Poker Hand Ranking and Poker Hands to Play

Poker hand ranking involves hundreds of different variations of these 10 hands. The chart to the right is listed from the best hand to the worst hand. In poker if two people have the exact same hand it will be decided by their suit. The ranking of suits is; Spades, Hearts, Diamonds then Clubs.

In Poker ranking the Ace is considered a High Card

The best poker hand is the Royal Flush. This is the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten of one suit.

The Straight Flush is any hand with five cards in numerical order of the same suit 6,7,8,9,10 all Hearts. This is only beat by a straight flush with the highest card in their hand being above a 10.

Four of a Kind is the third poker hand on the list. It is just as it sounds. If you have all four of one value card 5,5,5,5 and the fifth card can be any card. This only loses to the two above hands or any four of a kind higher then yours. It is also called Quads.

A Full House also known as a Full Boat, is a set of three cards with the same value and a pair of another. 4,4,4,2,2. The value of this hand is compared to another full house by the value of the three of a kind. 4,4,4,2,2 will lose to 5,5,5,A,A.

A Flush is a five card hand with all matching suits. The value is compared to other flushes from highest to lowest card in the hand. K,Q,9,8,6 will lose to a A,3,5,6,8. If Both players have all the same values in different suits the higher of suits will win.

A Straight is any five card hand in sequential order. The highest card in the run is victorious when compared between competing straights. Also in poker the Ace is considered High unless used in a small straight A,2,3,4,5. Rap around straights are not allowed, 3,2,A,K,Q is Not a poker hand.

Three of a Kind also called, A Set or Trips is three of the same value.

Two Pair is two separate pairs

One Pair is two cards of the same value

High Card is determined by the highest card in your hand and down until a winner is determined.

Texas Holdem Hand Rankings and poker hands to play will change with your position in the hand. The first two players to act during the hand are usually considered to be in early position. These players must start with much better poker hands because they don’t know what others have behind them. The last two players to act during the hand would be considered late position. Everyone else in the hand will be considered to be in middle position. Playing poor poker hands out of position will cost you lots of money and make it very easy for others to steal pots with much weaker poker hands. You may want to print this chart of poker hand rankings. This chart is for pots that are NOT raised in front of you. If a pot is already raised, you should be playing only the poker hands that you would be playing in first position.

For a list of poker hands and starting hand values you can also go to our poker strategy pages.


Early position hands should usually be raised. Although your hand is very strong it loses its strength the more people that are in the pot. The best situation is to play these hands against one or two other players. If your game is very tight and likely that everyone will fold to a raise then you should limp 20% of the time. If a limp is going to encourage three or more players to call it would be better to raise. Although these hands look good they might not be good for the reason you think. These poker hands are going to win a high percentage of the time but they are not going to win large pots for you when played in early position. If you get these hands in later positions it will allow you to use both the strength of the hand along with the strength of your position to build a large pot.


The above list is for hands that have not been raised before action comes to you. If the pot has been raised you should only play hands from the early position.The order of hands is from top to bottom according to the strength of the hand. If you are the first person into the pot you should only play the hands towards the top of the list. The more players already in the pot, the better your pot odds and more hands you will be allowed to play.


These hands should be played carefully. Many of them can get you trapped into a hand where someone is going to make a hand just a little better then yours. You both may flop top pair but they may have a better kicker. Because of this you want to make sure that there are pot odds to cover these losses. There should be at least one person in the pot before you to play any of theses hands. If you fold them it would not be considered a poor play. Many players, especially when playing against players who may be more experienced then you lose lots of extra money going for draws they shouldn’t. NEVER GO FOR GUTSHOTS OR THREE CARD FLUSHES!!! They are very expensive and will make playing many of theses hands unprofitable. If you find yourself calling for them more then once a day you should stop playing them all together.


Similar to the above hands these hands are even more dangerous for you to play. Its very easy for you can get into trouble playing these hands. There is a small margin for profit, and if played incorrectly very easy to lose money. If your having a losing day, just lost a big pot, or just learning the game, you should stay far away from these hands. The added risk for playing these hands means that you are going to need even more money in the pot before you play. Make sure there are three or more players in the pot before you play. Also as a result of more players in the pot your going to need a much stronger hand to win on the river. If a pot is bet and then raised and the flop is ace high and you have a pair of aces with a two kicker you should muck your hand and save your money. You may fold a winner now and then but you will save a lot more money in the long run.