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Hand Rankings
Hand Rankings

Poker MovesHand Rankings

Poker Hand Rankings

Here are the 9 different poker hands, ranked in order from strongest to weakest. Poker hand ranks are the same for all standard poker games, however you should look at hand ranks differently when you're playing different games. This is how I look at hand ranks when playing NLH.

Top Tier

Straight Flush


Four of a Kind


Full House


Opponent Hand Strength Keys: Post Flop - Board must be paired for full house or four of a kind. Board must show at least 3 cards to a straight flush.

Middle Tier





Three of a Kind


Two Pair


Opponent Hand Strength Keys: Post Flop - If board is paired a player may (or may not) have two pair or three of a kind. Board must show at least three cards to a straight or flush.

Bottom Tier

One Pair


High Card


Opponent Hand Strength Keys: Pre-Flop - Everyone who stays has high card or one pair. And a drawing hand.

General Notes: Play hands pre-flop that can best turn into middle and top tier hands post flop.

Develop your own way to master hand ranks and help determine hand strengths based on what's on the board.

Poker Hand Ranks Explained

When playing poker, the best hand wins the pot at showdown. Here you will find a more detailed explanation of each hand ranking.

Hand ranks are used to break ties between players if a poker hand can not be finalized through the betting process.

1. Straight Flush Explained

A straight flush is a straight (5 cards in order, such as 7-8-9-10-J) that are all of the same suit. As in a regular straight, you can have an ace either high (A-K-Q-J-T => Royal Flush / best hand available) or low (A-2-3-4-5 => Wheel). Wraparounds are NOT allowed (an example being K-A-2-3-4).

Eight High Straight Flush

2. Four of a Kind Explained

Four cards of the same rank like four Aces or Four Kings. If there are two or more hands that qualify, the hand with the higher-rank four of a kind wins.

Four Sevens or Quad Sevens

3. Full House Explained

A full house is a three of a kind and a pair, such as K-K-K-2-2. When there are two full houses the tie is broken by the three of a kind. An example would be J-J-J-5-5 would beat 9-9-9-A-A. If for some reason the three of a kind cannot determine the victor then you go to the pair to decide (this would only happen in a game with wild cards).

Full House – Tens over Eights (Boat / Full Boat)

4. Flush Explained

A flush is a hand where all of the cards are the same suit, such as A-J-9-7-5, all of Diamonds. When flushes ties, follow the rules for High Card.

Queen High Flush

5. Straight Explained

Five cards in rank order, but not of the same suit (it can be any combination of the four suits). An example of a straight is 2-3-4-5-6. The Ace can either be high or low card, either A-2-3-4-5 or 10-J-Q-K-A. Wraparounds are NOT allowed (an example being K-A-2-3-4). When two straights tie, the highest straight wins, K-Q-J-10-9 would beat 5-4-3-2-A. If two straights have the same value, AKQJT vs AKQJT, the pot is split.

Jack High Straight

6. Three of a Kind Explained

Three cards of any rank with the remaining cards not being a pair (that would be a full house if it were). Once again the highest ranking three of a kind would win. K-K-K-2-4 would beat Q-Q-Q-2-3. If both are the same rank (only in a wild card game), then the High Card rule come into effect with the remaining two. In NLH three of a kind is where you have one card in your hand and a pair on the board.

Three Nines or Trip Nines

A Set - Another and better form of three of a kind. It occurs when you have a pair in your hand and one card on the board. It's better, just because it's disguised from your opponents. It still counts the same as a three of a kind at showdown, but the possibility for extracting maximum value is increased.

Set of Nines

7. Two Pair Explained

Two distinct pairs of card and a 5th card. The highest ranking pair wins ties. If both hands have the same high pair, the second pair wins. If both hands have the same pairs, the high card wins. It's best not to have one of your pairs on the board as this would be easier for your opponent to have a hand that beats you. If no flush or straight draws and board is not paired there are way fewer hands (higher two pair or a set) that can beat you.

Two Pair – Kings & Deuces

8. One Pair Explained

One pair with three distinct cards. Highest ranking pair wins. Next highest card in your hand (your kicker) breaks ties when players have the same pair.

One Pair of Aces – Jack Kicker

9. High Card Explained

When the best hand is the one with the single highest ranking card. If there is a tie for the high card then the next high card (your kicker) determines the pot. If that card is a tie than it continues down till the third, fourth, and fifth card. The high card is also used to break ties when the high hands both have the same type of hand (pair, flush, straight, etc).

Queen High – Ten Kicker

How To Rank Hands On The Flop

  1. Nut Hands (3 streets value)
  2. Nut Draws (3 streets bluff)
  3. Strong Made Hands (2 streets value)
  4. Strong Draws (2 streets bluff)
  5. Weak Made Hands (1 street value)
  6. Weak Draws (1 street bluff)
  7. Air / Trash (0 streets)

Check Ed Miller or James Sweeney for more on after flop hand rankings.

How To Rank Hands on The River

  1. Value Bets
  2. Showdown Hands
  3. Bluffs (No Showdown Value)