Poker Hands: Rankings, Trivia, and Everything In Between

One of the most important parts of poker is thoroughly understanding each of the many possible hands. You need to know what they are, how they stack up against each other, and the odds of getting them. This article aims to help you, by giving you information about all of that and more.

Please take note that odds and probability depicted in this article may seem higher than normal. This is because the calculation takes into account the two extra community cards in Texas Holdem.

High Card/No Pair

Definition: The absolute weakest five-card hand, this is when you have nothing except a singular high card. The card rankings go in the order of ascending numbers, jack, queen, king, then ace, with the suit being irrelevant.

Chances: Despite being weaker, the odds of having a high card/no pair hand are actually much less than having a pair, and still less than having two pairs. There is a 17.4% chance of you getting this hand, with the odds against you having it being 4.74 to one.

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One Pair

Definition: The second weakest five-card hand, one pair means having two cards of the same rank plus three other cards. Pairs are also ranked in strength the same way as regular cards.

Chances: Statistically, this is by far the most common hand to have in poker, with a whopping 43.8% chance to get it. The odds of you getting it are 1.28 to one, meaning it is often correct to assume that your opponents have at least a pair.

Two Pair

Definition: The third weakest five-card hand, two pair means having two pairs of cards with the same rank plus a fifth card. Only the highest pair matters when comparing two hands with two pairs (ex. A pair of twos and a pair of kings will beat a pair of queens and a pair of jacks despite a pair of twos being much weaker than the rest).

Chances: This hand is surprisingly more common than a no pair/high card hand. You have a 23.5% chance of getting it, with the odds against you getting it being 3.26 to one.

Three-of-a-Kind

Definition: The fourth weakest five-card hand, the three-of-a-kind is 3 cards of the same rank.

Chances: Significantly rarer than the other three hands, you have a 4.83% chance of getting a three-of-a-kind. The odds against you getting it are 19.7 to one.

Straight

Definition: The first of the hands that involve all five cards, a straight is five cards in consecutive order (unless they are all the same suit as well). It is the 6th strongest hand, and in the event of two straights, the highest card wins.

Chances: The probability of getting a straight is pretty close to a three-of-a-kind, at 4.62%. The odds against you getting it are 20.6 to one.

Flush

Definition: A flush is five cards of the same suit (unless they are also in consecutive order). The strength of a flush depends on the highest card in the flush, with the suit being irrelevant. If there is a tie, the second-highest card is considered, and so on.

Chances: The probability of getting a flush is much rarer than getting a straight, at 3.03%. The odds against you getting a flush are 32.1 to one.

Full House

Definition: A full house is a hand consisting of a three-of-a-kind and a pair. In the event of a tie, the strength of a full house is determined by the three-of-a-kind first, then the pair.

Chances: The probability of getting a full house is 2.60%. The odds of getting a full house are 37.5 to one.

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Four-of-a-kind

Definition: A four-of-a-kind is a hand with four cards of the same rank plus an additional fifth card.

Chances: The probability of getting a four-of-a-kind is incredibly rare, at 0.199% compared to the full house at 2.60%. The odds of getting it are 594 to one.

Straight Flush

Definition: As the name implies, a straight flush combines the straight and the flush. It is five consecutive cards of the same suit (except for a 10, a jack, a queen, a king, and an ace.)

Chances: The probability of getting a straight flush is ridiculously rare, at 0.0279%. The odds of getting it are 3,589.6 to one.

Royal Flush

Definition: A royal flush is a special kind of straight flush consisting of a 10, a jack, a queen, a king, and an ace of the same suit.

Chances: The rarest type of poker hand, the probability of getting a royal flush is next to none at 0.0032%. The odds of getting it are 30,939 to one.

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What can I do with this information?

Knowing all of this is essential for you to play poker well. Of course, you do not need to memorize the exact probabilities of every hand. The odds listed are just there to help you realize exactly how rare some hands are and to clear up common misconceptions like how having no pair is actually a lot rarer than one and even two pairs.

Trivia – famous poker hands

The dead man’s hand

The most famous poker hand in the world, the dead man’s hand, was the two pairs in the hand of “Wild Bill” Hickok when he was shot and killed in 1876. According to Neil Christy, the cards were the ace of diamonds, the authority of clubs, eight spades and clubs, and finally, the queen of hearts. However, this has since changed to the two black eights and aces. This hand is well known worldwide and is even the Las Vegas homicide department logo, referencing “Wild Bill” ‘s career as a lawman and the city’s reputation for gambling.

The Doyle Brunson

This famous hand occurred in the 1976 World Series of Poker Championship. Doyle Brunson went up against Jesse Alto, with Brunson having a ten and two of spades and Alto having an ace and jack. The flop was an ace, a ten, and a jack giving Alto the clear advantage with two pairs. Undeterred, Brunson went all in because of Alto’s raise. The turn was a two, so while Brunson had two pairs, they were still under the ace and jack of Alto. Miraculously, the river was a ten, giving Brunson the full house and the win.

The actual reputation of the hand comes from the fact that this exact scenario happened again the following year. With the same ten-two hand, Brunson gets a ten from the river and two from the turn, giving him another unlikely win in the same fashion.

This was an in-depth article about all the poker hands ranked and more. We hope this article helped you learn how to play poker, and if this attracted you to a poker mood, there is no better place to play free poker than in GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. Sign up now, and who knows, you may even get a rare or famous poker hand while playing!