There are many poker hands that can help you secure a win, including the royal flush. But what is this powerful poker hand? And if there are many different ways to get this incredible hand, what are they?
We unpack everything you need to know about this hand, “royal” in both offline and online poker, so that you can improve your poker game.
What Is a Royal Flush?
In poker, there are many hands you can use to try and secure a win. Here’s a list of them – arranged from the weakest to the strongest:
- High card: The strongest single card that any player holds if no one has a multiple-card combination. For example, in a hand with an ace and eight of clubs, the ace will be the high card.
- Pair: Two of the same cards. For example, a 10 of hearts and a 10 of diamonds.
- Two pair: Two pairs of cards. For example, a jack of spades and a jack of clubs, as well as a nine of hearts and a nine of spades.
- Three of a kind: Three of the same card. For example, a seven of hearts, clubs and diamonds.
- Straight: Five cards in sequential order but not belonging to the same suit. For example, an ace, two and three of clubs, as well as a four of diamonds and a five of spades.
- Flush: Five cards of the same suit but not in sequential order. For example, a two, three, six, eight and a queen of hearts. You can learn more about flush draws here.
- Full house: Three of a kind and a different pair. For example, a six of hearts, clubs and diamonds, in addition to a three of clubs and spades.
- Four of a kind: Four cards of the same value, for instance, a four of clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.
- Straight flush: Five cards in sequential order and of the same suit. For example, a six, seven, eight, nine and 10 of diamonds.
- Royal flush: The strongest five cards in sequential order and of the same suit. For example, an ace, king, queen, jack and 10 of hearts. This is the strongest hand in poker.
The harder it is to get a specific combination of cards, the higher it is ranked in regard to hand strength. The odds of landing a royal flush in poker are the lowest, which is why this hand guarantees a win – or at least a tie, if an opponent is also lucky enough to land a royal flush.
Let’s take a closer look at the exact odds of getting a royal flush.
What Are the Odds of Getting a Royal Flush?
As we described above, a royal flush is an ace, king, queen, jack and 10 of the same suit, whether that’s clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades. The chances of landing a royal flush in poker vary depending on the version of poker you’re playing. For example, drawing a royal flush out of a regular deck of 52 cards in a game such as five card draw (or any other five card poker game) is 1 in 649,740. While in Texas Hold’em and other seven card poker games your chances go up dramatically, it remains incredibly hard to land a royal flush, with a 1 in 30,940 chance of getting the right combination. Regardless of how many cards you have to make a hand, there are only ever four ways in which to make a hand.
It’s this rarity that makes the royal flush the most powerful hand in poker.
What Should You Do When You Land a Royal Flush?
Since the royal flush is the strongest hand in poker, you need to know how to make the most of it on the odd occasion when you may actually get it. The most important thing to know when you have the nuts (the strongest hand possible in any particular game of poker) is how not to scare your opponents away.
Strangely enough, in a high-level poker game, checking may be one way of intimidating an opponent. Experienced poker players know that a check means that something is fishy and will react accordingly. And in a game with less experienced players, a big wager is likely to send less confident players running for the hills. Depending on who you’re up against, adjust your play style and betting size to keep players in the pot.
As a general rule of thumb, in most situations it would likely be better to play slow with moderate-size bets rather than fast with large bets, since you can’t be outdrawn once you have a royal flush. To raise your stakes, learn more about near misses and how to play hands that have a good chance of becoming a flush.
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