Poker is an incredibly popular card game among both new and experienced punters. Many online casino enthusiasts love it because it’s all about skill. Of course, that means that besides knowing the basic rules you’ll need a good strategy to win. Unlike other card games, poker stands out with big live tournaments and a wide range of variations. Moreover, the gameplay is straightforward and with decent odds of winning. But if you are venturing into poker for the first time, it is essential to understand hand ranking before you start playing. We’ve covered everything there is to know in our comprehensive guide below, including some extra pro tips.
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In a poker game, hand rankings dictate the strength of the various hands or simply, card combinations. Hand rankings are crucial in the game for determining the winner. Hence if you understand these you’ll have a much easier time deciding what to do.
To win a poker hand, you can bluff other players or, hopefully, just hold the best hand at a showdown. Moreover, you should know that poker uses a single deck of 52 cards that are also ranked. Each poker hand has five cards, and of course, the highest hand wins.
Understanding Poker Cards Ranking
There are 52 cards, or a single deck, in a standard poker game. But before we talk about hand rankings, you should know the card hierarchy. The cards have different values and offer varying payouts. Starting from highest to lowest value, here are all the poker cards:
Besides the above ranking, the card suits don’t matter – almost in all types of poker, they are equal. Usually, a poker hand has 5 cards in total. Of course, the highest-ranking hand beats the lower one. However, if there are multiple hands of the same kind then the one with the highest value card wins among those.
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Poker Hand Ranking
Just like the cards themselves, different card combinations which form various hands also have different values. Knowing this hierarchy is crucial to your gameplay, so make sure to remember it. So starting from highest to lowest value, here are the poker hand rankings:
The royal flush is the highest-ranking hand and the best one you could get in a poker game. It has five consecutive cards starting from 10 through Ace. Moreover, the cards must be from the same suit. Since all suits are equal, all royal flushes are equal as well.
The straight flush is the second-best hand and also has five cards from the same suit. Indeed, the cards here also must be in a sequence like for example the combination J, 10, 9, 8, and 7. Only a royal or another straight flush can beat this combo.
Four of a Kind
This hand is kind of self-explanatory – it’s four cards of the same value. In other words, the fifth one could be anything. For example, four jacks and a 2 is a possible combination. The fifth card is the kicker and it can sometimes matter to determine the winner if there are two players with four of a kind.
A full house consists of three cards of the same kind and a pair of different ranks. The three cards determine the rank in a full house. So like the other hands, the winning hand is the one with the highest value or rank.
Basically, a flush is any five cards of the same kind. If two players finish with a flush, the winner of the hand is the one with the highest-valued card. However, if the highest cards are of the same value, then players compare the second-highest-ranking cards.
A straight hand consists of five cards in a sequence but from different suits. In this case, the hand with the highest-ranking top card wins straights. However, in this case, an Ace can be a high or low card but not both simultaneously.
Three of Kind
This is a poker hand with three cards of the same value and two other cards of different ranks. The three-of-a-kind hand is also known as triplets, and the one with the highest rank wins. However, if they are equal, the highest card of the two remaining cards determines the winner.
A two-pairs hand has 2 matching ranking cards, plus another 2 matching in rank cards, and a fifth one which can be whatever. In other words, two pairs, as the name suggests, are two separate pairs plus a kicker. When comparing two pairs, the hand with the highest pair wins.
This hand has two cards of the same rank and three cards of a different rank. In this case, the pair hand with the most valuable or highest-ranking cards wins. It’s not the best but winning with a pair is still possible.
A high card is considered when a hand doesn’t form any of the combinations from above. If you compare such hands, the highest-value card determines the winner.
Hand Ranking in Poker Determines the Winer
The first thing to consider when playing any poker game is how to hand ranking works. As a player, you must know that a royal flush beats a straight, and a full house beats two pairs. But on the bright side, most winning poker hands are pretty easy to determine. Usually, it’s very simple – the best hand wins. However, the game may get complicated as you progress. When playing with other advanced gamblers, even a simple pair can end up winning.
Top Tips for Winning in Poker
Basic poker rules and hand ranking aside, every player could use some extra tips. Here’s what our pros advise:
- Develop a strategy and always stick to it;
- Play a few hands but aggressively;
- Learn bankroll management skills;
- Always keep your eyes on the opponent;
- Practice with free online poker;
- Pick a poker variant you are familiar with.
Time to Play
Poker is quite an exciting casino game that many gamblers in Canada love. But before you start playing too, take time to learn the rules and the hand rankings. Moreover, remember that there are different variations of poker out there and the rules may vary. Nevertheless, you must always choose a safe and reliable platform to practice poker before advancing to real money gaming. Check out our casino reviews and see the top competitors on the market right now.
The best-ranking hand in poker is the royal flush, and it beats all other hands.
Not only you can but we recommend that you do. You can apply different strategies to increase your winning opportunities in poker.
Ace is the highest value card in a standard poker game, if it’s in your hand - you’re lucky.
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