Understanding the ranking of poker hands is essential before getting started. The deck of cards playing poker contains 52 cards in 4 different suits. The suits are Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades: ♥ ♣ ♦ ♠.In poker, generally speaking, the suits have no difference in ranking. However the cards do rank from lowest card to the highest card and the ranking is as follows: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace.
The high card is the highest ranking card. In the event that there are no better hands, the highest card wins. Another use for the highest card is to settle a tie.
Any pair in the deck can beat a high card. For example a pair of twos would beat an Ace. As for beating a pair with a pair, a pair of threes would beat a pair of twos, and so on. Two players who both have the same pair would then use the high card to break the tie. In this instance, the high card is referred to as the Kicker.
Two pairs will beat one pair. A pair of twos and a pair of threes will beat a pair of Aces. Again, two players with the same hand would use the fifth card as the kicker to determine the winner.
Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same value beats two pairs. So for example, three two’s will beat a pair of Aces and Kings. If more than one player has the same three of a kind hand, a kicker would be used to determine the winner.
Five cards in sequential order will beat three of a kind. So, if you had 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of varying suits, you would beat three Aces. A 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 would trump that however.
A Flush consists of five cards of the same suit. To have a Flush, the cards do not need to be in sequential order. So for example, a 4, 7, 9, Jack and Queen, all hearts, would beat an Ace high straight.
A Straight Flush is similar to a Flush, with the addition that they must be in sequential order. So, a 2 of clubs, 3 of clubs, 4 of clubs, 5 of clubs and a 6 of clubs will beat an Ace high Flush of clubs or any other suit.
A Royal Flush is a straight flush including an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten, all in the same suit. It is the highest possible hand when wild cards are not in use. So, a ten of hearts, Jack of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, King of Hearts and Ace of Hearts will beat anything except a Royal Flush of a different suit and a 5 of a Kind. Up against another Royal Flush, you would tie. You would only encounter a 5 of a kind playing with wild cards, but the 5 of a kind would win.
5 of a Kind
When playing poker with wild cards, you will encounter a hand such as this. Normally, there are only four of each value in each deck of cards, so when playing with wilds, this hand beats everything. The only exception to this rule is when it is discussed and determined otherwise prior to dealing the hand.