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Beginning Poker   Beginner - Hand Rankings

 

Know thy Hands

 

   The first thing to know in poker is the hands and their ranking. Rank is determined by the odds of making a particular hand (the rarer the hand , the higher it ranks). Here are the hands in order from worst to best.


High card - This is the worst possible poker hand and is comprised of nothing. The single highest card defines the hand. Example: Ace high.
high card
 
Pair - Two cards of the same rank. Example: Pair of Queens
one pair
 
Two Pair - Two cards of the same rank with another two cards of a different rank. Example: Jacks over Nines
two pair
 
Three of a Kind - Three cards of the same rank. Example: Three Queens
three of a kind
 
Straight - Five cards in sequence defined by the highest card. Example: Ten high Straight
straight
 
Flush - Five cards of the same suit defined by the highest card. Example: King high Flush
flush
 
Full House - Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank defined by the three of a kind. Example: Aces full of Fives
full house
 
Four of a Kind - Four cards all of the same rank. Example: four queens
four of a kind
 
Straight Flush - Five cards of the same suit and in sequence defined by the highest card. Example: eight high straight flush
straight flush
 
Royal Flush - The highest possible straight flush comprised of A - 10 all of the same suit. Example: royal flush in spades
royal flush
 



Nonstandard Hands

   Nonstandard hands are used at times in home games but not seen in casinos. Some or all of the following hands may be added to create more playable hands and enliven the game. Players must agree in advance to use such non-traditional hands in a game.

Five of a Kind - Five cards all of the same rank, only possible when there are wild cards. Ranks above a Royal Flush. Example: Five Aces in a Deuces Wild games AAA22

Big Tiger (big cat) - Five unmatched cards with a King high and an eight low.

Little Tiger (little cat) - Five unmatched cards with an eight high and a three low.

Big Dog - Five unmatched cards with an ace high and a nine low.

Little Dog - Five unmatched cards with a seven high and a deuce low.

   The last four combinations are listed in the order of their seniority; that is, a Big Tiger beats a Little Tiger, which in turn beats a Big Dog, which in turn beats a Little Dog. All combinations beat a straight and lose to a flush.

Skip Straight (also called a Dutch Straight or Kilter) - Five cards in an alternate sequence.This hand beats three of a kind but loses to a straight. Example: King high Skip Straight K,J,9,7,5

Round-the-Corner Straight - A sequence such as 3,2,A,K,Q. Note that the hand 5,4,3,2,A beats 4,3,2,A,K which beats 3,2,A,K,Q etc. This hand beats three of a kind but loses to a straight. If both Skip and Round-the-Corner Straights are played, the Skip Straight ranks higher.

Blaze - Five face cards (J,Q,K). A blaze beats three of a kind but loses to any straight including skip or round-the-corner.

Four Flush - Four cards of the same suit. A four flush beats a pair but loses to two pair.

Bobtail - A four card "open-ended" straight. The bobtail beats a pair but loses to two pair. If both bobtails and four flushes are played, the four flush ranks higher.




Rule of Hand Rankings

   The winning hand is composed of the best five cards. If the hands are of the same rank, then the highest card not being held in common (the kicker) determines the winner. However this is the case only to the fifth card. The sixth card is never used as a tie breaker - even in a seven or nine card game - nor is the suit. If the poker hands remain tied, the pot will be split evenly between the two or more winning players. If there is an odd chip, the winning player to the left of the button/dealer will receive it.

 

 


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