Poker Hands Ranking

It may be the most popular card game in the world, but people aren’t born knowing how to play poker. There are things that have to be learned first, and one of the most confusing things for any new player is the poker hand rankings. Not only do you have to learn all the different kinds of hands you can make, you also have to learn which ones rank higher and which ones rank lower. Even experienced players will mess this up on occasion.

Time to clear up the confusion. The hand rankings for all three Bodog Poker games (Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo) are the same ones used in any standard poker game. Texas Hold’em and Omaha see the player with the highest-ranking hand winning the pot; Omaha Hi/Lo has the pot split between the highest-ranking hand and the lowest-ranking hand, provided a qualifying low hand exists. Once you’ve got this figured out, you can start planning your strategy for how to make the best poker hands.

The poker hands listed below are ranked from Royal Flush (highest) to High Card (lowest). If you don’t have these down pat already, use the Practice mode at Bodog to play free online poker; real money games can wait until you know a Flush from a Straight.

 

Register and Play Poker

 

Poker Hands Ranking

1. Royal Flush

Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 all in the same suit.
Tied Hand: If two or more Royal Flushes exist at showdown, the pot is split.

Royal Flush - Poker Hands Rankings

 

2. Straight Flush

Five cards in numerical sequence all in the same suit.

Tied Hand: If two or more Straight Flushes exist at showdown, the highest ranked card at the top of the sequence wins the pot. If two or more identical sequences exist, the pot is split.

Straight Flush -- Poker Hands Rankings

 

3. Four of a Kind

Four cards of matching rank.

Tied Hand: If two or more Four of a Kinds exist in a hand, the highest Four of a Kind wins. Games played with community cards where players have the same Four of a Kind, the highest fifth card by rank (kicker) wins. If the kicker is also of the same rank, the pot is split.

Four of a Kind - - Poker Hands Rankings

 

4. Full House

Three cards of matching rank (Three of a Kind), with two cards of different matching rank (One Pair).

Tied Hand: If two or more Full Houses exist at showdown, the highest Three of a Kind wins. In games played with community cards, where players have the same three matching cards, the highest Pair wins. If the hands are identical in rank, the pot is split.

Full House - Poker Hands Rankings

 

5. Flush

Five cards of matching suit.

Tied Hand: If two or more Flushes exist in a hand, the player holding the Flush with the highest ranked card is the winner. When necessary, the second, third, fourth or fifth highest cards are used to break a tie. If two or more exactly ranked Flush hands exist, the pot is split.

Flush - Poker Hands Rankings

 

6. Straight

Five cards in ranked sequence.

Tied Hand: If two or more Straights exist at showdown, the player holding the Straight with the highest ranked card is the winner. If two or more exactly ranked Straights exist, the pot is split.

Straight - Poker Hands Rankings

 

7. Three of a Kind

Three cards of matching rank.

Tied Hand: If two or more Three of a Kinds exist at showdown, the highest Three of a Kind wins. Games played with community cards where players have the same three matching cards, the highest ranked fourth (or fifth when necessary) card wins. If the hands are identical in rank, the pot is split.

Three of a Kind - Poker Hands Rankings

 

8. Two Pair

Two cards of matching rank with two additional cards of a different matching rank.

Tied Hand: If two or more players have Two Pairs at showdown, the highest pair wins. If the highest pair is the same rank, the highest second pair wins. If both pairs are identical, the highest fifth card by rank (kicker) wins. If the kicker is also of the same rank, the pot is split.

Two Pair - Poker Hands Rankings

 

9. One Pair

Two cards of matching rank.

Tied Hand: If two or more players have One Pair at showdown, the highest pair by rank wins. If pairs of the same rank exist, the highest ranked unrelated card wins. The second and third highest ranked unrelated cards are used when necessary. If the hands are identical in rank, the pot is split.

One Pair - Poker Hands Rankings

 

10. High Card

Five cards that are not of the same suit, are not ranked sequentially and uniquely ranked.

Tied Hand: If two or more players have High Card at showdown, the highest ranked card wins. The second, third, fourth and fifth highest ranked cards are used when necessary. If the hands are identical in rank, the pot is split.

High Card - Poker Hands Rankings

 

Omaha Hi Lo Hands Ranking

For low hand rankings, the individual rank of each of the five cards must be unique. Suits and ranked sequences (Flushes and Straights) are not considered when ranking low hands making these hands eligible for both the low and high hands. Along with Aces being the highest card for high hand ranks, Aces are used as the lowest card for low hand ranks.

 

1. Five High

5, 4, 3, 2 and Ace - Also known as the "bicycle" or "wheel".

Tied Hand: This is the lowest possible "Low" hand. If two or more Five Highs exist at showdown, the pot is split.

Five High - Poker Hands Rankings

 

2. Six High

Five uniquely ranked cards with the highest card being a 6.

Tied Hand: If two or more Six Highs exist at showdown, the lower second ranking card wins. The third, fourth and fifth highest ranked cards are used when necessary. If the hands are identical in rank, the pot is split.

Six High - Poker Hands Rankings

 

3. Seven High

Five uniquely ranked cards with the highest card being a 7.

Tied Hand: If two or more Seven Highs exist at showdown, the lower second ranking card wins. The third, fourth and fifth highest ranked cards are used when necessary. If the hands are identical in rank, the pot is split.

Seven High - Poker Hands Rankings

 

4. Eight High

Five uniquely ranked cards with the highest card being an 8.
8, 7, 6, 5, 4 is the weakest hand that qualifies for the "Low."

Tied Hand: If two or more Eight Highs exist at showdown, the lower second ranking card wins. The third, fourth and fifth highest ranked cards are used when necessary. If the hands are identical in rank, the pot is split.

Eight High - Poker Hands Rankings

 

Poker Hands Ranking Probabilities

Now that you know which poker hands are the highest and which ones are the lowest, you can start working on a viable online poker strategy for how to play poker. The next step is to figure out how often you’ll make each of these different hand rankings. This will depend on which game you’re playing; Texas Hold’em has two hole cards, while Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo have four. Also, in both Omaha variants, you must use exactly two hole cards when building your hand.

Let’s start with the probabilities of having each of these hands by the river in Texas Hold’em:

Royal Flush        0.0032% 
Straight Flush        0.028%
Four of a Kind        0.17%
Full House        2.60%
Flush            3.03%
Straight        4.62%
Three of a Kind    4.83%
Two Pair        23.5%
One Pair        43.8%
High Card        17.4%

 

Next, we have the probabilities for making these same hands in Omaha:

Royal Flush        0.0092% 
Straight Flush        0.079%
Four of a Kind        0.48%
Full House        6.35%
Flush            6.73%
Straight        11.28%
Three of a Kind    8.78%
Two Pair        36.84%
One Pair        26.46%
High Card        2.99%

 

Notice how in Omaha, you’re more likely to make a Straight by the river than Three of a Kind. Also, your chances of making only one Pair or worse are smaller in Omaha than in Texas Hold’em. That’s what getting four hole cards instead of two can do for you – and it also says something about the relatively low value of making Three of a Kind in Omaha.

For Omaha Hi/Lo, the above probabilities still hold true for the High hand. Now we have to take the low hand into account. Here are the chances of making each of the qualifying low ranks mentioned earlier:

Five High        1.60% 
Six High        5.57%
Seven High        11.15%
Eight High        16.48%

When you add up the probabilities for making a low hand, you only get 34.8%, which brings up an important point: Don’t automatically fold your starting hand just because you don’t have two low cards in it. While it’s always preferable to go for both a High and a Low hand in Omaha Hi/Lo, there are times when a hand like KKJT double-suited is good to play, usually when opening in late position or calling from the big blind.

 

Understanding Poker Card Strength

We’ve gone this far assuming that you know the ranks of the cards themselves. Aces can play as the highest or the lowest card, making them the most valuable cards in the deck – especially in Omaha Hi/Lo. Kings are next, followed by Queens, Jacks, then Tens through Deuces. Knowing this is one thing; appreciating the differences in strength is quite another. That difference gets smaller as you move down the ranks. Aces are far more valuable compared to Kings than Kings are compared to Queens, and so on down the line.

The same concept applies in reverse to the low cards. Five High (5432A) is the nut low, meaning the most powerful low, and it’s considerably more valuable than Six High. The drop in value to Seven High is significant, but not quite as large, and the drop down to Eight High is smaller still. You can’t make Five High without an Ace in your hand, which makes the Ace that much more important in Omaha Hi/Lo.

For that matter, it’s not easy making any low hand without an Ace. Lowball games are where the concept of rough versus smooth hands comes into play. A rough low hand is one that doesn’t include the lowest cards in the deck; in Omaha Hi/Lo, the roughest low hand is 87654, while the smoothest is 5432A. Any time you’re drawing to a low hand, you ideally want to have a smooth draw, so you’re more likely to a) complete your draw, and b) have the best low hand at showdown.

 

Pre-Flop Rankings

Up to this point, we’ve talked about the poker rankings for made hands. But what about starting hands, meaning your hole cards? Some hole cards are better than others, so if you want to make the right decisions at the table, you need to know how strong your starting hand is. This is relatively easy in Texas Hold’em, where you have 1,326 possible starting hands (including equivalent hands, like Ace-Five of Clubs and Ace-Five of Hearts). There are 270,725 possible starting hands in Omaha. In either case, learning all the starting hands in order isn’t practical, but if you group hands together into categories, you can get a good sense of how strong your hole cards are.

In Texas Hold’em, the best possible starting hand is pocket Aces (AA). In Omaha, the ideal starting hand depends on how many players are at the table, but in 6-max, the best possible starting hand is a pair of Aces and a pair of Tens, double-suited. This gives you the chance to draw to two different Flushes, as well as the Broadway Straight, plus two different ways to make Three of a Kind. In Omaha Hi/Lo, you want a pair of Aces with a Deuce and a Three, again double-suited for maximum drawing power.

 

How to Build a High-Ranking Hand

The best way to make a good made hand in poker is at the beginning, by opening with your best starting hands. Open your very best hands from early position, then add more hands as you get closer to the blinds. If someone else opens first, raise them with ultra-premium starting hands; if you have a speculative starting hand like a suited connector, small-medium pocket Pair or a baby suited Ace, you can call in position if you and your opponent each have at least 20 times the size of your call remaining in your stacks. You can call with even more hands from the big blind, including Broadway hands and suited connectors with gaps – just about any two suited cards will do if you’re calling an open-raise by the small blind.

 

How to Bluff Certain Hands

When you open with one of these strong starting hands (or any other hand), you’ve got about a 1-in-3 chance of connecting with the flop. That means you’re going to whiff about two-thirds of the time. Not to worry: You can still bluff your opponent off their hand and win the pot. When bluffing, it’s preferable to have a hand that can still draw to a strong made hand, like a Flush draw or an open-ended Straight draw. It’s also nice to have cards in your hand that block your opponent from having the nuts. This is especially valuable in Omaha, where raising with only the nut Flush blocker in your hand can get your opponent to fold a made King-high Flush.

 

Bad Hand Rankings

If some poker hands are better than others, that means some hands are worse than others, too. The worst starting hands in Hold’em are unsuited, disconnected hands with low cards, Seven-Deuce offsuit being the worst. In Omaha, having three of the same ranking card is bad, since you can only use two of your hole cards. But having all four cards is even worse, making 2222 the lousiest starting hand in both Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo. Avoid playing these hands except for very specific situations.

Now that you know what hands to look for, the best way to learn how to play poker is to actually play. You can put your newfound knowledge to the test for free by practicing your poker skills right now in our online poker room. Toggle the Practice mode to activate the Play Money games at Bodog Poker, and we’ll see you on the felt.
 

Play Online Poker