Hands

In this article we will discuss the basic poker hand ranks & rules. In Texas Holdem, the player(s) who have the best five cards in holdem win. Of course you must know which hands beats which, so here is a list of the possible poker hand rankings with the lowest ranked hand first.

1. High card

If the player holds nothing, his highest card decides the strength of the hand. This is the reason hands like AK/KQ etc play well, even when you miss the flop if you get to showdown they are often the winning hand in short handed games.

2. Pair

Two cards of the same value. If two players both have the same pair, then you must consider the kicker card. The player with the higher kicker wins the pot.

3. Two pair

Two pairs. Self explanatory isn’t it?

4. Three of a kind

Three cards of the same value. If the player holds two of the cards forming the three of a kind the hand is called a set. For example, if he has 88 and the board is 853 the player would have top set. If he only holds one of the cards it is called trips, like K8 on a 887 board.

5. Straight

Five consecutive cards. Note that ace can be used both as one or fourteen so it can be part of ace to five (the lowest straight) or Ten to Ace, (highest straight).

6. Flush

Five cards of the same suit.

7. Full house

Both three of a kind and pair in the same hand.

8. Four of a kind

All four cards of the same value.

9. Straight flush

Five consecutive cards in the same suit.

10. Royal flush

The highest possible straight flush is called the royal flush. This hand is so rare that even losing against it is worth celebrating.

With poker hand rankings out of the way, we can discuss the basic poker rules. Even though the betting structure is different, depending on the type of holdem game (no-limit, pot-limit, limit, or you could be playing with blinds and antes), the basic four betting rounds are always the same.

Pre-flop and the first round of betting

The first decision is how to play your cards pre-flop. Starting with the dealer, the players are dealt two cards. The first round of betting takes place and players can choose to fold, call, or raise.

The flop and the second round of betting

The dealers burns the top card of the deck and three community cards are dealt onto the table. The second round of betting now takes place. On the flop the action starts with the small blind who is in seat 1. If the small blind decided to fold pre-flop, then the action starts with the big blind.

The turn and the third round of betting

The dealer burns the top card of the deck and the fourth community card is dealt to the center of the table. This card is called the turn. The third round of betting now takes place. The betting goes in a clockwise motion from the button, like it did on the flop.

The river and the fourth round of betting

The dealer burns the top card of the deck and the final community card is dealt to the center of the table. This card is called the river. The final betting round takes place. Once the action makes it to the river, if the players check it down it does to showdown and the best hand wins the pot. If there is a bet which is called, then again there is a showdown. In order for players not to have to show their cards, a bet is required not to be called.

In hold’em you try not to get to showdown with a weak hand. The player with the best 5 card hand which can be formed from any of the community cards or their own cards, wins the pot. In the situation where all five community cards make the highest hand, such as when there is a 5 flush or 5 straight on the board, and none of the players has a card to make the best hand, then it’s a split pot.