Texas Hold’em Poker Hand Rankings

Texas Hold’em Poker follows standard poker hand rankings rules.

Ties are settled using kickers, or high cards that aren’t part of the ranking hand. “Garbage hands” (no-pair) are relatively rare in hold’em showdowns (many players would probably just fold), but if nothing else can be made with the cards on the table, the high card will win the pot.

The first actual ranking hand is a pair, obviously two cards with the same number value. A pair of twos beats any garbage hand, but is only slightly more useful, being nearly as common.

Much better than one pair is two pair. Two pair with one or both being high value cards can a relatively solid hand if it is played well (a good kicker doesn’t hurt, either). If one of those pairs is already in the community cards, your pocket pair better be pretty hard to beat…and you better hope that another player doesn’t have a third or fourth in their pocket.

Which brings us to three of a kind. Take a pocket pair and add another from the community cards and you have a set. This is where a ‘solid’ hand starts to become a hand worth risking.

A straight (cards numbered in a row, as in 7, 8, 9, 10, J) is better, but can still be problematic due to the community cards; three of these plus two of the same suit to make the straight. That leaves eight possible cards with which someone else could do exactly the same. Worth risking?

Same goes with flushes, only more so. A flush (same suit, no particular order) beats a straight, but a straight flush beats a regular flush (and everything else but another straight flush. A royal flush is the best hand of all, and beats everything else…but we’re jumping ahead).

A Full House beats a regular flush, so you may have to flush two or more times to empty the house. No, seriously, a pair plus three of a kind is a full house, and the higher the kinds are, the better off you are.

Four of a Kind is even better than a Full House, and four of a kind with a high kicker is an extremely workable hand. The only thing that can beat four of a kind is a straight flush.

Straight flush (same suit, all in a row), and it’s big daddy Royal Flush (same suit: 10, J, Q, K, A) can beat just about anything else as long as you know what you are doing… but then again, if you really know what you’re doing, you can win with a lot less…

It really is all about the technique. That’s It! You just have to know what you are doing.

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