One of the first lessons that any poker player has to learn (and learn quickly) is the proper poker hand rankings. As you no doubt know, a poker hand consists of five cards, and there is a specific ranking from top to bottom in terms of value. 

Poker Hands

The hand that beats all others is the royal flush. A “flush” has all five cards in the same suit, and if it’s royal, it is also the highest straight, running 10-J-Q-K-A. It’s a rare hand, indeed, but you still might be wondering what happens if two players both have this outcome. In poker hand rankings, all suits are equal, so if two or more players all have royal flushes, then they would split the pot.

Next up is the straight flush. This is similar to a royal flush except it is lower down the order of cards. So if you have 2-3-4-5-6 of the same suit, or 6-7-8-9-10, then you have a straight flush. If two players have straight flushes, the one that ends on a higher card wins.

After those two varieties of the straight flush comes four of a kind. This would mean four cards of the same value, one from each suit, such as four queens. If you are playing with some cards as wild cards, meaning you can change the value to whatever you like, then the five of a kind suit would edge out the four of a kind. If two players have four of a kind, then the higher value wins. In other words, four 8’s would beat four 4’s.

Next comes the full house. This means that you have three cards of one value and two of another, such as K-K-K-3-3. If two players have full houses, then the higher value of the three of a kind determines the winner. 

After a full house comes a flush. This refers to five cards that all come from the same suit but are not in order. You might have A-10-8-4-3 of clubs, for example. If two players have flushes, the one with the higher high card prevails.

Next is the straight. This involves five cards of sequential value but from different suits. An example would be 8-9-10-J-Q, from multiple suits.

Three of a kind would be the next highest in the poker hand rankings. This just means three cards of the same value.

Two pairs would come next, which would just mean two cards of one value and two cards of another, such as two 7s and two aces.

One pair is the next-to-lowest in the poker hand rankings. That would be two cards of the same value.

Finally, there is high card. This means that you don’t have any cards of the same value, and you don’t have a flush. You just go with the highest card in your hand. If no one else even has a pair, then the player with the highest card wins the hand.

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