the three equal cards are of higher rank is better, so for example K-K-K-5-4 beats 2-2-2-K-Q. Your pocket pair will make trips in 1 flop in 8.
8. Two Pair - When comparing hands which contain two pairs, the hand with the highest pair wins, irrespective of the rank of the other cards - so 7-7-2-2-A beats 6-6-3-3-A because the SEVENS beat the SIXES. If higher pairs are equal, lower pairs decide it. If these are also equal, then it comes down to the who has the best 'kicker'.
9. Pair - A hand with two cards of equal rank and three other cards which do not match the two paired cards or each other. When comparing two such hands, the hand with the higher pair is better, so A-A-10-5-K beats Q-Q-J-7-A. If pairs are equal, the highest ranking of the remaining cards decides the winner. You make a pair in Hold'Em in almost every other full hand.
10. High Card - Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Few things are sadder than being left with just a high card. This is a rather sad hand containing five cards which do not form any of the combinations listed above. When comparing two such hands at a showdown the one with the better highest card wins (and everyone says “you jammy bastard”).
If the highest cards are equal the second cards are compared; if they are equal too the third cards are compared, and so on. So A-8-J-7-6 beats A-8-J-7-5 because the SIX beats the FIVE. This is without question the weakest hand you can have - if no player has a pair or better, then the hand that contains the highest ranking card takes the pot, and everyone says “who dealt this shit?” and beats up the dealer. And there you have it poker fans, unless you're playing wild cards like Jokers, 'One-eyed Jacks' and the 'Suicide King', that's your lot!
- "Behold the power of the Beer Hand!" -