Poker Hand Rankings - Best Poker Hands in Order

Master Poker Hand Rankings

Regardless of the game, you’re playing or where you happen to be playing (at home or online), poker hands are ranked the same way. Even the great poker players had to learn to play poker. The poker hands rankings never change; all that changes is whether you want to play a split-pot game or not. Most games, like Texas Hold’em poker and Omaha, stick to the strict high-card-wins code, where the winner takes the pot. 

 

Texas Hold’em Poker Hand Rankings

Thousands of people around the world are playing table poker online right now at Ignition – and the vast majority are playing Texas Hold’em poker. It’s the game that made poker great again. Chances are you’ve seen the best of the best playing No-Limit Hold’em on television; these wizards seem to know exactly what to do at all times, raking in big piles of money just for playing a game of cards.

Here’s the secret they don’t tell you: Even top players like Phil Ivey had to start from scratch by learning the basic Texas Hold’em poker hand rankings. There was a time when Ivey, the most famous face from the mid-’00s poker boom, didn’t know whether a straight beat a flush. If you’re just learning how to play online poker, you might be confused about this, too. We’ve got your back; this easy guide will show you all the Texas Hold’em hands from best to worst, and we’ll take a closer look at the probabilities behind these hands, so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you’re playing online poker tournaments and cash games at Ignition.

 

Importance of Poker Hand Rankings

You can’t play Texas Hold’em poker online, real money or otherwise, without any hand rankings in the game. These rankings separate the winners from the losers. The stronger your hand is, the better chance you have of winning. Note that we’re dealing specifically with Texas Hold’em in this guide. You can use the following rankings for Omaha and other “high hand” games, but once you switch to Omaha Hi/Lo, you’ll need to learn the rankings for “low” hands – which we also have for you right here at Ignition Poker.

 

Best Poker Hands in Order

 

1. Royal Flush

This is the gold standard in poker. A Royal Flush (or “Royal” for short) contains five specific cards of the same suit: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten. It doesn’t matter which suit you have – a Royal Flush in spades is worth the same as a Royal in diamonds. 

What is a Royal Flush - Ignition Casino Poker

 

2. Straight Flush

Almost as good as a Royal, but not quite, a Straight Flush contains five consecutive cards of the same suit. In this example, the cards are Ten-Nine-Eight-Seven-Six, all in spades. Don’t forget, the Ace counts as both the highest and lowest card in Hold’em, so you can get a Straight Flush with Five-Four-Three-Deuce-Ace of the same suit (aka the steel wheel). That’s the lowest possible Straight Flush; the highest possible is King-Queen-Jack-Ten-Nine.

Straight Flush Poker - Ignition Casino Poker

 

3. Four of a Kind

Also known as quads, Four of a Kind features all four cards from a specific rank. Here, we have all four Queens in the deck. Again, the higher the card, the better your Four of a Kind is.

4 of a Kind Poker - Ignition Casino Poker

 

4. Full House

Now we get into the more common hands you’ll run into at the poker table. The best of these is the Full House, also known as a boat. This hand contains three cards of one rank and two cards of another – in this case, three Aces and two Kings, or “Aces full of Kings.” This is the best possible Full House; Deuces full of Threes is the lowest.

What is a Full House in Poker - Ignition Casino Poker

 

5. Flush

If you have any five non-consecutive cards of the same suit, you have a Flush. If two or more players have a Flush, the highest card wins, so an Ace-high Flush (aka the nut flush) would be the winner every time.

What is a Flush in Poker - Ignition Casino Poker

 

6. Straight

Not quite as powerful as a Flush, but still a big hand in Hold’em, a Straight contains five consecutive cards, not all of the same suit. The best Straight in poker is Ace-King-Queen-Jack-Ten, also known as Broadway. The lowest possible Straight is the wheel: Five-Four-Three-Deuce-Ace.

What is a Straight in Poker - Ignition Casino Poker

 

7. Three of a Kind

Having three cards of the same rank, without the other two cards being paired, is a very good hand in Hold’em. If you make Three of a Kind using both of your hole cards, it’s known as a set. If you use one of your hole cards and two cards from the board, you have trips – although these terms are often used interchangeably.

3 of a Kind Poker - Ignition Casino Poker

 

8. Two Pair

Two Pair is exactly what it sounds like: two cards of the same rank, and another two cards of the same rank – but not Four of a Kind. In this example, we have Jacks and Nines (aka “Jacks up”) with an Eight as the fifth card. This card is known as a kicker, and is used as a tie-breaker in case two players have the exact same Two Pair. If the kicker is also the same rank, the two players split the pot down the middle.

2 Pair Poker - Ignition Casino Poker

 

9. Pair

This is the lowest of the “made” hands in Hold’em poker. Any two matching cards of the same rank will give you a Pair, Aces being the highest and Deuces the lowest. Kickers will come into play a lot more frequently with Pairs; if the first kicker is a tie, the next-highest card is the second kicker, and in very rare cases, the third kicker will be used to determine the winner.

Pocket Pairs Poker - Ignition Casino Poker

 

10. High Card

So you don’t have any matching cards whatsoever. That means you have High Card only, but don’t throw that hand away just yet; there will be times when Ace-High (as in this example) or even worse is good enough to scoop the pot.

High Card in Poker - Ignition Casino Poker

 

Hi-Lo Hand Rankings - Low Winning Poker Hands

For low hands to rank as winning hands, they must consist of five differently numbered cards.

Suits and ranked runs like flushes and straights don’t count when ranking low hands, which means that low hands can be both the lowest or highest hand.

The ace acts as the highest card in high hand ranks and the lowest card in low hand ranks.

5-High, the Bicycle, the Wheel

5, 4, 3, 2, A

5-High - Omaha Poker Hand Rankings

 

6-High

Five differently numbered cards, with the highest card being a 6.

6-High - Omaha Poker Hand Rankings

 

7-High

Five uniquely ranked cards, with the highest card being a 7.

7-High Omaha Poker Hand Rankings

 

8-High

Five uniquely ranked cards, with the highest being an 8.

8, 7, 6, 5, 4 is the lowest of the low ranking hands.

8-High - Omaha Poker Hand Rankings

 

Poker Hand Probabilities

As you may have already figured out, the likelihood of making any of these hands increases the farther down the list you go – for the most part. A Royal Flush is very rare indeed, while a Pair happens quite a lot, even more often than High Card. Here are the poker hand rankings in order, followed by the probability of making that hand once all seven cards have been dealt:

 

Royal Flush 0.0032%
Straight Flush 0.0279%
Four of a Kind 0.168%
Full House 2.60%
Flush 3.03%
Straight 4.62%
Three of a Kind 4.83%
Two Pair 23.5%
Pair 43.8%
High Card 17.4%

 

You don’t need to memorize these percentages, but it’s good to take a look at them and get some idea what hands you’re likely to make – and what your opponents might have. This is ultimately the backbone of any online poker strategy; it’s all about risk and reward, and to understand the risk, you need to get comfortable working with probabilities.

 

Poker Hand Range and Strength

Since Texas Hold’em poker is a flop game with community cards, you won’t need to focus as hard on these percentages as you would playing a draw game – including video poker – where you have to decide which cards to throw away. However, as we just mentioned, it’s good to know that you’re going to make at least a Pair roughly 82.6% of the time once you get to the river, while making Three of a Kind or better will only happen about 15.3% of the time.

Note as well how this distribution of hands isn’t entirely smooth. Getting a Straight is only slightly less common than getting Three of a Kind, but it’s still the better hand. Getting a Full House is also not that rare compared to getting a Flush. Understanding this should help prevent you from going too crazy with your betting when you’ve got Three of a Kind on a board with a lot of connected cards, or a Flush on a board that’s been paired.

We also can’t stress enough the importance of big cards in Hold’em. There will be times when you have a Full House, but someone else has a bigger Full House. It can happen quite easily; if the flop comes Ten-Seven-Seven and you have Ten-Seven in your hand, that’s great, but someone else can have pocket Tens (meaning both their hole cards are Tens). If the turn card is a King, now you’re also losing to anyone who has King-Seven.

As you get better at Texas Hold’em, you’ll be encouraged to think about your hand in terms of relative strength rather than absolute strength. The rankings you see above are listed by absolute strength, but it’s actually possible to have a High Card hand on the flop that’s more likely to win by the river than someone else’s “made” hand. For example, if you have Queen-Jack of Spades as your hole cards, and the flop comes Ks-Ts-3c, you’re better than a coin flip to beat an opponent who already has King-Ten of Diamonds for Two Pair. In other words, your drawing hand has more relative strength than your opponent’s made hand.

Now that you’ve had this introduction to poker hand rankings, it’s time to play some Texas Hold’em – mobile or desktop – and see if you can remember which hands are better. Consider sticking with Play Money games until you’re more familiar with these rankings, and if you’re still having trouble, you can always download one of those poker hands charts from the internet and follow along. Even Phil Ivey didn’t have this much information at his fingertips when he was just starting out, so congratulations: You’re already ahead of the game.

Now that you’ve got the hand rankings down pat, check out our poker terms and learn how to speak like a poker player. Already familiar with the lingo? Download our poker software and start playing.