POKER TIPS & STRATEGY

Best Poker Hands Ranked and Their Probabilities

By David Huber
June 13, 2023

In traditional “high-only” poker games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha, the best poker hands are generally ranked by their rarity. This means that the less likely it is for a player to make a certain hand, the more “strength” that hand has at showdown.

Although bluffing is a key part of almost all poker games that are hosted at live cardrooms and online sites around the world, poker hands possess a showdown value once the action on the final “street” has concluded with two or more players still remaining in the pot.

The higher ranked your poker hand is at showdown, the more “made” hands it can defeat. The lower ranked your poker hand is at showdown, the fewer “made” hands it can defeat.

It’s pretty simple actually… and with a little practice, a first-time poker player can quickly learn the rules of poker and grasp which hands are better than others in terms of showdown strength.

poker hand rankings chart

Poker Cards Ranked

For the sake of this article, we will be ranking poker hands in accordance with the rules of “community card” games like Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Stud, etc.

POKER CARDS RANKED FROM HIGHEST TO LOWEST
Ace-King-Queen-Jack-Ten-Nine-Eight-Seven-Six-Five-Four-Three-Two

POKER SUITS RANKED
All suits are equal in strength (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs)

If you’re playing a “Hi/Lo” poker variant like Omaha 8 or Better (or Razz), these card and hand strength rules will NOT apply for the “low” portion of a hand.

However, the game you’ll most likely be playing as a beginner is Texas Hold’em (either “Limit” or “No Limit”), which is spread in just about every poker room – live and online.

It’s also important to know that poker hands are ranked as 5-card hands, even if there are seven cards with which to make your best 5-card hand. This means that hands such as “three pairs” along with “six or seven-card straights and flushes do not exist in community card games like Texas Hold’em or “door card” poker variants like 7 Card Stud.

Poker Hands Ranked

NO PAIR

The worst possible 5-card hand in poker games like Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud is 7-5-4-3-2 (with no flush). The second worst hand is 7-6-4-3-2 (with no flush). The third worst hand is 7-6-5-3-2, and so on.

A hand like “7-high nothing” is rarely seen at showdown in Texas Hold’em. The best “unmade” hand you can have is an “Ace-high nothing,” A-K-Q-J-9 (with no flush), which will beat all other “unmade” 5-card hands at showdown, but will lose to any pair or better.

ONE PAIR

A pair of Aces is the best “one pair” hand that you can have in Hold’em games, and a pair of Twos is the worst “one pair” hand.

Ace-Ace-King-Queen-Jack is the best “one pair” that you can possibly make with five cards, while Two-Two-Five-Four-Three is the worst possible “one pair” hand.

Player 1: A-A-K-7-6
Player 2: A-A-Q-J-T

In this scenario, Player 1 wins the hand at showdown because of the King “kicker” compared to Player 2’s Queen “kicker.”

TWO PAIRS

Two pairs in poker will beat any single pair in terms of hand strength as well as any unmade hands, but will lose to superior holdings like Three-of-a-Kind or better.

The best possible two pair poker hand is A-A-K-K-Q. The worst possible two pair poker hand is 3-3-2-2-4

Player 1: Q7
Player 2: Q6

Community Cards: Q-9-9-2-3

Player 1 Showdown: Q-Q-9-9-7
Player 2 Showdown: Q-Q-9-9-6

Player 1 will win the showdown over Player 2 in this situation due to the superior Seven kicker.

THREE OF A KIND

The best possible 3 of a Kind poker hand is A-A-A-K-Q. The worst possible 3 of a Kind hand is 2-2-2-4-3.

Player 1: JT
Player 2: J9

Community Cards: J-J-4-3-2

Player 1 wins at showdown with the better 5-card made hand, which is Three-of-a-Kind: Jacks with a Ten kicker (J-J-J-T-4 vs J-J-J-9-4).

Any Three of a Kind will defeat all Two Pairs, One Pair, and unmade hands at showdown.

STRAIGHT

A Straight in most poker games is defined as a five-card hand in which there is a full numerical or face card sequence without interruption. A four-card straight is NOT a made hand in poker.

Straights (along with Straight Flushes) are also the only hands in poker games like Texas Hold’em where an Ace can be placed at the “high” or “low” end of a sequence.

For example: A-K-Q-J-T is an Ace-high straight (the best Straight possible); 5-4-3-2-A is a Five-high straight (the worst Straight possible).

Player 1: 6-5-4-3-2
Player 2: 5-4-3-2-A

Player 1 will take the pot at showdown versus Player 2 here, as a Six-high straight defeats a Five-high straight. The interchangeable Ace in straight hands can only go before a Two or after a King – it cannot be otherwise placed or complete a different sequence of 5 cards.

FLUSH

Flush hands in poker are the only made hands in which card suits (Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades) are relevant.

Although flushes of different suits made by multiple players are not possible in Texas Hold’em, they are possible in 7 Card Stud. Community card flop games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha must have at least three of the same suit on the face-up board in order for any flush to be possible.

But in 7 Card Stud, each player is in sole possession of his or her face-up “door cards.”

In Texas Hold’em:

Player 1: Ad-2d
Player 2: Kd-Qd

Community Cards: Jd-Td-8d-5s-5c

Player 1 has the superior diamond flush in this circumstance and will win against Player 2 (Ad-Jd-Td-8d-2d vs Kd-Qd-Jd-Td8d).

In 7 Card Stud:

Player 1: Ad-Kd |||4d-3d-8h-9h||| Qd
Player 2: Ah-Kh |||4h-3h-8s-9c||| Qh

In this scenario, Player 1 and Player 2 will “tie” (a.k.a., chop the pot) at the conclusion of the hand because each player makes a 5-card flush of equal value.

Ad-Kd-Qd-4d-3d Diamond Flush versus Ah-Kh-Qh-4h-3h Heart Flush is a tie in 7 Card Stud because no single suit is more (or less) valuable than another.

FULL HOUSE

A Full House is defined as a 5-card hand that contains Three of a Kind plus One Pair.

The best possible full house is A-A-A-K-K while the worst possible full house is 2-2-2-3-3.

Player 1: 4-4-4-2-2
Player 2: 3-3-3-K-K

Although a bit counter-intuitive at first glance, Player 1 wins this hand at showdown against Player 2 because the Three of a Kind cards are valued higher. So Player 1 has a Full House: Fours over Twos – while Player 2 has a Full House: Threes over Kings.

FOUR OF A KIND (QUADS)

A Four of a Kind hand is relatively rare in the game of poker, but its strength will defeat all Full Houses and below in games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha.

The best possible Four of a Kind hand is A-A-A-A-K while the worst possible Four of a Kind hand is 2-2-2-2-3.

Player 1: 99
Player 2: 88

Community Cards: 7-7-K-7-7

If these two players reach a showdown, they will chop the pot (or tie) because neither pocket pair can improve what is already shown on the board, which is Four of a Kind: Sevens with a King kicker.

Player 1: AK
Player 2: KK

Community Cards: 4-3-3-3-3

In this hand, Player 1 will win the pot at showdown because Player 1 has Four of a Kind: Threes with an Ace kicker versus Player 2’s hand of Four of a Kind: Threes with a King kicker.

STRAIGHT FLUSH

A Straight Flush is defined in poker as an uninterrupted 5-card sequence of cards that all have the same suit. As with simple straights, an Ace can be used to complete the high-end of an Ace-high Straight Flush or the low-end of a Five-high Straight Flush.

Player 1: As-Ks
Player 2: 7d-6s

Community Cards: 2s-3s-4s-5s-Ac

In this example, we see that there is a simple Straight already dealt on the board. However, Player 1 has the Ace of Spades, meaning that Player 1 can complete a Five-high Straight Flush (5s-4s-3s-2s-As).

However, Player 2 has the better hand in this instance, with a Six-high Straight Flush (6s-5s-4s-3s-2s) and will, as a result, be awarded the pot at showdown.

ROYAL FLUSH

A royal flush is a 5-card, Ace-high Straight with cards of the same suit. Basically, it’s an Ace-high Straight Flush.

Ah-Kh-Qh-Jh-Th is a Royal Flush. It is the outright best hand in Texas Hold’em and Omaha and cannot be beaten or tied.

In 7 Card Stud, it is possible for a Royal Flush to tie with another player’s Royal Flush, as the suits are all valued equally.

There is no “better” or “more difficult to make” hand possible in traditional 52-card, single-deck “high” poker games than a Royal Flush.

Player 1: Ac-Kc

Community Cards: Qc-Jc-Tc-?-?

Player 1 has flopped a Royal Flush and is guaranteed to have the best hand at showdown with a Royal Flush: Clubs, in Texas Hold’em. Regardless of what cards appear on the board during the Turn or River, Player 1 cannot be beaten, or even tied, in terms of hand strength.

Player 1: Ac-Kc
Player 2: 9c-8c
Player 3: 7d-7h

Community Cards: Qc-Jc-Tc-7c-7s

Player 1 has a Royal Flush: Clubs (Ac-Kc-Qc-Jc-Tc).
Player 2 has a Queen-high Straight Flush: Clubs (Qc-Jc-Tc-9c-8c).
Player 3 has Four of a Kind: Sevens with a Queen kicker (7d-7h-7s-7c-Qc).

Poker Hand Probabilities

One of the best public resources available for newcomers who want to learn poker hand probabilities is Wikipedia.

The Wiki “poker probability” webpage will provide you with far more in-depth mathematical detail for calculating poker probabilities than this author has the skill to relay to the reader.

But basically speaking, the more unlikely it is for a player to make a certain hand, the more value that hand has at showdown.

For games like Texas Hold’em in which a total of seven cards can be used by each player to make the best possible 5-card hand, here is a look at poker hand probabilities.

  • Royal Flush: 1 in 30940 (0.0032%)
  • Straight Flush: 1 in 3589.6 (0.0279%)
  • Four of a Kind: 1 in 594 (0.168%)
  • Full House: 1 in 37.5 (2.6%)
  • Flush: 1 in 32.1 (3.03%)
  • Straight: 1 in 20.6 (4.62%)
  • Three of a Kind: 1 in 19.7 (4.83%)
  • Two Pairs: 1 in 3.26 (23.5%)
  • One Pair: 1 in 1.28 (43.8%)
  • No Pair: 1 in 4.74 (17.4%)

Although it is rarer to have a “no pair” hand in Texas Hold’em than to have One Pair (or Two Pairs), a “no pair” hand is valued less because it is the lowest-ranking 5-card hand. If you are playing a 5-card poker variant like 5 Card Stud, then you will experience more “no pair” hands than “one pair” hands.

Poker Odd Calculator

A poker odd calculator is a study tool that players can use away from the tables to learn more about the probabilities in poker.

To start with the very basics, it is imperative to define that a standard poker card playing deck contains 52 cards – the two jokers are discarded before play begins – with four of each numerical value and 13 of each suit.

So to practice: if you shuffle a 52-card deck and then deal a single card face-up, there is a 1 in 13 chance that you will see an Ace. There is also a 1 in 4 chance that the dealt card will be a Heart, but only a 1 in 52 probability that the dealt card will be the Ace of Hearts.

If the entire 52-card deck is reshuffled for another round, then the odds remain the same.

But… if the Ace of Hearts remains face-up and another card is set to be dealt to place alongside the first card, then the poker odd calculator process is different.

This is because there are now only 51 cards in the entire “pool” of remaining cards. There are 13 Spades, 13 Clubs, 13 Diamonds, but only 12 Hearts. And there are four of each numerical value except Aces (there are only three Aces remaining in the deck).

The chances that the next card will be a Heart (12 in 51) are slightly less than a Spade (13 in 51), Club (13 in 51), or Diamond (13 in 51) appearing.

Summary: The Best Poker Hands Ranked

Poker hand rankings are an important part of any poker game, and are part of the rules that should be openly posted, consulted, and learned by all players.

The more poker hands you play, the higher the chances of eventually making one of the rarest hands in poker are.

Play the game of poker for fun and increase your knowledge in the process to add more depth to your very own poker experience!

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David Huber poker author
Written By.

David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for close to two decades: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as “dhubermex” online, David’s poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.

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