Descriptions and Rankings of Poker Hands
Poker hands are described and ranked from the strongest at the top and weakest at the bottom.
Five of a Kind
A five of a kind (which is only possible when using wild cards) is the highest possible hand. If more than one hand has five of a kind, the higher card wins (Five Aces beats five kings, which beat five queens, and so on).
A Royal Flush is the best natural hand. A royal flush is a straight flush (5 cards in order, such as 5-6-7-8-9 that are all of the same suit) an ace for the high card (A-K-Q-J-10)
A straight flush is a straight (5 cards in order, such as 5-6-7-8-9) that are all of the same suit. As in a regular straight, you can have an ace either high (A-K-Q-J-T) or low (5-4-3-2-A). However, a straight may not ‘wraparound’ (i.e. K-A-2-3-4 is not a straight).
Four of a Kind
Four of a kind is simply four cards of the same rank. If there are two or more hands that qualify, the hand with the higher-rank four of a kind wins. If, in some bizarre game with many wild cards, there are two four of a kinds with the same rank, then the one with the high card outside the four of the kind wins. General Rule: When hands tie on the rank of a pair, three of a kind, etc., the cards outside break ties following the High Card rules.
A full house is a three of a kind and a pair, such as K-K-K-5-5. Ties are broken first by the three of a kind, then pair. So K-K-K-2-2 beats Q-Q-Q-A-A, which beats Q-Q-Q-J-J. (Obviously, the three of a kind can only be similar if wild cards are used.)
A flush is a hand where all of the cards are the same suit, such as J-8-5-3-2, all of spades. When flushes tie, follow the rules for High Card.
A straight is 5 cards in order, such as 4-5-6-7-8. An ace may either be high (A-K-Q-J-T) or low (5-4-3-2-1). However, a straight may not ‘wraparound’. (Such as Q-K-A-2-3, which is not a straight). When straights tie, the highest straight wins. (AKQJT beats KQJT9 down to 5432A). If two straights have the same value (AKQJT vs AKQJT) they split the pot.
Three of a Kind
Three cards of any rank, matched with two cards that are not a pair (otherwise it would be a Full House. Again, highest three of a kind wins. If both are the same rank, then the compare High Cards.
This is two distinct pairs of card and a 5th card. The highest pair wins ties. If both hands have the same high pair, the second pair wins. If both hands have the same pairs, the high card wins.
One pair with three distinct cards. High card breaks ties.
This is any hand which doesn’t qualify as any one of the above hands. If nobody has a pair or better, then the highest card wins. If multiple people tie for the highest card, they look at the second highest, then the third highest etc. High card is also used to break ties when the high hands both have the same type of hand (pair, flush, straight, etc).