Want to be pro at playing poker? The first step is to learn poker sequence and hand rankings, which are the same for almost all poker variants (unless stated otherwise). In this article, you’ll learn about poker sequence, the highest to lowest poker rankings, and the best starting poker hands to win the game.
Poker Sequence – Meaning and Order
Poker sequence refers to the ordering of the cards. For example, five consecutive cards in sequential poker rank order make a straight in poker. Thus, if you hold consecutive ranks, i.e., 6,7,8,9, 10, you can refer to them as being in sequential order. But, what is the sequence of cards in poker?
The lowest card is a 2 (deuce). Here is the poker sequence:
Where does Ace rank in this sequence? Well, Ace can serve as:
- The highest card at the top of the sequence
- The lowest card at the bottom of the sequence
Whether Ace is low or high depends on the context or the specific poker game in question. Sometimes Ace acts as both high and low cards.
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Poker Hand Ranking – Meaning and Order
Poker hand ranking refers to the order of poker hands based on their strength. For instance, four-of-a-kind beats a full house but loses to a royal flush. Here is a list of different types of poker hand rankings based on their strength, starting with the strongest:
- Royal Flush
- Straight flush
- Four of a kind
- Full house
- Three of a kind
- Two pairs
As the name suggests, this sequence occupies the top poker ranking as it is the best possible hand a player can get. It consists of the highest five consecutive cards belonging to the same suit. Here is the sequence for royal flush will be – Ace, K, Q, J, and 10 (assuming Ace is the highest card). What happens in the case of two royal flushes?
Well, then it’s a tie unless a specific local rule dictates one suit can beat another. For instance, if during the start of the game, the players decide the spades suit to be the highest, followed by hearts, diamonds, and clubs, then:
- If player 1 gets Ace, K, Q, J, and 10 of diamond and player 2 gets Ace, K, Q, J, and 10 of hearts, player 2 wins the round.
The odds of getting a Royal Flush is 1 in 650,000.
It is similar to the royal flush but comprises any five cards sequentially aligned in the same suit. For example, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, of spades. If the five consecutive cards are not a royal flush, it is a straight flush. A straight flush can be beaten by a royal flush or another straight flush bearing higher-value cards. For example:
- If player 1 gets 9,8,7,6,5 of spades and player 2 gets Ace, K, Q, J, and 10 of diamond, player 2 wins.
- If player 1 gets 9,8,7,6,5 of spades, and player 2 gets 9,8,7,6,5 of diamond, player 1 wins. (Assuming spades suit is the highest, followed by hearts, diamonds, and clubs)
The odds of getting a Straight Flush is 1 in 75,000.
Four of a kind
It refers to getting the same card in all four colors or suits. For example, 4 Ace in different suits plus one other card. The highest value card completes the five-hand among the others on the table. If there is a tie, the highest four-of-a-kind wins. For instance,
- If player 1 gets 4 Kings in a different suit, and player 2 gets 4 Jacks in different suits, then Player 1 wins.
- If player 1 gets 4 8’s in different suits, and player 2 gets 4 10’s in different suits, then player 2 wins.
The odds of getting Four of a kind is 1 in 4150.
It refers to a hand consisting of the same value card in three different colors and another pair of another matching rank. When two players or more show a full house, the winning hand is decided by choosing the one with the highest value, three of a kind. For example,
- If player 1 gets 444JJ and player 2 gets 333kk, player 1 wins.
- Player 1 gets AAA22 and Player 2 gets KKKAA, player 1 wins.
- If player 1 gets KKK33 and player 2 gets KKK44, player 2 wins.
The odds of getting a full house is 1 in 700.
It comprises five cards of the same color in any order; it doesn’t have to be a sequence. When two players show flushes, the winner is decided by checking which has the highest value card/cards. For example,
- If player 1 has 4, 6, 8, 10, J of diamonds and player 2 has 3, 5, 9, 7, A of diamonds, then player 2 wins.
The odds of getting a Flush is 1 in 500.
This comprises five cards placed in sequential order, with more than one suit. The Ace can be ranked above the King or below a 2, but never in the same hand. For example, 8,7,6,5,4, of different suits beat 5,4,3,2, A (Ace is considered lower in this case).
The odds of getting a straight is 1 in 250.
Three of a kind
Three of a kind, as the same suggests, comprises three cards of the same rank or value in three different suits and two other cards of any value or suit. In Texas Holdem, besides three of a kind, the two highest available cards complete the hand. For example, three K’s of different suits with any two cards like 8 of spades beats three K’s of other suits, with 7 of spades.
The odds of getting three of a kind is 1 in 47.
As the name indicates, it consists of two different sets of pairs. The fifth card which completes the hand is the highest-ranked one. For example, a pair of 9’s and a pair of 5’s along with a 10 of clubs, beats a pair of 8’s and a pair of 5’s along with an 8 of clubs.
The odds of getting a two-pair is 1 in 20.
It comprises a single pair of cards in different suits. The rest of the hand is completed by the three highest value cards available. For example, a pair of K in different suits, plus any three cards, beat a pair of 6, plus any three cards.
The odds of getting a pair is 1 in 3.35.
It is considered the lowest-ranked hand. The high card comprises the highest value card in hand. For example, 4, 6, K, 8, and 3 of different suits; in this example, the King is the ‘high card.’
The odds of getting a high card is 1 in 1.
Poker rankings – 10 best starting poker hands in Texas Holdem poker
One of the ways to win at Texas Holdem poker is to know which hands are worth playing and which aren’t worth the effort. We have compiled a list of the top ten best starting hands for Texas Holdem poker. It’s a list worth reading for beginners and those who aim to strengthen their game.
It is important to note, as there are a couple of poker variants, there is some dispute over which hands are the best compared to others. Although, in the end, it depends on a player’s skill set and method. Specific names are bestowed on some of the best starting hands in Texas Holdem.
Here are the ten best starting hands with their quirky synonyms:
A pair of Aces
Also known as the ‘pocket pair’, the combo ace and ace is the top-ranking hand in this poker variant. So if you are lucky enough to get a hold of this pair, you might win the round! To ensure a win, you need to note the number of players entering the pot, as more players raise the possibility of someone defeating your pair. Even if you have the best pocket cards, you can still be beaten by a player with two pairs of other cards, such as a pair of 10s and a pair of 5s. The probability of getting a pair of aces is very low, so you’d be the luckiest to begin a round with this pair in your hand.
Two Pairs will beat a pair of Aces!
A pair of Kings
The second highest ranking hand is a pair of kings. This pair could ensure you a win. Popularly known as cowboys, they are an excellent hand to play against your opponents in a game of Texas Holdem. The probability of getting a pair of kings equals two Aces, but they can’t beat the latter. So you are at a good start unless another player shows a pair of aces, then you are in danger.
A pair of Aces and two pairs will beat a pair of a King!
A pair of Queens
The third-best hand in Texas Holdem poker is a pair of queens. Of course, the top 2 ranking hands can defeat this pair, but you sure can beat a suited Ace-King and other lower hands with it. Hence, it is regarded as a strong starting hand. It can make your rivals groan, but be careful while playing them.
A pair of Aces, King, and two pairs will beat a pair of a Queen!
Suited Ace & King or Big Slick
This is a highly disputed hand, yet one of the best. A suited Ace and King is a strong hand that ranks fourth-best as a starting hand in Texas Holdem poker. To transform this pair of ‘Ana Kournikova’ into a win, you immediately need to begin developing a nut flush or a straight. It offers a high chance of defeating other pocket pairs but beware because two aces or kings can best it.
A pair of Aces and King can beat Big Slick!
Suited Ace & queen or Big Chick
This sassy combo is Texas Holdem’s fifth-best starting hand. It is notoriously referred to as the suited ‘little slick’ sometimes. With this non-pair in your hands, you have an excellent chance to beat a pair of jacks, a suited Ace & Jack, and other lower hands.
A pair of Jacks or Fishhooks
Jack and Jack’s combo has derived the name ‘fishhooks’ because of Jack’s bent ending, which seems like a hook. It ranks 6th on this list and is a splendid non-pair to get. But be careful if other higher-ranking pairs show up.
If a flop shows a King, Queen, or Ace, be careful about playing a Fishhook!
Suited King & Queen
A royal couple of this sort won’t disappoint you in the game of Texas Holdem. A suited king and queen rank 7th in this list; with them, you can develop a flush and ensure a win. The best way to play this hand is by playing against a raise, a 3-bet, and a 4-bet.
Suited Ace & Jack or Blackjack
Famously known as ‘blackjack,’ this pair needs to be played with caution, significantly if a fellow player has been raising the past few bets. Nevertheless, it can win if paired with five up cards. Moreover, it can be a great starting hand if you could quickly pair it with another Ace.
Off-suit Ace & King
The most extraordinary feature about this combo is that it’s the only off-suit non-pair part of this list. This one is also known as ‘big slick’, but don’t get confused because it doesn’t offer the same leverage as a pair of suited Ace and King.
A pair of Tens
This is the last combo on our list and the sole starting hand without a face or an ace. This pair is also known as the ‘dimes.’ It is the least potent combo compared to the rest of the above-listed ones.
Remember that a good starting hand can go bad quickly if you choose the wrong community cards.
If you aim to excel at Texas Holdem poker, the best way is to memorize the poker sequence and learn all the best starting poker hands. It might take some time to commit the rankings to memory, but it will be worth it.
Learn about the rules to play Texas Holdem poker.
Poker Sequence and Rankings – FAQs
It is vital to learn poker sequence and hand rankings because:
1. They signify the power of the different hands you can play
2. They act as an essential help in decision-making during the game
A standard poker hand ranking order underlines all game variants by categorizing the corresponding strength of various poker hands so players can easily decide which hand wins the round. Such a ranking system is used in viral poker variants like Texas Holdem, Omaha, and 3-card.
Undoubtedly, the royal flush is the best poker hand which comprises an ace, a king, a queen, a jack, and a ten of the same suit.
Sometimes even after being aware of the poker hand rankings chart, it becomes difficult to decide what beats what in poker. You simply need to follow the hierarchy listed in the rankings. Learn about some key rules to play poker.
A straight comprises five consecutive cards, which need not be of the same suit. For example, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. However, if they are of the same suit, it is known as a ‘straight flush.’ A straight flush beats a straight sequence.
A couple of hands can beat a flush, such as a four-of-a-kind, a straight flush, a royal flush, and a full house.
A couple of hands can easily beat a full house, such as a four-of-a-kind, royal, and straight flush.