Learning Poker: A Guide to Poker Hand Rankings

min read
a close up of a straight flush of hearts
BetMGM Aug 09, 2023, 11:26 AM

Are you ready to embark on an exhilarating poker journey where the thrill of the cards and the joy of victory await? Step into the world of poker hand rankings, a realm where strategic prowess and a dash of luck converge. 

Read on for an overview of a poker hand rankings chart and how to play poker online using your knowledge of the hierarchy of poker hands, from the majestic royal flush to the modest high card. 

1. Royal Flush

Imagine sitting at the poker table, heart pounding, as you glimpse your hand and find the elusive royal flush — the best poker hand you could hope for. This legendary top hand in poker is at the head of the poker hierarchy, a combination of five cards from 10 to ace, all in the same suit. It’s an unbeatable powerhouse that guarantees victory.

Example: Ace, king, queen, jack, 10 — all spades.

2. Straight Flush

If the royal flush is the king of hands, the straight flush is its worthy rival. Comprising five consecutive cards of the same suit, this hand is rare and formidable.

Example: 8, 9, 10, jack, queen — all hearts.

3. Four of a Kind

Next up is the four-of-a-kind. Picture yourself holding four cards of the same rank, accompanied by any fifth card as a kicker. This hand is also a force to be reckoned with at the poker table.

Example: 5 of diamonds, 5 of spades, 5 of hearts, five of clubs, 10 of diamonds (four 5s and a 10.)

4. Full House

In the realm of poker, the full house is made up of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. This hand is another formidable contender.

Example: King of clubs, king of spades, king of hearts, 5 of spades, five of hearts (three kings and two 5s.)

5. Flush

As you advance in your poker journey, the flush becomes your ally. It includes five cards of the same suit, regardless of their sequence. 

Example: 2, 7, 9, jack, king — all spades.

6. Straight

If the flush doesn’t grace your hand, fear not, for the straight comes to your aid. The straight is made up of five consecutive cards of any suit.

Example: 6 of diamonds, 7 of hearts, 8 of spades, 9 of diamonds, 10 of clubs (a sequence from 6 to 10.)

7. Three of a Kind

Enter the three-of-a-kind, a hand boasting three cards of the same rank, accompanied by two unrelated cards.

Example: 2 of spades, 2 of diamonds, 2 of clubs, 7 of diamonds, 9 of spades (three 2s and unrelated 7 and 9.)

8. Two Pair

In the midst of the poker action, you may find yourself holding two pairs of cards of the same rank, along with one unrelated card. This gives you a two pair.

Example: 8 of hearts, 8 of spades, jack of clubs, jack of diamonds, 4 of spades (two 8s and two jacks with an unrelated 4.)

9. One Pair

When the higher-ranked hands elude you, one pair can still be strategically played. This hand consists of two cards of the same rank, along with three unmatched cards.

Example: 10 of clubs, 10 of spades, 3 of hearts, 7 of spades, king of diamonds (a pair of 10s with an unrelated 3, 7 and king.)

10. High Card

Sometimes you’ll draw a hand that has none of the poker hands ranked above. In this instance, the high card becomes your trump card and determines your chances of victory depending on what other players are holding.

Example: 2 of diamonds, 5 of clubs, 7 of hearts, queen of spades, ace of clubs (ace is the high card.)

Mastering Poker Hand Rankings

As you now possess the knowledge of poker hand rankings, the poker world opens up before you. With each hand you play, you gain valuable experience and a deeper understanding of the game. The key to success lies in strategic decision-making, knowing when to hold ’em, fold ’em, walk away or run. Poker is a game of skill, intuition and calculated risks, that include more aspects than just the hand you’ve been dealt.

The Art of Poker Tells: Reading Your Opponents

Beyond understanding the value of your own hand, an essential skill in poker is the ability to read your opponents. Poker tells are subtle cues or behaviors that can reveal your opponents’ hands and intentions. Watch closely for physical movements, betting patterns and facial expressions. A nervous tic, a sudden increase in betting or a confident smile can provide valuable clues. Learning to decipher these tells can give you a significant advantage at the poker table.

Putting Theory into Practice: Online Poker Games

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the rank of poker hands and learned the art of reading tells, it’s time to take your skills to the virtual felt. Poker games online offer a convenient and thrilling way to put your knowledge to the test. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice, online poker platforms provide a diverse range of tables and tournaments to suit your level of expertise. 

Tournaments: A Test of Skill and Endurance

Online poker tournaments are the ultimate test of your poker prowess. Engage in high-stakes battles, showcase your skills and compete for impressive prizes. From freerolls to high-roller events, the tournament scene caters to players of all bankrolls. Embrace the thrill of elimination rounds, chip stacks and final table drama. Success in tournaments requires adaptability, patience and mental fortitude. 

Poker Hand Analysis: Your Path to Improvement

As you progress on your poker journey, take time to review and analyze your past hands. Analyzing your gameplay helps identify areas of strength and areas for improvement. Did you make the right decisions? Were there missed opportunities? Learning from your experiences is crucial for growth as a poker player. 

Unleash the Poker Pro Within

Once you’ve delved into the intricacies of poker’s hierarchy, you’ll want to put your skills to the test. But it’s also important to get up to speed with the tips and tricks. BetMGM’s poker blog offers valuable insights and tips to enhance your gameplay, such as how to identify tells that indicate weak hands, as well as how to review your own poker hands. Utilize these resources to fine-tune your strategies and become a formidable force at the tables. Access all of this information, as well as a wealth of exciting gameplay, when you register at BetMGM.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.