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Poker Hand Rankings

No matter what type of poker you are playing, the goal is the same - to form the best five card hand. In some variants, like five card draw, you end up with exactly five cards, while in others, like 7 card stud, you form your hand form the best five cards you hold. In Texas hold 'em you form your hand from the best five cards in either your hand or on the board, while in Omaha you have to use precisely two cards from your hand and three form the board.

Regardless of how you get there, the rank of your five card hand is the same in any variation.

The best possible hand is a royal flush. An ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of the same suit are required to make a royal flush. A royal flush is really just the highest possible straight flush, where a straight flush is any 5 cards of the same suit in sequential order. A straight flush is naturally the second best possible hand, with higher being better. An ace can be high or low.

The next best hand possible is four of a kind, which is four cards of the same denomination. Following four of a kind is a full house. A full house is defined as having three cards of one denomination and two cards of another denomination. When comparing two full houses, the one with the higher set of three wins.

A flush is any combination of five cards of the same suit and comes next in the hand rankings. When comparing two flushes, the highest card wins; in the event that both flushes have the same high card, the next highest card is used to break ties, and so on until there is no tie. After a flush comes a straight, which is any five cards in sequential order. To form a straight, the ace can be used as a high or a low card and the higher high card wins when two straights clash.

Three of a kind, which is any three cards of the same denomination (with any two other cards) comes next in hand ranks. It is followed by two pair - which is two cards of the same denomination, plus two cards of a different denomination, plus any other card. The higher of the two pairs breaks any ties and then the lower pair if needed.

Next comes one pair, which is simply two matching cards. The highest pair wins and ties are broken by the highest card not used to form the pair. If no one has a pair or better, the winner is one with the best high card(s), with an ace being the highest card. Ties are broken by the second highest card, then the third, and so on as needed.

JackRag


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