In this section we set out the rank of respective card hands to enable you to understand the value of the cards you hold. If you are new to the game we recommend you read the Poker Rules page and also the Poker Odds page to gain an understanding of the statistical likelyhood of each of the poker hands below appearing in any given game.
If this hand appears in a lifetime of playing then you are indeed lucky. The Royal Flush is the absolute best hand you can hold. It is however extremely unlikely that you will ever hold one. In all my years playing Texas Holdem I've seen this hand once in a live game and I've never held it myself.
The Royal Flush comprises a straight flush running from the Ace High in a downwards direction.
In reality this is the best hand you are likely to ever see, and then on rare occasions. The hand comprises an ascending run of cards all in the same suit. There is no such thing as a four card Straight Flush. All five cards must match.
FOUR OF A KIND
Another dominant hand in Texas Holdem. In this hand you would be holding all four cards of a given type.
If you play poker regularly then you will see a Full House from time to time. Realistically it's probably the best hand you'll see and should be a winning hand for you whenever you hold it. The hand comprises both three cards of the same kind plus a Pair. Sometimes due to sharing of the five cards on the board, there may be two players holding a Full House. Should this occur then the game is decided by the player who holds the highest three of a kind within the Full House.
A very nice hand and one usually caught by a player drawing for cards. The hand is made of up five cards which are all in the same suit but do not run in any order. As in the Full House example above there can often be games where more than one player at showdown is holding a Flush. The winner in this case is the holder of the higher five cards within the Flush, a principle outlined in detail through the Split Pots section.
Another hand usually caught on a draw is the Straight. This hand ranking lower than the flush comprises a run of five cards that are of different suits. Ace cards are counted as low or high. You will often come across showdowns where two Straights have been made. The winner is the holder of the higher Straight.
THREE OF A KIND
A very nice hand to hold in a Texas Holdem Game. Cards to watch out for are those that run together or are of the same suit as Straights or Flushes are likely to be the main threat to anyone holding Three of a Kind. The other advantage of this hand is that it can often be difficult for your opponents to see that you possess it. A hidden three of a kind is called a "Set" (see Glossary) for details.
A common hand to hold, Two Pair will be beaten by Three of a Kind. The hand, simply put, comprises two sets of Pairs. At the showdown there will often be two players holding this hand. The winner of a Two Pair tie is always the player with the highest Pair. In the event that both players hold the same Pairs (can occur where one or both comprise community cards) then the "Kicker" decides the outcome of the game. Please see our Kickers section for further details.
A low ranking hand in Texas Holdem. This hand comprises two cards that match and nothing else. A single Pair can be the downfall of many players particularly when it is a high value Pair dealt to the player as their hole cards. A Pair of Aces is the best example of a hand that is difficult to fold (indeed many players simply can't fold this hand, no matter what the Flop, Turn and River bring out).
No hand at all. Here a player simply has 7 unmatching cards (you can only play your best 5 cards) so this only becomes relevant where no player at the showdown has any of the above hands.
If both players have the same hand then a Split Pot situation will have developed.