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Poker is a multi-faceted game that can be played in myriad ways. Different poker variants have different sets of rules, but one thing that binds all of them together is the hand ranking system.

At its core, the game is about poker hand strength. How players fare in a game depends on the cards they’re dealt—or how they play the random poker combinations they get. You can join GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room, to practice your strategy and bluffing skills through various poker cash games and tournaments. Simply visit their site to register.

If you’re a poker novice looking to elevate your strategy with a solid understanding of the game’s fundamentals, or if you simply want to brush up on your poker hand knowledge, you’ve come to the right place!

This article will take you through a list of poker hands ranked from strongest to weakest. We’ll also give you tips on how to play each card combination. But before we get to that, let’s take a quick refresher on the poker rules.

The Name of the Game

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In every poker game, the goal is to win by either having the best hand at the table or by getting your opponents to fold their cards or give up their hands.
The majority of poker types are based on five-card draw poker. This means that each player is dealt five cards they can choose to keep or trade in for new ones to make the best five-card hand possible.

Poker Hand Hierarchy

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The first thing you need to understand about poker hands is that different card combinations have different rankings. In other words, some card combinations are better or stronger than others.

This hand hierarchy is based on the rarity of card combinations and is essential because it determines who wins the pot. Simply put, stronger hands beat weaker ones, so the player with the strongest hand wins.

Here is a list of winning poker hands in order – from strongest to weakest:

Royal Flush

A royal flush is an unbeatable poker hand. It’s the rarest and the best possible hand you can get and will always win the pot. This combination consists of the cards A, K, Q, J, and 10 of the same suit.

Straight Flush

A straight flush is a hand with five cards in sequence that are all of the same suit. For example, if you’re holding the cards 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5 of hearts, you have almost as strong a hand as a royal flush. It’s not quite as strong since it doesn’t include an Ace.

Four of a Kind

Otherwise known as “quads,” four of a kind is a hand that contains all four cards of the same rank. For example, if you’re holding four 9s, you have quads. This hand is stronger than a full house but not quite as strong as a straight flush.

Full House

A full house happens when you have three cards of the same rank and two other cards of the same rank. For example, if you’re holding three 8s and two 5s, you have a full house. The cards don’t have to be of the same suit. What matters is that three and two are of the same rank. A full house is weaker than quads but stronger than a flush.

Flush

A flush is any hand with five cards of the same suit. It doesn’t matter what the ranks of the cards are. This hand is stronger than a straight but weaker than a full house.

Straight

A straight is any hand with five cards in sequence regardless of suit. So, if you’re holding the cards J, 10, 9, 8, 7, you have a straight. This hand is weaker than a flush but stronger than three of a kind.

Three of a Kind

Three of a kind is also known as “trips” or a “set.” It’s a hand that contains three cards of the same rank. For example, you have “trip Jacks” if you’re holding three jacks. This hand is stronger than two pair but weaker than a straight.

Two Pair

Two pair is a hand that contains two cards of the same rank and two more cards of the same rank. So, if you’re holding two 9s and two 4s, you have two pair. The cards don’t have to be of the same suit. A two pair is weaker than three of a kind but stronger than a pair.

Pair

A pair is a hand with two cards of the same rank. So, if you’re holding two 7s, you have a pair. This hand is the most common and thus the weakest winning combination in poker.

High Card

If none of the above combinations are made, the hand is won by whoever has the highest card. So, if you’re holding an Ace and your opponent is holding a King, you win because your Ace is higher than their King.

Poker Tiebreakers

Like any game, poker is not immune to the likelihood of ties. Because cards are dealt randomly, some poker games end with more than one player having the same hand or card combinations of the same rank. For example, two players have a pair of Kings or a trip Jacks.
In the event of a tie, the winner is determined by the “kicker” or kickers. These cards are not counted in the hand’s pairs, sets, or trips. The player with the highest kicker wins the game.

Say you were holding a three of a kind with the cards 9, 9, 9, 10, and Q. The 10 and Q cards are your kickers. If your opponent were holding the same three of a kind with a 7 and 6, then you win because your Q is higher than their kickers.

Poker Card Rankings Per Poker Type

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As earlier mentioned, the majority of poker variations use this hand hierarchy. Texas Hold Em hands, for instance, are ranked similarly. However, some variations of poker use a different hand ranking system. For example, in lowball poker (a type of draw poker), the highest hand is actually the lowest hand. In this case, the player with the lowest card would win the pot.

Because of such nuances, we would recommend you read up on the rules before you sign up for any poker match.
That’s it for our look at winning poker hands ranked from strongest to weakest. If you want to start playing and test your poker hand knowledge, you can sign up for an account today. They have plenty of fantastic games, including popular formats like Texas Hold Em and Omaha, waiting for you. Good luck!