What Beats What? The Ultimate Guide for Poker Hand Rankings

In Texas Hold'em, we only use 52 cards out of a card pack, excluding the joker cards.

Each player is dealt two cards face down at the beginning of each round. We call these two cards the ‘hole cards’, which are private and can only be seen by the player who holds them. The hole cards are also known as the starting hand. In addition, another 5 cards will also be dealt face up on the table. They are called community cards, which are shared by all players.

Players use their private hole cards in conjunction with the community cards on the table to make up the best 5-card combination to compete with their opponents.

Not sure what poker hand you’re holding or how high your poker hand is ranked?

Check out the poker hand ranking chart we’ve prepared for you. See the poker hands from best to worst. Get the gist of it in an instant. Download and print it out if you are hosting a poker home game with friends who are new to the game. Use it as a convenient cheat sheet. Enjoy and have fun!

Description for the poker hands:

Poker Hand Rankings - Royal Flush

#1.  Royal Flush
Five cards of the same suit plus a straight from a ten to an ace. It is the best possible hand in Texas hold'em.

Poker Hand Rankings - Straight Flush

#2.  Straight Flush
Five cards of the same suit plus a straight.

Poker Hand Rankings - Four of a kind

#3.  Four of a Kind
Also known as quads, refers to any four cards of the same rank. The fifth card is called the kicker.

Poker Hand Rankings - Full House

#4.  Full House
Also known as a full boat or a boat, refers to any three cards of the same rank plus a pair in the same hand.

Poker Hand Rankings - Flush

#5.  Flush
Any five cards of the same suit, regardless of their order. Among all the possible flush combinations, Ace-high flush ranks the highest.

Poker Hand Rankings - Straight

#6.  Straight
Any five cards in sequential order, regardless of the suits. In this case, aces can act like either a high or a low card, which means a five-high straight is the lowest possible straight.

Poker Hand Rankings - Three of a kind

#7.  Three of a Kind
Any three cards of the same rank. The other two cards are not numerically matching. The best possible three of a kind would be the one shown in the example: three Aces with a King and a Queen as side cards, regardless of their suits.

Poker Hand Rankings - Two Pairs

#8.  Two Pairs
Two different pairs in the same hand. The highest pair of the two will determine the rank of the two-pair.

Poker Hand Rankings - One Pair

#9.  One Pair
Any two cards of the same rank in a hand. 

Poker Hand Rankings - High Card

#10.  High Card
Any hand that does not meet the requirements of the aforementioned types falls into this category. The highest ranked card in this hand determines how strong the hand is. An ace would make the hand rank the highest among all high cards.

Printable Cheatsheet

Now we’ve learned all the poker hands, their description, and their ranking. Here is a copy of all poker hands from best to worst.

Poker Hand Rankings - Cheat sheet | how to play poker

Commonly Asked Questions:

1.What is the highest suit in Texas Hold'em poker?

In some poker games, suits rank differently. However, in the rules of the Texas Hold'em, all the suits rank equally.

There might be only one situation under which you need to compare the suits. When you are in a home game, before the game starts you need to decide who gets to be the dealer first. A card will be dealt to each player. Whoever holds the card with highest value would be the dealer. If there are multiple players with the same face value, they need to compare suits following this rule: spades > hearts > diamonds > clubs.

Poker Hand Rankings - suits in poker | poker how to play

2.If there is four of a kind among the community cards, who wins the game?

According to the rule, a player needs to win with a five-card poker hand. When everyone uses a four of a kind on the board, you need to compare the fifth card everyone holds.

For example, if it is 7c7d7s7h3c on the board, your hole cards are AsQs and your opponent’s hand is KcQc, the result is that you win, because your best five cards are 7c7d7s7hAs and your opponent’s is 7c7d7s7hKc.

Even if your opponent is holding KcKs, the best fifth card he has is still a King. On the other hand, even if your hand is AcAs and your opponent has Ah3s, it is still a draw because the best hand you are both making is 7c 7d7s7hAc/h.

How to play poker | Four of a kind poker hands

3.If there are two full house hands on the table, who wins? 4-4-4-T-T and 7-7-7-8-8 are both full house, how do they compare?

Full House | How to Play Poker

Let’s take 4-4-4-T-T and 7-7-7-8-8 for example. It is the three-of-a-kind element that determines which hand ranks higher. In this case, 7>4, hence the 7-7-7-8-8 wins. What if the three-of-a-kind element is the same between two hands. Then you move on to comparing the pairs.

4.About the "kickers" in poker

It’s commonly seen in multiplayer games, a player could end up making the same poker hand with another. When it happens, extra cards need to come into play to determine who wins. These extra cards are called “kickers”. Whoever has the higher kicker wins the game.

For example:

Player A holds Kh9h; Player B holds AsKd

The community cards are Ks-Tc-Td-4s-2c

The best five-card poker hands for these two players are:

Player A: KhKsTcTd9h, which contains KK,TT two pairs, and a Nine kicker;

Player B: KdKsTcTdAs, which contains also KK,TT two pairs, and an Ace kicker.

Both players have two same pairs , but player B's kicker wins over player A’s, so player B takes the pot. We call it player B ‘out-kicked’ player A.

How to Play Poker | what is kicker in poker?

When the players don’t even make one pair hands, that is, the best they have are all high cards, often times they might also have the same kickers. In this situation, continue to compare the second kicker, then the third. If they end up having identical best five card poker hands, they can simply share the pot evenly.

Have you digested all the information? If you are ready, use the 5 quizzes we prepared to see if you have mastered the rules of poker hand rankings:
(swipe left to check the answer)

Allen W - Apr 18 2021

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