Texas Hold’em Poker: Hand Strengths
There are quite a few poker variations out there, but Texas Hold’em poker is one of the more popular ones to play, especially in high-stakes tournaments and casinos. In fact, when we say poker, we’re usually referring to Texas Hold’em poker specifically, or the lesser-played five-card stud. Despite this, many versions follow the same hand values as Texas Hold’em poker.
Why are hand strengths important to know? Well, if you’re new to the game, it’s vital you memorize the order of hands so you know when to bet. Hand strength dictates your probability of winning, even when you have no hand at all. Let’s take a look at the hand strengths for Texas hold’em poker from best to worst!
This hand is so rare you probably will never see it in person. In fact, your chance of getting a royal flush in any given hand is .00001%. Why’s it so rare? It’s the highest cards: A, K, Q, J, 10 in any of the four suits, meaning there are only four ways to get it. It’s also the best hand in poker, so if you are one of the lucky few, you’re going to win the round.
The straight flush is like a royal flush, but with any other five cards in sequential order and the same suit. A good example would be K, Q, J, 10, 9 in any of the same suit. Remember that the higher the combination of cards, the better the hand is.
Four of a Kind
This hand is what it sounds like: four of the same card. Also very rare because you would need all four cards in the deck. Think four 10s, four Jacks, and so on.
Here’s where the hands start to get more common. A full house is 2 of one kind (any suit) and 3 of another (any suit). So a combination would be 2 5’s and 3 Aces. The higher the combination, the better the full house is. Full Houses are ranked by their triplet pairs first, then their doubles. If they just differ in suit, then they are equally ranked.
A flush is five cards in any numerical order, but they all have the same suit. So five cards that are diamond, or five that are hearts. It doesn’t count if you only have four, so be careful not to risk too much if you’re missing a card for a flush.
Right below a flush is a straight. These are cards in sequential order, but not the same suit. 2,3,4,5,6 (6-high) is the lowest form of straight, so that hand would lose to a 3,4,5,6,7 (7-high) straight.
Three of a Kind
This one is pretty straightforward: three of the same number. J, J, J, etc. They do not have to be the same suit (and can’t be unless you use multiple decks).
A two pair is two sets of the same numbers. J, J, 10, 10 is a good example. This is a really common type of hand, as the probability to get it is fairly good. The numbers don’t have to match suits.
This is the second lowest hand: two of the same number. A, A is the highest pair you can have.
When all else fails, the highest card wins. Even if you don’t have a great hand, your high card is important, and has decided many matches. Your high card is ALWAYS in play, so even if you have a great hand, remember that if someone matches your hand strength, the high card will decide the winner. Keep this in mind, because it happens a lot.
Now that you know the basic hand strengths in Texas Hold’em poker, you’re ready to start playing! Try playing without betting first so you get a feel for the game without the pressure of tossing chips away. Good luck! See more how-tos over at our blog!