For players learning how to play online poker, the different card rankings and rules are the most important aspects. While it can be confusing and time-consuming, beginners need to know the best poker hands from the worst and what hand beats another during the game.
One of the most common questions from people learning to play poker games online is “Does a full house beat a flush?” If it’s the short answer you’re after, then yes, a flush outranks a full house. However, it pays to have more knowledge about the two when learning which hand beats the other and how the rankings are formed to add more nuance to your poker game.
Here’s a closer look at a full house and a flush and what you need to know about how they are ranked.
How Are Hands Ranked in Poker?
One of the most critical things to keep in mind when learning about poker rankings is that they are based on the number of possible combinations to form the hand. Therefore, the lower the number of combinations a hand has, the higher it is ranked. The top starting hands will also have the lowest possible number of combinations.
What Is a Flush in Poker?
A flush is easy to recognize in poker. It’s simply a combination of five same-suit cards, with at least one of them being non-sequential.
Examples of flush combinations in poker:
- King-high flush: king, jack, 7, 5, 4 of spades.
- Ace-high flush: ace, king, 9, 7, 6 of hearts.
Of course, there is more than one type of flush in poker. A straight flush also consists of five same-suit, sequential cards. The straight flush is a stronger hand than a flush.
Examples of straight flush combinations:
- 10-high straight flush: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 of hearts.
- Queen-high straight flush: queen, jack, 10, 9, 8 of spades.
This is the strongest five-card combination in a poker game. It’s a five-card hand with five sequential same-suit cards, starting with a 10 and ending with an ace.
There are only four possible combinations of a royal flush:
- Royal flush of spades: ace, king, queen, jack, 10 of spades.
- Royal flush of clubs: ace, king, queen, jack, 10 of clubs.
- Royal flush of hearts: ace, king, queen, jack, 10 of hearts.
- Royal flush of diamonds: ace, king, queen, jack, 10 of diamonds.
What Is a Full House in Poker?
A full house is a five-card combination with three cards of one rank (trips) and two cards of another rank (pair.)
Examples of a full house:
- 7s full of queens: 7, 7, 7, queen, queen of spades.
- Kings full of 6s: king, king, king, 5, 5 of hearts.
When you rank full house combinations, you’ll first use the ranking of the trips. That means the second combination above (kings full of 6s) is the strongest of the two hands.
The pair of the full house hand is only used in a game for ranking if multiple players have the same trips in their hand when making a combination from the same cards on the table.
- Player A has a jack of spades and 9 of diamonds.
- Player B has a jack of clubs and 10 of spades.
- The board has a jack of hearts, jack of diamonds, 9 of spades, 10 of hearts, and an ace of clubs.
- Player A’s strongest combination will be jacks full of 9s: jack, jack, jack, 9, 9.
- Player B’s strongest combination will be jacks full of 10s: jack, jack, jack, 10, 10.
The rank of the trips in both player A and player B’s hands are the same. Therefore, the rank of the pair is used. This means that player B’s hand is stronger in this situation.
Full House or Flush: Which Is Stronger?
As mentioned earlier, a full house beats a flush. So, does that make a full house the strongest hand in a game? Not necessarily. What beats a full house in poker? A royal flush, straight flush, and four of a kind are all stronger hands in poker because they have the lowest number of combinations of all poker hands.
In a 52-card deck of poker:
- A royal flush has four possible combinations, with odds of +64,973,900.
- A straight flush has 36 possible combinations, with odds of +7,219,200.
- A four-of-a-kind has 624 possible combinations, with odds of +416,400.
- A full house has 3,744 possible combinations, with odds of +69,300.
- A flush has 5,108 possible combinations, with odds of +50,900.
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