Poker Hand Rankings Chart for Texas Hold'em

Texas Hold'em Hand Rankings

There exists a poker hand rankings system in all variations of poker. To help in understanding this system, we have created a cheat sheet with hands ordered highest to lowest:

Full House

4
A Full House is three cards of the same rank and two cards of another rank.
Example
K
K
K
J
J
Probability
1 in 693
Combinations
3,744

Flush

5
A Flush is any five cards of the same suit, but not in consecutive order.
Example
6
8
Q
3
10
Probability
1 in 508
Combinations
5,108

Straight

6
A Straight is five cards in consecutive order, but not of the same suit.
Example
10
9
8
7
6
Probability
1 in 253
Combinations
10,200

Three of a Kind

7
Three of a Kind is three of the same card and two kickers.
Example
K
K
K
8
2
Probability
1 in 46
Combinations
54,912

Two Pair

8
Two Pair is two different pairings or sets of the same card.
Example
7
7
6
6
Q
Probability
1 in 20
Combinations
123,552

One Pair

9
One Pair has two cards of the same rank and three kickers.
Example
9
9
3
J
K
Probability
1 in 1.36
Combinations
1,098,240

Dive into the world of Texas Hold’em, the crown jewel of poker games globally, where mastering the poker hand ranking system is key to success. This system is the backbone of decision-making in the game, determining the strength of hands from the highest to the lowest. Grasping these rankings is crucial for anyone aiming to become a proficient Texas Hold’em player. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll unfold the layers of poker hand rankings, offering strategic insights and essential tips. Additionally, we’ll provide a handy poker hand rankings cheat sheet, simplifying this complex system for both beginners and seasoned players alike.

Why Are Poker Hand Rankings Important?

Poker hand rankings are important as they determine the winners and losers in each hand. If there were no system in place to determine the strength of hands, no one would know who wins when the cards are turned over!

Plus, knowledge of the poker hand rankings system allows you to make better decisions while you play. If you know you’ve got a strong hand, you can take the opportunity to make a value bet and win additional money from your opponents. Similarly, if you know you have a weak hand, you can decide whether you want to give up and save your money, or attempt to bluff your opponent off of a better hand.

Without these poker hand rankings, we wouldn’t have a game, so it’s worth your time learning how they work!

POKER HANDS PROBABILITY

One of the things you’ll notice when checking out the poker hand rankings is that the higher-ranked hands are much harder to make. The probability of making these hands is very low, which is what makes them so valuable.

While it’s not necessarily important to know that you only get a royal flush one in every 650,000 times or so, it’s good to understand just how rare these hands are as it puts your opponent’s possible range into perspective. If you do want to get a better understanding of the important poker math, make sure you check out our poker odds calculator, where you can explore the equities of different hands on the flop, turn, and river.

A mistake beginners make is always assuming that their opponent has a much stronger hand than them. Even if they hold a strong hand, they convince themselves that their opponent must have a better one if they’re continuing to bet. However, being able to look at how rare these hands are should help you put into perspective how infrequently your opponent will have these hands, allowing you to play with more freedom.

If you’re a bit of a math aficionado and want to know how it’s calculated, here’s how it’s done.

We start by working out the number of possible five-card hands. This can be found with the equation 5⁵², which equals 2,598,960.

Then, we divide the possible number of hand combinations by that number. For example, there are four possible ways to make a royal flush, so the calculation is 4/2,598,960, which can be simplified to 1 in 649,739.

Games That Use Poker Hand Ranking Systems

In poker, each possible hand you can make is ranked by its rarity, with the rarer hands being more valuable and therefore ranked higher than more common hands. However, it’s important to note that not all games use the same hand ranking system, as the rules between variants can differ greatly. The above poker hand rankings chart applies to the following games.

Hand Rankings in Other Poker Games

One important thing to be aware of is that not all poker games use the same hand ranking system. Depending on the game you’re playing, you may encounter a slight difference in the hand ranking chart, or find it completely turned upside down!

For example, in Short Deck, a flush is more valuable than a full house, due to the 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s being removed from the deck. Also, the lowest straight you can make in this game is A6789, as the ace can still count as a high card or low card when making straights. This can take a bit of getting used to when playing for the first time, especially if you’re used to playing Texas Hold’em, where full houses are one of the strongest hands you can make.

Then you have other games such as 2-7 lowball, where the aim of the game is to get the worst poker hand possible. In this game, you don’t want to make any pairs, and straights and flushes are some of the worst hands you’re likely to find! In 2-7, 23457 is the best hand you can have, as it’s the lowest possible hand without any straights or pairs. Trying to get the worst hand possible while avoiding all pairs, straights, and flushes will seem alien to most people, but we can assure you that this is a real game played at the World Series of Poker!

There are a large number of poker games out there, each with its own set of rules, and it can be fun to try out a new variant and see how different it is.

WINNING POKER HANDS: WHAT ARE THE BEST HANDS?

Let’s delve into the realm of winning poker hands and explore the optimal combinations that can lead to victory. In order to enhance your understanding, we’ll present you with specific examples involving both hole cards and community cards, showcasing the precise composition of your most favorable five-card hand. By offering this practical context, you’ll gain a clearer grasp of the rankings and how they materialize in real gameplay situations.

To make things easier, we’ve split the possible hand rankings into three groups – weak hands, strong hands, and the strongest poker hands. Hands that fall into the weak hands category are the most common hands you’ll make in poker, and while they may win you the pot some of the time, you’ll find that they’re regularly beaten by stronger ones.

Hands that fall into the strong hands category are a lot harder to make, and therefore will win you the pot a lot more often. However, these hands are not infallible, as there are still a number of hands that can beat them. This brings us to the strongest poker hands – these hands are incredibly hard to make, and you are almost certain to win the pot if you make one of these hands.

By offering this practical context, you’ll gain a clearer grasp of the poker hand rankings and how they materialize in real gameplay situations.

Weak Hands

Let’s start by looking at the most common hands you’ll have at the poker table – weak hands.

High Card

A poker hand with no cards of the same rank, your highest-ranked card is the most important.

You Have:
Q
10
The Board Has Come:
7
6
9
2
5
Winner The Best Five-Card Hand:
Q
10
9
7
6

Where You Would Hold Queen-High

One Pair

Two cards of the same rank.

You Have:
A
K
The Board Has Come:
A
8
5
3
2
Winner The Best Five-Card Hand:
A
A
K
8
5

Where You Would Hold a Pair of Aces

Two Pair

Two sets of two different cards of the same rank.

You Have:
10
9
The Board Has Come:
10
9
5
A
3
Winner: The Best Five-Card Hand:
10
10
9
9
A

Where You Would Hold Two Pair – A Pair Of 9s And A Pair Of 10s

STRONG POKER HANDS

You won’t make these hands very often, but when you do, you can expect to win the pot most of the time.

Three Of A Kind

Three cards of the same rank.

You Have:
K
7
The Board Has Come:
K
9
K
8
2
Winner The Best Five-Card Hand:
K
K
K
9
8

Where You Would Hold Three Kings

Straight

Five consecutive cards in order but of different suits.

You Have:
6
5
The Board Has Come:
4
3
2
J
K
Winner The Best Five-Card Hand:
6
5
4
3
2

Where You Would Hold a Six-High Straight

Flush

Any five cards of the same suit.

You Have:
A
10
The Board Has Come:
3
6
9
J
K
Winner The Best Five-Card Hand:
A
10
9
6
3

Where You Would Hold an Ace-High Flush

THE STRONGEST POKER HANDS

It’s extremely unlikely you will ever lose a pot holding one of these hands; such is their strength.

Four Of A Kind

Four cards of the same rank.

You Have:
10
10
The Board Has Come:
10
10
7
J
K
WINNER The Best Five-Card Hand:
10
10
10
10
K

Where You Would Hold Four 10s

Straight Flush

Any five cards in order, all of the same suit. A Straight Flush beats all other poker hands except a Royal Flush.

You Have:
8
7
The Board Has Come:
4
5
6
J
3
Winner The Best Five-Card Hand:
8
7
6
5
4

Where You Would Hold an Eight-High Straight Flush

Royal Flush

The cards Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten all of the same suit. A Royal Flush beats all other poker hand combinations.

You Have:
A
K
The Board Has Come:
10
J
Q
4
3
Winner The Best Five-Card Hand:
A
K
Q
J
10

Where You Would Hold a Royal Flush

POKER HAND TIE-BREAKERS AND KICKERS

On occasion, you are going to find yourself in a situation where the best hand at the table is being shared by more than one player. In these instances, in order to break the tie and declare a winner, the extra cards that are not directly contributing to the best hand come into play.

These cards are known as ‘Kickers.’ When two or more players have the exact same hand rank, the player with the highest kicker takes the pot. Let’s look at an example:

Tie Breakers and Kickers Example

The cards are dealt and these players hold:

Player A Has:
K
9
Player B Has:
A
K
The Board The Flop, Turn and River:
K
10
10
4
2

The Player’s Final Five Poker Hands Are:

Player A's Five-Card Hand

Loser 9 Kicker
K
K
10
10
9

Two Pair, Kings and 10s with a 9 Kicker.

Player B's Five-Card Hand

Winner Ace Kicker
K
K
10
10
A

Two Pair, Kings and 10s with an Ace Kicker.

In the rare case where both players have identical five cards hands and share kickers, they split the pot equally. As well as deciding who wins the pot, kickers are an important part of a poker hand that should be considered when choosing the hands you play. If you’ve played poker already, you’ll probably be familiar with this situation:

You’re in the Big Blind, and you catch top pair on the flop with a weak kicker. A player bets, and you call the flop with your top pair. The player bets both the turn and river, and you call again (even when you really don’t want to). When you turn your cards over, you find to your dismay, that your opponent has a bigger kicker and wins the pot.

You’ve just been out-kicked! This happens all the time in the poker world, and the key is to let it happen to your opponents – not you!

The Strategy Behind Kickers

Kickers are an important concept to understand, as being able to consistently outkick your opponents will win you a considerable amount of money in the long run. A mistake that a lot of beginner players make is to play too many Ax, Kx, and Qx hands, as they see them as the strongest cards in the deck. Repeatedly playing hands such as K7, A4, and Q6 will get you in a lot of trouble when you make top pair.

Take a hand between an experienced regular and a recreational player. The experienced player raises with KQ from early position, and will only raise with hands like AQ, KQ, and QJ from his position. The recreational player calls with Q8 from the button, thinking that a queen is a strong card to have. On a flop of Q62, the experienced player is going to win a lot of money from the recreational player, as while they both have top pair, the experienced player has a better kicker, and will win the pot if neither player improves.

While this isn’t to say that you should never play weaker Ax, Kx, or Qx hands, you should be mindful of being outkicked when you do.

STARTING HANDS for TEXAS HOLD’EM

So, how do you avoid getting out-kicked and losing pots with weak hands? Well, the best way to do that is to only play strong hands. The stronger your hands are, the less likely they will be out-kicked, meaning you’ll win more pots than your opponents.

If you’re new to the game and want to know the very best starting hands available in Texas Hold’em, you’re in luck! We’ve posted the top 20 starting hands in Texas Hold’em for you to look over. Playing any of these hands will be sure to give you a great chance of winning.

THE TOP 20 TEXAS HOLD’EM STARTING HANDS

Choosing the correct hands to start betting with preflop is very important and can get a beginner player winning poker hands right off the hop. We are going to break down the top 20 Texas Hold’em starting hands so that you can start playing preflop with confidence:

1. POCKET ACES

This is the best starting hand that a player could be dealt. It has the highest odds of winning against any other poker hand.

2. POCKET KINGS (COWBOYS)

Commonly called Cowboys, pocket kings are second in line behind the aces as the top starting hand. Go into your preflop situation confident, but be wary if you see an ace on the flop.

3. POCKET QUEENS

At the number 3 spot comes the lovely queens. Like the two pairs before it, pocket queens are an excellent starting hand and should be played in almost all situations.

4. POCKET JACKS (FISHHOOKS)

Despite some players consistently complaining about being dealt pocket jacks, this is still a very good hand. Aggressive play preflop can reap some nice rewards if done correctly.

5. ACE-KING SUITED (BIG SLICK)

Number 5 on our list is the first non-paired hand we have seen – ace-king suited. Despite going into preflop behind any pocket pair, this hand gives you a ton of top pair potential, flush/straight draw potential, and puts you ahead of all the other unpaired hands going into the flop.

6. POCKET TENS

Pocket tens comes in at number 6 due to its potential to collect a lot of value with the proper preflop raising strategy. Be careful not to go too deep in a situation where your opponents are heavily raising and 3-betting, as chances are you are going into the flop as the underdog.

7. ACE-KING OFFSUIT

While this hand lacks the flush draw potential that Ace-King suited has, it is still a very strong hand with great potential to land a top pair on the flop.

8. ACE-QUEEN SUITED

Ace-Queen suited brings a lot of possibilities and a lot of potential to hit some big pairs, a nut flush, and a straight draw. Preflop, look to play aggressively with this hand, and be sure to pay attention and evaluate your opponent’s response.

9. POCKET NINES

Much like pocket tens, pocket nines lack the flash that other high pairs have but should still be played aggressively preflop. This pair comes with great odds and can be deadly if you happen to catch a nine on the flop.

10. ACE-JACK SUITED

Ace-Jack suited shares similar qualities with Ace-Queen suited in terms of playability. This hand has a good chance of hitting some dominating pairs and gives you both a flush and a straight draw, but be cautious of the deadly Ace-King.

11. KING-QUEEN SUITED

Poker’s original power couple, this hand is valuable because of how well it flops. It’s common to make strong flush draws, strong straight draws, and good top pairs. However, if you do flop top pair, you’re vulnerable to someone having AK or AQ, so be careful.

12. ACE-TEN SUITED

The lowest of the broadway Ax hands, ATs still has a decent amount of value because of its straight potential, which makes it much stronger than A9s. You can flop nut flush draws and top pair top kicker with a ten-high flop, but be wary on ace-high boards.

13. ACE-QUEEN OFFSUIT

Slightly further down the rankings, thanks to its lack of suitedness, AQo is still a very strong hand. Whenever you flop a pair, it’s likely to be the best hand, and you can still make the broadway straight.

14. POCKET EIGHTS

Pocket pairs suffer from an exponential decline the smaller they get, which holds true for pocket eights vs. pocket nines. The smaller the pair, the more likely it is that overcards will flop, and the higher chance of being caught set under set. However, 88 is still a strong hand and should be played as such.

15. KING-JACK SUITED

While slightly weaker than KQs, KJs still flops a lot of strong pairs, strong draws, and strong flush draws. You would only need to be wary on king-high boards when a lot of money starts to go in, as it’s likely someone has a king with a higher kicker.

16. KING-TEN SUITED

Slightly weaker still is KTs, but it remains a strong hand and a respectable 16th in the rankings. It can still make broadway and king-high straights, as well as strong flush draws. However, similarly to KJs, you should be wary if there’s a lot of action on a king-high board.

17. QUEEN-JACK SUITED

Any two cards that are suited and connected always feel strong when you play them, and that’s certainly the case for QJs. There are lots of great straight and flush draws you can pick up on the flop, but the only downside is the top pairs it makes aren’t the strongest and are often beaten by other common hands people play.

18. ACE-JACK OFFSUIT

Losing its suited value really hurts AJo, as it’s just not as strong of a hand without it. While you’ll likely be in good shape on jack-high flops, it doesn’t perform as well on ace-high boards, particularly if you play this hand aggressively preflop.

19. KING-QUEEN OFFSUIT

Another hand that’s hurt by a lack of suited value is KQo. Not being able to flop a flush draw is a big reason why this hand is 19th, but it’s still great at flopping pairs, and there are still plenty of straight draws to give you equity.

20. QUEEN-TEN SUITED

The last hand in our rankings is QTs, a hand that’s starting to look a lot weaker than some of the hands in our top ten. While there’s the potential for broadway straights and good flush draws, its pairs are often dominated by strong hands, which can make it a tough hand to play.

While these hands are generally considered the 20 best preflop hands, there are some factors that we will discuss in the next sections that will influence both the value of these hands and the decisions you make.

HOW POSITION AFFECTS YOUR HAND VALUE

The most important aspect to consider when choosing your starting hands is the value of position. In Texas Hold’em, having position is a huge advantage, so you want to be as close to the Button as possible (the Button is the last person to act after the flop). The closer you are to the button, the more hands you can profitably play. Conversely, the further away you are from the button, the more hands you must fold preflop.

When you are in positions like the SB (Small Blind) and BB (Big Blind), your starting poker hands EV drops significantly in Texas Hold’em. This is due to the fact that you often end up betting or calling in these positions with hands that are much weaker than you would normally play.

In addition, people behind you get to see your actions, so they are in a better position to perform tricky moves or steal the pot if necessary. This is why many Texas Hold’em experts say that if you observe a game, that money tends to flow toward the direction of the Button.

This means that you want to tighten up your starting hand selection early in the game and drop questionable hands like [KT], [QT], [JT], [T9] – and possibly even [KJ] or [QJ] – in early position. These hands will lose you money in the long run in Hold’em if you play them too frequently – a mistake that many beginners make. In late position, however, you can relax your starting hand selection to include these hands. You can also begin playing pocket pairs a bit more liberally in late position, as it’s less likely someone will have a higher pocket pair.

Summary

The poker hand rankings are vital information that every player must know before starting their poker journey. It’s the perfect place to start for any beginner, as the poker hand rankings will form the foundation of the rest of your poker knowledge. From here, we’d recommend checking out our article on the rules of Texas Hold’em so you can build on the knowledge you’ve learned here today.

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yes
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Jordan conroy

Author
Jordan Conroy, a respected name in the online poker arena, has cultivated his authority through years of dedicated play and content creation. Since 2020, he has earned a stellar reputation for his in-depth analysis of poker theory and his ability to keep a finger on the pulse of the latest developments in the poker world. Jordan's dedication to staying at the forefront of poker knowledge allows him to consistently deliver top-quality content that resonates with both novice players and seasoned professionals. Beyond his poker expertise, he brings a diverse perspective, closely following other competitive domains like soccer, snooker, and Formula 1, enriching his insights and providing a comprehensive understanding of the gaming landscape.
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Dara o'kearney

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Former ultra-runner turned poker pro Dara O'Kearney, Ireland's top online winner with over $3 million in profit, has a stellar poker career. He's earned 8 Pocket Fives Triple Crowns, a 2008 European Deepstack win, and notable victories like a Super Tuesday win in 2013. With 225 cashes, 76 final tables, and 10 wins in 21 countries, his live poker record is impressive. O'Kearney, a coach and best-selling poker book author, co-hosts The Chip Race Poker Podcast. As a Unibet Poker ambassador, he reached new heights in 2015 with a $262,502 2nd place finish at the WSOP. Stay updated at daraokearney.com.
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