When you start learning how to play poker, one of the most basic lessons outlines winning poker hands. Poker hands are created when the cards are combined in a specific way to create a particular sequence. Below we explain the different poker hands from strongest to weakest so you can equipped to play at a poker table online or in person.

What’s the Best Poker Hand?

In the classic poker game, the best possible hand is a royal flush. There are many versions of poker, including Five-Card Draw and Texas Hold’em, are based on hands of five cards. These are are considering the poker rules for the classic game. Others, such as Tri Card, are played with three, while others still feature a different number.

In the classic poker game there are 10 possible hands, with the royal flush being the strongest, and high card being the weakest.

1 – Royal Flush

What does Royal Flush Beat?

Royal Flush is the highest poker hand you can get so it beats every other hand your opponents may have. This is the best it gets.

Royal Flush Example

A royal flush would be A,K,Q,J,10 of the same suit, for example:  A♥, K♥, Q♥, J♥, 10♥.

2 – Straight Flush

What does Straight Flush beat?

A straight flush is the second best poker hand you can be holding. It beats all poker hands except for a higher straight flush, such as a royal flush.

Straight Flush Example

An example of a straight flush would be 8♠,7♠,6♠,5♠,4♠ of the same suit in sequential order.

3 – Four of a Kind

What does Four of a Kind beat?

Having a four of a kind hand beats anything that is not a straight or royal flush. If another player also has four of a kind, then the player with the highest rank wins.

Four of a Kind Example

Getting four cards of the same value can often times be a winning poker hand. An example of four of a kind would be if you had Q♠,Q♦,Q♣,Q♥,8♠.

4 – Full House

What does Full House beat?

A full house beats anything other than four of a kind, straight flush or royal flush. A full house also beats a poker straight (Any five consecutive cards of different suits). If another player has the same rank, the player with the highest matching pair will win the hand.

Full House Example

A full house consists of three of a kind and a pair in the same hand. An example would be K♠,K♦,K♣,3♠.

5 – Flush

What does Flush beat?

A flush can beat a straight but not a full house, or above. If more than one player has a flush then the hand with the highest flush wins.

Example of a Flush

A flush hand consists of five cards which are of the same suit but not in consecutive order, for example,  K♣,J♣,7♣,4♣,2♣.

6 – Straight

What does Straight beat?

A poker straight beats 3 of a kind, two pair, or a single pair.

Example of a Straight Hand

A straight consists of five cards of any suit in sequential order. An example would be J♦,10♠,9♥,8♣,7♦ (in a combination of suites)

7 – Three of a Kind

What does Three of a Kind beat?

If you’re holding three of a kind, your hand will beat two pairs, one pair and a high card hand.

Example of a Three of a Kind

Three of a kind hand consists of any three numerically matching cards, for example 3♠,3♦,3♣,K♦,J♥.

8 – Two Pair

What does Two Pair beat?

Two pair can beat one pair, and a high card.

Example of a Two Pair

A hand of two pair is two different pair of cards in the same hand, for example 9♠,9♦,8♠,8♥,4♣.

9 – Pair

What does a Pair beat?

If you have a pair of cards then the only other hand you can beat is a high card or if someone else has a lower value pair of cards.

Example of a Pair

One pair of cards is two numerically matching cards, for example, J♠,J♦,8♣,6♥,4♠.

10 – High Card

What does a High Card beat?

A high card is the lowest hand you can have, so your only chance here is if the value is higher than the other poker player with a high card hand.

Example of a High Card

The highest card in a pack is an ace and the lowest is a two. An example of a hand with a high card would be an A♠,7♦,5♣,3♥,2♠.

Handy Tip:

The player with the best hand in poker is not always the winner. Poker pros can bluff their way through games and could potentially dissuade less confident players with stronger hands from continuing to play. To help you remember hand rankings and which hands to play from each position, you can check out our poker help sheets.

What Do You Do If You’ve Got the Worst Hand in Poker?

Luck plays a very important role in the overall outcome of any poker game. When you play against other players you have a greater chance of influencing the result. Playing against the house or in single-player mode lowers your options of improving your odds.

Getting bad poker hands every now and then is unavoidable. When this happens, there are certain decisions that you need to take. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choices.

Don’t be afraid to fold

If your hand is very weak and unlikely to improve, such as with the use of community cards, you should consider folding early to conserve your bankroll.

Attempt to play the players

As we mentioned earlier, the best poker hands alone will not guarantee a win when you play against other players. You could try bluffing to try and get other players to fold, but be careful about overspending.

Check cheat sheets

If you’re not in a rush, you could look up poker hands cheat sheets for specific games to try and get a solution based on mathematical probability.

Handy Tip:

Use free play poker sites to experience getting weak poker hands and using different strategies to deal with them. It’s also a good idea to try different versions of poker until you find the one that best suits your playing style and bankroll style.

Use Your Knowledge of Poker Hand Rankings at a Top Online Casino

Learning about poker hands is only part of the learning curve. Once you’ve read through this guide, we recommend playing low-stakes real money online poker. Many of the best poker sites are easily accessible from desktop and mobile browsers. Once registered, you’ll be able to play a variety of poker variants and even join frequent tournaments.

Different Hands in Poker Explained with Examples

In the following section, we’ll compare different sets of two poker hands to help you understand which is the stronger.

Scenario 1 – Playing Texas Hold’em

Imagine that you playing against another player and get all the way to the showdown.

You reveal a hand that includes a Pair (2♦ and 2♠) and, surprisingly, your opponent also lands a hand with a Pair (2♥ and 2♣).

In this scenario, the kicker is used to determine the winner. This is the highest-value card that does not form part of the Pair.

Scenario 2 – Playing Razz

You’re playing a game and decide to raise the stakes as you’re feeling confident with a Four-of-a-Kind (K♣, K♠, K♥, and K♦).

However, when you come to show your cards you realize that you’ve lost to an opponent with a 6-Low (A♣, 3♣, 4♣, 5♥, and 6♣).

Unfortunately, in all the excitement, you’ve forgotten that you’re playing Lo Poker.

Scenario 3 – Playing 5-Card Draw

You’ve received your five cards and, straight away, you notice a pattern of four cards of the same suit. You decide to discard the fifth card and receive what you were hoping for, another card of the same suit as the other four.

You’ve now gotten a Flush (2♠, 5♠, 7♠, K♠, and A♠) and this means that you’ll beat any other poker hands that don’t involve a Full House, a Four-of-a-Kind, a Straight Flush, or a Royal Flush.

Lo Poker Hands Chart

In the following table, we’ve outlined examples of low-ball combinations that are the best poker hands to have during a Lo game.

 Name Description Example Strength 5-Low A hand where a 5 is the highest-value card A♠, 2♥ 3♠, 4♠, and 5♥ 4 6-Low A hand where a 6 is the highest-value card A♣, 3♣, 4♣, 5♥, and 6♣ 3 7-Low A hand where a 7 is the highest-value card 2♣, 3♠, 4♥, 6♦ and 7♦ 2 8-Low A hand where an 8 is the highest-value card A♦, 1♥, 3♠, 6♦, and 8♥ 1

Winning Poker Hands in Hi and Lo Games

In some poker games, poker hand rankings can be inverted. This means that the player with the weakest hand is the winner. While certainly counterintuitive, these games provide a whole new perspective to seasoned players that have gotten used to the classic gameplay.

Whenever you come across a poker game, it is usually split among one of the following three categories.

Hi Poker

This is the classic version where the best hands in poker beat the weaker ones. Players who are new to poker would normally start by learning how to play these games as they have the most straightforward rules.

Handy Tip:

The best online poker sites provide a variety of Hi games, including Texas Hold’em and Seven-Card Poker. You can play these games on standalone tables as well as in tournaments.

Lo Poker

So-called lowball poker is, as its name suggests, the complete opposite of Hi Poker. These types of card games give the players with the worst hands in poker the advantage. In some cases, Straight and Flushes are not even counted and the Ace’s value might not change.

Handy Tip:

Lo Poker games are not as popular as classic variants. As a result, these games are hard to find online and are usually only available at a limited number of land-based facilities.

Hi-Lo Poker

Also known as Split Poker, this version combines the order of poker hands of the previous two categories. During these games, the pot is split equally between the player with the strongest and the one with the weakest hands.

Handy Tip:

Omaha Hi-Lo is the best example of a poker variant that falls under this category. This game is available at some top online casinos as a standalone table. Tournaments of Hi-Lo games are rare, both online and offline.

Texas Hold’em Poker Hands

Perhaps surprisingly, many new players that start playing poker don’t start by playing the classic version but rather, the world’s most popular variant. Fortunately, Texas Hold’em hands are identical to the original version of the game.

You can create Texas Hold’em hands using any of the available community cards as well as your two hole cards. As their name suggests, community cards can be used by all participating players, but your hole cards are yours alone.

Many experienced players try their best not to let the game get to the stage where community cards are dealt. When this happens, the outcome of the game can change significantly. This is why players holding strong starting Texas Hold’em hands try and get other players to fold by raising early and aggressively.

Handy Tip:

You can familiarize yourself with Texas Hold’em poker hands by playing at the best Texas Hold ’em casinos on the Internet. These sites also give you the opportunity to develop your playing skills and strategies.