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Arguably, Poker is second to none in the world of card games. Enthusiasts across different countries also
consider it as one of the most popular sports. Millions of people play Poker on an every day basis, as it not
only helps them win cash rewards, but also serves as a means to unwind at the end of a day.
Poker involves a lot of strategic elements because you don’t just play a casual round of cards. You need to strategically implement techniques by reading and anticipating your opponents’ moves. If you are someone who likes being surrounded by people, Poker paves way for social interactions and can be your ideal outlet.
If you are new to Poker, you may wonder whether the game is all about luck. Well, sure, there is luck involved since shuffling of cards is a part of the activity, but once the game starts you will begin to see luck taking a back seat.
You need to have instant answers to questions like when is it better to fold, how much money should you bet, is your opponent bluffing, should you bluff, to name a few.
As you can see, these questions cannot be answered through luck, but you require strategy and that too at every stage in the game. Many people have turned into professionals and made a living just by playing Poker and that is not something you can achieve through luck.
A great number of strategies go into determining the victor and they involve having Poker Hands. Read through to know what Poker hands or poker sequence as this information can help you understand the game better and even set you on an extraordinary path involving cards and people.
Like other card games, Poker has its own variants and based on the variations, the Poker combinations can
differ. Regardless, the player with the best or the highest Poker Hand emerges as the winner.
So, what exactly are Poker Hands?
As per its rules, the main objective in Poker is to create the best 5-card combination and that combination is called Poker Hands. Poker combinations are revealed during showdown, which decides the winner.
When it comes to determining a Poker Hand, the patterns play a crucial part. The best hands in Poker are where the patterns are similar. As for the card rankings, Ace is considered the highest-valued card, whereas 2 is the lowest.
It is important for you to know that there are 10 different hands that can be played in a game of Poker. However, since different factors are involved, these poker winning hands carry a certain amount of effectiveness and are accordingly ranked from highest to the lowest.
What do Hands Mean in Poker?
Hands in Poker determine where you stand in the game as compared to your opponents. There are strong hands and there are weak hands. Having a weak hand does not necessarily mean that you need to fold right away.
There will be 3 more cards unveiled for you to form a combination. However, if the situation does appear bleak, it is best advised to fold than to move forward in the game hoping for things to get better.
Poker uses rankings to describe all the hands and they are ten in numbers. These rankings are as per their
efficiency in regards to winning at the game. Below are the Poker hand rankings list from the strongest to the
Learning the terminologies and the sequence examples will help you target the right combinations which can ascertain your win in the toughest games.
1. Royal Flush (Strongest Hand)
Royal Flush is the unbeatable hand and as a result, the chances of landing it are pretty slim, too. This poker hand comprises cards 10, Jack, King, Queen, and Ace, all belonging to the same suit.
Often referred to as the Invincible Hand, successfully managing to build this hand means a guaranteed win.
2. Straight Flush
The only hand that beats Straight Flush is the Royal Flush. Straight Flush is the second-most unbeatable hand in Poker and contains five sequential cards of the same suit.
It may happen that two or more people at the table land a Straight Flush, in which case the person with the highest rank at the top of the sequence is declared the winner.
3. Four of a Kind
A four of a kind hand includes four cards of the same rank alongside a random card called the ‘kicker’. In case of a tie where multiple players have four of a kind hand, the one holding the highest ‘kicker’ or the side card wins the hand.
4. Full House
Full House is arguably the most common Poker term. Basically, a Full House poker hand will contain a three of a kind and a pair, meaning three cards of the same rank and two similar cards belonging to a different rank.
In the event of a tie, the player with the highest-ranking three cards is declared as the winner.
A Flush hand contains all five cards of the same suit. There is the occasional chance of multiple players getting a Flush poker hand and, in that case, the player with the highest card is the winner.
Straight refers to a poker hand set in numerical order, but belonging to different suits. Again, in the event of a tie, the highest card in the hand decides the winner.
One of the interesting aspects about Straight hand is that Ace can act as a high card as well as a low card, depending on what type of hand a player wants to form.
7. Three of a Kind
As the name suggests, a three of a card poker hand contains three cards of the same rank along with two distinct cards.
The highest side card is used to decide the winner in the event of a tie, and sometimes, even the second-highest card side card is used if the first decider card is of the same rank.
8. Two Pair
In a Two Pair hand, out of the 5 cards, two represent the same rank and two cards belong to a different same rank, whereas the last card is of a random value. The highest pair is used to decide the winner in case of a tie.
A pair hand comprises two cards of the same rank standing beside three random cards. If necessary, the player with holding the pair with the highest rank is declared as the winner.
10. High Card (Weakest Hand)
A High Card hand is a standalone hand and does not necessarily belong to any of the above-mentioned Poker hands. If all the players at the table contain no poker hand besides High Card, the one with the superior card is awarded the win.
When you know about the Poker winning hands, forming combinations becomes simpler. As highlighted above, Royal
Flush is the best hand you could ask for, despite its rarity, as it beats every hand in the game.
Know that every pairing beats the High Card, so, you definitely should not be targeting getting that combination. Regardless of its probability percentage, it should be your goal to score the Royal Flush or at best a Straight Flush.
A Straight Flush is a winning hand that is only beaten by the Royal Flush.
Also, four of a kind should be on your agenda, as it is comparatively easy to come by and can best a Full House and a Flush.
As for Full House, regardless of what Poker variant you decide to play, this hand may or may not show your vulnerability. This is because multiple players can have Full House and the one holding the best hand will win.
So, having the second or third best Full House can still mean you not winning that hand. If you are certain that you have a weaker Full House, the best option is to fold.
Overall, it is best advised that you try to achieve Full House, as only three other hands can beat it.
Poker games take place in real time, meaning there is no room to
use resources as reference in regards to Poker charts or Poker Hand Rankings. The only choice is to learn and
remember the charts and rankings and use them to the best of your ability.
Not everyone finds this method convenient as the experience can be daunting and in the heat of the moment, you can end up mixing the details resulting in you ending on the losing side.
Nevertheless, there is no need to feel disheartened because there are easier ways to learn the rankings. People who are new to Poker often prefer to learn the rankings and charts byheart.
If you are not one of these people, read below to know how you can make the use of best available resources and absorb the data for better.
Mnemonic devices can help you get a hang of the poker hand rankings hierarchy within a few attempts. The strategy of using Mnemonic devices has been around for ages and has been taught in schools and colleges, too.
It is practically using the starting letter of each word, here poker hand rankings and charts, and using them to form a sentence. Once you memorise that sentence, remembering the rankings and charts will be like a walk in the park.
Separating low-value hands from high-value hands:
This method will use more effort on your part, but do try it if you are a numbers person. Here’s how it works – assign 0, 1, 2, and 3 to High Card, Pair, Two Pair, and Three of a Kind, respectively, which are considered the most beatable hands.
While assigning numbers to the high-value cards, just consider the number of letters in the words to make it easy. Flush contains five letters, so, you assign the number 5, 9 for Full House, 11 for Four of a Kind, 13 for Straight Flush, and 18 for Royal Straight Flush.
Now, you get 0, 1, 2, and 3 for low-value cards and 5, 9, 11, 13, and 18 for cards of high value.
Practice, practice, practice:
To acclimate yourself to the rules of Poker, it is imperative that you practice numerous times. You may get a hang of all its guidelines and rules, which includes the chart and rankings.
In the initial stages, you will get a few predictions wrong, but do not let it demotivate you.
Before learning how to memorise poker ranges, it is important to know what they are. Poker Ranges are a
collection of hand that a player could possibly have up to a point in a particular hand.
Poker range can then be narrowed down as the game progresses depending on betting patterns and betting action.
The process of memorising Poker Ranges can be quite overwhelming when you are new to the card game, but determined to win. Poker takes time to come to an end, which means one of your objectives should be to maintain accuracy over time. Ranges are only a medium to help you and should not be relied upon extensively.
One of the ways by which you can memorise the ranges is by comparing your opening range to what ranges your opponents may have. This will help you assess how your opponent might act under a certain situation.
When you understand your opponents’ move, you begin to develop a knack for remembering the ranges that you can incorporate in different scenarios.
Also, if you have physically created ranges using a solver technology, blindly memorising them can backfire. Instead, learn the meaning behind them; learn the ‘why’ in regards to a range appearing in a certain way. Getting a deeper understanding will help you to know the meaning of the why the ranges appear the way they do.
Finally, testing yourself constantly can be the key to you mastering the reading of ranges or placing you with many poker players who play just for the sake of it.
What do you mean by ties in Poker Hands?
In Poker, it is possible to land ties as the end result because multiple players can have the same cards. Depending on the Poker variant like Texas Holdem, Omaha, the situation may or may not warrant a tiebreaker.
Though there are separate rules set for such scenarios, in the latter case, the pot is split equally among players upon showdown.
What is a Kicker in Poker Hands?
Kickers are cards that come handy in situation demanding tiebreaks. When two or more players have the same cards unable to decide a clear winner, the kicker card comes into play.
This card is a side card whose value is taken into account to decide the ultimate winner. The higher the value of the kicker card, the better is the chance of the that player winning the pot.
The best Poker winning hands are unfortunately also the ones that are the hardest to come by – Royal Flush and
As one of the players on the table, it should be your aim to land a Full House because any all combinations ranked below it can be beat by Full House and the three other better combinations.
Again, having a Full House does not necessarily mean that you are in a safe place, as Royal Flush, Straight Flush and Four of a Kind can beat it.
When it comes to selecting the worst Poker hands, the task is not easy since it varies from player to
player. However, at the end of the day, the worst Poker hand is the one that a player plays out of their own
Keeping aside the philosophical thoughts, there are certain hands that can see you in trouble. Something that you should definitely hope to avoid are two-gappers. It is inarguably one of the worst hands you could get, the immediate and the best decision is to fold.
Getting cards like King and a 10 or a Queen and a 10 can push you off course even when you are ahead in the betting game. Moreover, two-gappers can generate kicker issues, too.
Undisputedly considered as the worst hand in Poker, holding 2 and 7 can mean the vilest fate you could experience. Since there are five cards between the two, making pairs can become the most demanding leaving you no other choice but to fold.
Poker is one of the most interesting card games and for that very reason it is renowned worldwide and hosted
in casinos and other such establishments.
There are other classifications called High hands and Low hands. Below are their explanations and what part they play in Poker.
Hi or high-hand poker
In a situation where no player has been successful at making a hand, the player with the best ‘high hand’ wins the pot. For instance, Player 1 has King and Queen as their hand, whereas Player 2 has Ace and a King.
Once other five cards are unveiled on the table and both players fail to form a combination, Player 2 will win the pot since they have the high hand.
In another instance, wherein Player 1 has an Ace and an 8 and Player 2 has an Ace and a 7, Player 1 will win the pot, as they have a high side card, which is 8.
Lo, low-hand or lowball poker
Lowball Poker is a poker variant where the winner is determined based on who has the lowest hand. Some of its subvariants include California Lowball, Kansas Lowball, Deuce to Seven, and Ace to Five.
The rules state that the game must be played with at least one blind, which is often decided by the betting structure.
Hi-lo or high-low split poker
Traditionally, Poker rules suggest that the player holding the best hand wins the pot. In Lowball poker, the player with the lowest hand wins the pot. Then, there is high-low split poker where the players with the highest hand and lowest hand split the pot between them.
Declaration and cards speak are common terminologies in this poker format. Declaration uses either verbal declaration of the cards or by the use of a marker or chips.
Cards speak, on the other hand, follows the showdown format for their cards to be evaluated.
The basic formula to calculate the probability of poker hands is: Number of hands of a particular type
/ Number of possible hands
For this, first you need to count the number of 5-card combinations that can qualify as a hand. Example, count the 5-card combinations that can be called a straight flush; then, count the combinations that qualify as four of a kind and so on.
The next step is to tally the total possible 5-card hands that the dealer can deal from a deck of 52 cards. Once you obtain these numbers, you can calculate the probability using the above formula.
When you are playing real money poker, online or
otherwise, knowing and learning the order in which poker hands beat each other can benefit a great deal.
Referring to sections above, you can get the poker hands rankings that you can learn and use them to your advantage while competing against other players.
One of the best aspects of Poker is that regardless of which variant you wish to play, the hand rankings apply to all in the same order.
Considering Royal Flush is the strongest combination, it beats all other 9 hands in the game and cannot be beaten by anything. Straight Flush, on the other hand, beats 8 rankings and can only be beaten by Royal Flush.
Ranked third, four of a kind beats 7 hands, including, Full House, which trumps 6 rankings listed under it.
By following the poker chart, you can memorise what beats what in Poker. Once you get a hang of it, playing the card games will be easier than ever.
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