What Are the Odds of Flopping a Royal Flush?

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a woman’s hand holding up five playing cards, a royal flush of diamonds, with a pitch black background
BetMGM Apr 18, 2024, 3:13 AM

Are you a die-hard poker player who’s determined to go pro? Are you a beginner just starting out? Or are you the recreational type, just a game here and there, every now and then? Whatever type of player you are, whether you dabble in online poker or prefer gaming at land-based casinos, chances are that you’re always looking out for that elusive hand, the unicorn of all hands: poker’s royal flush. So, what are your odds of flopping a royal flush?

Defining a Royal Flush

Of all the different possible hands in poker (2,598,960 to be exact,) the royal flush is the strongest. So, what’s the weakest hand that can earn you the pot? In the absence of all the other possible winning combinations, this would be a high card. In order of increasing potency and decreasing odds of landing it, these are all the possible winning hands in poker: the high card; a pair; two pair; three of a kind; a straight; a flush; a full house; four-of-a-kind; a straight flush; and a royal flush.

A high card is in every poker game, which makes it the most common hand to get. Since you’re going up against another player, your odds of flopping a high card would be 50:50 (or a probability of 50.1177%.) At these odds, a high card isn’t a very strong hand. On the opposite side of the spectrum is the royal flush. The five cards that make up this hand are the top five cards (and only the top five cards) of any given suit. These are the ace, king, queen, jack and ten in each suit — diamonds, clubs, hearts and spades. The odds of flopping a royal flush plummet to a probability of 0.000154% (or a chance of 1:649,740.)

What Are the Odds?

Since the game of poker can make anyone’s head spin with all the variables that need to be taken into consideration at any given moment involving pot size, type of player, ICM strategy and the total number of outs of your specific hand at a given moment in the game (not to mention the effect these variables have on one another,) it helps to level the field a little and focus on a specific type of game, Texas Hold’em poker hands. In this limited framework, you can determine and discuss the different royal flush odds.

Of all the possible combinations of hands that can be dealt in poker, the royal flush comprises only four of them. This is partly because a deck has only four suits and partly because only one combination — A, K, Q, J and 10 of that suit — will give you a royal flush. Since there are 2,598,960 possible hands, the probability of being dealt one of those four hands is simple mathematics (4/ 2,598,960) and gives you those seemingly impossible odds of 1:649,740.

You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than flopping a royal flush in your poker career. Still, compared to the odds of other weird and random events happening every day, it isn’t impossible to land the holy grail of hands. You are, for instance, way more likely to flop a royal flush than win the lottery or find yourself the unfortunate next meal of a great white shark.

In Texas Hold’em, the poker game with the highest odds of hitting a royal flush, there are different ways to get a royal flush. If you start off with two of the cards needed as your hole cards, your odds instantly increase to 1:30,940 or a 0.00323% probability of hitting the other three cards and completing a royal flush by the river. At the odds of 1:15,300 of getting struck by lightning, being electrified is still more likely to happen to you. But unlike playing hundreds of hands of poker to maximize the probability of a royal flush, you hopefully won’t be found under a tree each time a storm hits.

How To Play a Potential Royal Flush

Whether you play Texas Hold’em poker online or you prefer games at a land-based casino to better read the game and your opponents through physical tells, there are some strategies you can apply to maximize your chances of flopping the ultimate hand.

Here are three simple tips that apply to almost every winning hand you play.

Build the Pot Slowly

You need to build the pot slowly. Scaring other players off with pot raises and all-ins will leave you with a monster hand and very little pot to show for it. You have the nuts. Go slow.

Know When To Fold

You should know when to bail. It can be exciting to be dealt AK of the same suit. It’s the start of a royal flush, after all. But when your hole cards completely miss the flop, you may need to consider folding when the betting gets underway.

Adjust Your Postflop Strategy

It’s a good idea to be open to adjusting your postflop strategy. The community cards are everyone’s cards, so other players will be aware of a potential royal flush in the making. Always keep in mind the type of player you’re up against as well as your outs and adjust accordingly.

Play More Hands With Online Poker at BetMGM

The times when you could only play a couple of hands of poker a week are over. Gone. Online poker has changed the game, allowing you to play many hands in a single day. More hands mean more chances of hitting a royal flush. You can now play poker online almost anywhere at any time, including the ever-popular online Texas Hold’em. Register at BetMGM and get chipping away at those 649,740 hands right away.

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.