Poker hands are the combinations of cards in poker gaming. Poker hands value is based on the five card ranking. Study these rankings beginning from the highest poker hands.
Rank Poker Hand Name Description
1 Royal Flush A, K, Q, J, 10 all of same suit
2 Straight Flush Five cards of the same suit in sequence
3 Four of a Kind Four cards of the same rank
4 Full House 3 of a Kind and a Pair
5 Flush Five cards of the same suit
6 Straight Five cards in sequence
7 3 of a Kind Three cards of the same rank
8 2 Pairs Two cards of one rank, plus two of another
9 Pair Two cards of the same rank
If two poker hands are tied in rank, the following rules apply:
If two poker players both have straight flushes, flushes, or straights, the highest card that is part of the poker hand determines the winning hand. If the highest card still results in a tie, then the next highest card will determine the winner.
If both poker players have a full house, then the highest three of a kind will determine the winner.
If both poker players have three of a kind, the highest ranking three of a kind will be determined the winner.
The highest ranking pair in the poker hand will decide two hands with two pair. If this still results in a tie, then the remaining pairs will be compared and the highest ranking pair will then determine the winner.
If both players have a single pair then the highest ranking pair will win. If this is also a tie, then the next highest ranking single card will determine the winner. If this still results in a tie, then the next highest single ranking card will determine the winner.
Two poker hands with no pairs, flushes, or straights are compared and the card with the highest-ranking single card will be determined the winner. If this still yields no winner, then the next highest card will be determined the winner.
The poker beginners are recommended not to play too many hands. It would be better simply to fold more until the best poker hand comes and then the player should raise. To make money in poker, you need to win more when you win, and lose less when you lose.
That’s why, the players usually want poker hands that are easy to play. For example, if you have AK, and the flop comes A96, you can be confident that you have the best hand, so you can bet it hard, and win as much as possible. With a hand like A5, you can’t be too happy with that flop. What happens if you bet, and get raised? Someone might have AK, or they might be betting a straight or flush draw. You might end up losing a lot of money to AK, or not winning as much as you should have from a lower pair.
For this reason, A5 is a dangerous hand. If you have the best poker hand, you probably won’t win that much, because everyone will fold, because no one has top pair. But if you have AK, you can win a lot of money from someone with A5, or more likely, AQ or AJ. This approach is even more important in Pot Limit and No Limit Hold’em. In these games, a second-best hand can cost you a whole lot of money.
Drawing Poker Hands vs. Made Poker Hands – A drawing hand is a poker hand that you want to improve. For example, 45s is a drawing hand, because you’ll never win with 5 high alone. On the other hand, KK is a made hand.
Drawing poker hands always do better with more people in the pot, and made hands want as few people as possible. So, if you’re at a table with 6 people calling every hand, you can play more drawing hands. It’s a good idea to play 45s with 6 people in the poker hand, but its a terrible play with only 2 people in the hand. Because with a drawing poker hand, you won’t hit your draw very often (e.g. flush), but when you do, you’ll almost certainly have the best poker hand, so you’ll win the pot.
You usually won’t win without hitting a flush or straight, so you don’t really mind more people joining the hand. They aren’t decreasing your chances of winning, but they are adding money to the pot, money that you can win. AK can be considered a made poker hand against 1 player, because you will occasionally win with just ace high.
So, you should raise preflop with made poker hands, to drive out opponents. You want one or two opponents at most, even with a poker hand as good as QQ. It is almost never correct to slowplay a poker hand like QQ preflop. The problem is that you let a hand like K3 call the flop cheaply and beat you when a king flops. If you have the best hand, make your opponents pay to beat you.
The tricky drawing/made poker hands – The low pocket pairs lose a lot of people a lot of money. This is the tricky part – a hand like 44 is a made hand against 1 or 2 players, but a drawing hand against 4 or more players.
If 5 people are in the pot, you’ll almost never win the hand with just a pair of 4s. In this case, you’re hoping to hit a set of 4s. For example, you’re looking for a flop of A94, giving you three 4s. If you don’t flop a 4, you fold. You’ll flop a set about 1 time in 8 (actually 1 in 8.5). So, you need to be confident that you can make 8 times the amount of money you had to call preflop if you hit a set.
If you have 3 players in the hand, the pot probably won’t get big enough to give you 8 times your call. But with 5 or more players, go ahead and play 44, just make sure you fold if you don’t flop a 4. To summarize, you can play a hand like 44 when you think there will be 1 other player, or 5 other players. If you think there will be 3 opponents in the hand, just fold the low pockets.
Texture of the poker game – Some poker hands are better in aggressive games (where there is a lot of betting and raising) and other poker hands are better in passive games (mostly checking).
A hand like 44 is better in an aggressive game. This is because when you flop a 4, you can make a lot of money. The aggressiveness improves your implied odds. On the other hand, 45s is better in a passive game. In a passive game, when you flop a flush or straight draw, it won’t cost you as much to see the next card.
Shorthanded – In a short handed game (with 5 players or less) high cards take on greater value. A hand like A5 becomes a good hand in a 4 person game. It is very unlikely that one of the 3 other players has a better hand than you, so you can even raise with it.
Drawing poker hands go way down in value because there probably won’t be very many people in the hand, and as discussed previously, drawing poker hands do better against lots of opponents.