Poker has exploded over the years in popularity, and it seems that these day’s everyone is playing the game. One of the key reasons for the popularity of poker is the ease at which it can be learnt. A common saying about poker is: “It takes 5 minutes to learn, but a lifetime to master” This saying is very true, as poker is a very simple card game to learn. The complexities of the game are based around the many different situations that arise during game play combined with the fact that the game is played between players at the table and not versus the house. Other popular casino games such as blackjack and roulette are played vs the house, whereas poker is a game played between players, commonly referred to as a peer-to-peer gaming. When playing against other people, complexities arise from the different personalities and styles of the individual people that you play against. While this factor is the one that makes it infinitely difficult to master, it is also the factor that makes it infinitely enjoyable to play. The first step to learning poker rules is to learn the hand rankings of poker. Poker Rules for almost all variations of poker are based on the same universal hand rankings. Games such as Texas Holdem, 7-Card Stud, Omaha and Draw Poker all use the same hand rankings in regards to their poker rules. With all common poker variations, hands are calculated based on their 5 card total. While many poker variations allow for a different number of cards dealt to the players, the winning hand is always determined from the best 5 card poker hand at the end of the day.
Below are the hand rankings for poker.
1. Royal Flush: A Royal Flush is the best hand in poker. If you have this hand, you cannot lose. A Royal Flush is comprised of the Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace in the same suit. The odds of being dealt a Royal Flush on the flop in Texas Holdem using both of your cards is 1 in 649,740. In some variations of poker it is possible for more than one player to hold a royal flush, in this instance the pot would be split between those that hold a royal flush. A Royal Flush is the same rank no matter what suit it is in.
2. Straight Flush: A Straight Flush is the second best hand in poker. A Straight Flush is comprised of any 5 cards making a straight that are all the same suit. The lowest possible straight flush is an Ace, Deuce, Three, Four and Five all of the same suit. The highest straight flush is a Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace all of the same suit (Royal Flush). It is possible in many forms of poker for more than one person to have a straight flush. In the instance where two or more players are dealt a straight flush, the winning straight flush will be the one that has the highest card as part of their straight. For example, a 7 high straight flush (3-4-5-6-7 same suit) is ranked higher than a 6 high straight flush (2-3-4-5-6 same suit).
3. Four of a Kind: Four of a Kind is the third best hand in poker. Four of a kind is comprised of 4 of a kind as well as one other random card making a 5 card hand. The highest four of a kind is four aces with the lowest four of a kind being four deuces. It is possible in some variations of poker for more than one person to have four of a kind. In the instance where two or more people have the same four of a kind, for example in texas holdem there may be 4 aces on the board, the player with the higher kicker would be the winner of the pot. Example, one player may hold KQ while the other may hold JQ and the board may be J – A – A – A – A. In this example, the KQ would be the best hand, four aces and a king vs four aces and a queen.
4. Full House: A Full house is a five card poker hand that is comprised of three of a kind and a pair. The ranking of the full house is determined by the size of the three of a kind whereas the highest full house would be aces full and the lowest full house would be deuces full. If two players have the same three of a kind in their full house, the ranking would then be determined by the size of the pair. For example, in a game of texas holdem where the board is A – A – A – 4 – 6 and player (a) has a pair of Jacks and player (b) has a pair of Tens then player (a) would win with Aces full of Jacks vs Aces full of Tens.
5. Flush: A Flush is a five card poker hand comprised of the same suit. The ranking for a flush is dependant on the highest card in the flush. It is often possible for more than one player to hold a flush of the same suit, and in this case, the player with the higher ranking card as part of their flush would be the winner. The highest possible flush is an ace high flush and the lowest flush possible is a 6 high flush (A 5 high flush would be a straight flush).
6. Straight: A Straight is a five card poker hand featuring five cards in a row. The ranking for a straight is based on the highest card that makes up part of the straight. The highest ranking straight is an Ace high straight – Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace. The lowest possible straight is a five high straight – Ace, Deuce, Three, Four and Five.
7. Three of a Kind: Three of a Kind is made up of any five card poker hand comprised of three of a kind and any random two cards. The highest three of a kind is three aces while the lowest three of a kind is three deuces.
8. Two Pair: Two pair is any five card poker hand comprised of any two pair and one additional random card. Two pairs are ranked by their higher of the pairs and the second pair only comes into ranking when more than one player has the same first pair. It is also possible for two players to hold the same two pair, in this instance, the player with the higher kicker would win the pot. If both players have the same two pair and the same kicker, then it would be a split pot.
9. One Pair: One Pair is any five card poker hand that has one pair and three random cards. Pairs are ranked from highest to lowest with a pair of aces being the highest ranking pair and deuces being the lowest ranking pair.
10. High Card: The lowest ranking poker hand is one that does not have any pairs, straights or flushes. This type of poker hand is simply called high card. A poker hand of this type is ranked by the highest card in the five card combination. The most popular poker variation is Texas Holdem. Miller’s Guide has a complete poker rules section just for Texas Holdem. Check out the Texas Holdem Rules Page below. Alternatively if you are ready to play, you can check out the Miller’s Guide Online Poker reviews page for a detailed review of the worlds top 5 online poker sites. You can even create an account for free and start playing free poker to help you learn the game and the mechanics of the game.