Poker hand rankings

A royal straight flush, the highest ranked poker hand.

An absolute must for anyone who wants to become a decent poker player, or just wants to win, is, of course, knowing the different poker hands and their respective ranking. The poker hand rankings that are commonly accepted today have existed since the 1890s.

By definition, a poker hand always consists of five cards. However, there are some exceptions in some variants of poker, but we will ignore those for now.

Something which is common in Sweden is that people think Hearts, or sometimes Spades, are the highest suit. But, this isn’t true – all the suits are worth the same. For example, if two people have the same suit, the pot is normally split.

The hands presented below show the ranking, from best to worst.

  1. Royal Straight Flush
    Ace – King – Queen – Jack – 10 in the same suit.
  2. Straight Flush
    A five card straight, all in the same suit (which is not as high as a Royal Straight Flush)
  3. Four of a Kind
    Four cards of the same value. The fifth card is unimportant and can be any value.
  4. Full House
    A Three of a Kind and a Pair
  5. Flush
    Five cards from the same suit
  6. Straight
    Five cards in a row (Aces can be high or low)
  7. Three of a Kind
    Three cards of the same value
  8. Two Pairs
    Two Pairs
  9. Pair
    Two cards of the same value
  10. High card
    The hand shows none of the combinations above. The player with the highest ranked card wins.

Games with different hand ranking

However, some poker games have different or modified hand rankings that deviate from the standard system. For example:

  • In Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, the best high hand and the best low hand split the pot. A low hand is a five-card hand that does not contain any pairs or cards higher than 8. The lowest possible hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 5 of different suits.
  • In Razz, only the low hand wins the pot. The hand ranking is similar to Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, except that straights and flushes do not count against the low hand. The best possible hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 5 of different suits.
  • In Badugi, each player receives four cards and tries to make the lowest four-card hand with no pairs and no cards of the same suit. The hand ranking is based on the number of different suits and ranks in the hand. The best possible hand is A, 2, 3, 4 of different suits.

These are just some examples of how hand ranking can vary depending on the poker game you play. It is important to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and hand rankings of each game before you start playing. This way, you can avoid confusion and mistakes that could cost you money and fun.