Beginners' Poker - Poker Hand Ranking

Poker players need to understand the basics of poker, such as poker hand ranking before concerning themselves with other rules, such as betting.

Basic Poker Hand Ranking Rules

Card Ranks - Poker games are played with packs of cards that contain 52 cards. The Ace is always the highest of the card rankings when used as an individual card, starting with the lowest, they are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace.

Suit Ranks - There are no ranks as far as suits are concerned. Diamonds and spades are considered equal in rank.

Poker Hands - Below you will find a list of the poker hands, from highest to lowest. Poker hands consist of only 5 cards, even in games where more cards are dealt. The winner of similar hands in the same hand category is decided by the rank of a separate individual card, or is considered a draw.

Community Cards - In community poker games, when a single card is shared by all the players, and in games where a wild card is used, it is possible to get two hands that will both contain three of a kind. This case does not present itself in basic draw poker.

Royal Flush

This hand consists of 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace in the same suit. It is the highest possible hand to get in poker. It is possible for more than one player to hold a royal flush, in which case, the players would split the pot.

Straight Flush

Any five cards that are in the same suit, and in sequence. When there is more than one straight flush, the one with the highest card will win the round. It is important to remember that in a case where Ace, 2, 3, 4 and 5 make up the straight flush, that Ace is considered a low card. Other examples are 8, 9, 10, Jack and Queen; 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. It is not acceptable to have a hand that uses both high and low cards, such as Queen, King, Ace, 2 and 3.

Four of a Kind

Four of a kind is made up of four cards that are of the same rank, such as four 6's. For example, the poker hand would consist of 6, 6, 6, 6 and 10.

Full House

Three of a kind (see below) and a pair (see below) make up a full house.


Five cards that are in the same suit, but not in any kind of consecutive order, for example: 2, 7, 9, 10, Ace of hearts.


This hand is made up of five cards that are in sequence, but are made up of different suits, for example: 7 of spades, 8 of hearts, 9 of spades, 10 of clubs, and Jack of diamonds.

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same rank, such as 9, 9, 9 or 5, 5, 5.


A pair is made up of two cards that hold equal rank, such as J, J or 3, 3.

High Card

This is used only when none of the above combinations exist in any of the players' hands. The player that shows the highest card rank will win the hand. For example, 2, 3, 8, 10 and Ace will beat 4, 6, 9, Queen and King, because the Ace is the highest card available. If two players show Aces, the rank of the next highest card is taken into consideration, and so on.