What is a Poker Hand?
In poker, and other card games, a “hand” refers to the cards held by a player at any point in the game. A poker hand has 5 cards or more, depending on the poker variant. In case there are more than 5 cards, the best 5 cards make up the final hand.
Now each hand has a “ranking” that determines the winners – so you have high-ranking hands and low-ranking hands.
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How Many Poker Hand Combinations Are There?
There are several answers to ‘how many poker hand combinations’, and here are some of them.
Before we jump into those answers, remember that there are 52 cards in a deck, and each suit has 13 cards.
Now, brace yourselves, because we’re getting into numbers – just a little.
- There can be 2,598,960 possible 5-card hand combinations
- As far as hole cards are concerned, there can be 1326 combinations
- There can be 169 starting hands (suited, off-suited, pocket pairs)
|In Blackjack, there’s card counting, and in Poker there’s ‘hand reading’.|
|While the art of bluffing gets more limelight, ‘hand reading’ is an underrated skill. In fact, most pro poker players will be adept at hand reading because this helps the pros measure an opponent’s range. It’s also called ‘combinatorics’ – the math of figuring out how many different combinations of a hand are there at a point in game.|
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The Full Poker Hierarchy
We can make Poker a lot easier with a chart, so our design team came up with a useful infographic.
You can see the strongest hand as well as the weakest, along with other combinations –
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What is All the Poker Hand Ranking?
Now that you have a general idea of poker hands and how they rank, it’s time to dig into some details.
Here’s a rundown of the 10 poker hands:
1- Royal Flush
Also known as the “royal straight flush”, this is the best hand a player can possibly get in poker. This combination is possible only in poker games that count Ace as a high value card and there are no wild cards.
Example – A♥️ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10♥
2- Straight Flush
Just like the royal flush, the straight flush happens once in a blue moon. A straight flush hand has five cards of the same suit lined up in order.
Example – 5♠️ 6♠️ 7♠️ 8♠️ 9♠️
3- Four of a kind
Just like the name suggests, this one is based on numbers. If you have 4 identically numbered cards from each suit, then you’re holding a ‘four-of-a-kind’.
Example – 4♥️ 4♦️ 4♠️ 4♣️
4- Full House
Also known as a “full boat”, this hand has three-of-a-kind and a pair. A higher-ranking full house will beat a lower-ranking full house (as is the case with all ranking combinations).
Example – J♥️ J♦️ J♠️ A♦️ A♣️
Also known as ‘colour’, flush is a hand where all the cards belong to the same suit.
Example – Q♣️ J♣️ 8♣️ 7♣️ 2♣️
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A straight is based on numbers – to form a straight, you need 5 cards in sequential order from different suits. ‘The wheel’ (A,2,3,4,5) is the worst straight, meanwhile 10,J,Q,K,A, is the best kind of straight.
Example – 10♦️ J♠️ Q♦️ K♣️ A♦️
Now, don’t get ‘three-of-a-kind’ mixed up with ‘full house’ – there’s a difference. If you have three cards of the same digit and two cards that are NOT PAIRS – it’s a three-of-a-kind. Meanwhile, if the remaining two cards are pairs, it’s a full house.
Example – Q♣️ Q♠️ Q♥️ A♣️ 7♦️
8 – Two Pair
Just like the name suggests, if a hand has two pairs (that is, two pairs of the same number from different suits), then it’s a two pair hand.
Example – 5♠️ 5♥️ Q♠️ Q♣️ A♦️
9 – One Pair
It’s simple – a ‘one pair’ hand has one pair in it with three other unpaired cards. In case, there’s a one pair situation at the showdown, the higher pair wins. If it happens that the pairs are equal, then the highest unpaired card wins.
Example – Q♠️ Q♥️ 10♠️ 8♣️ 2♦️
10 – High Card
Also known as the ‘no card’ hand, the high card hand is the most common hand. The cards are from different suits and don’t have a sequential order. At a showdown, two high card hands are compared by the highest card – and the card with the highest value, wins.
Example – J♠️ 9♥️ 6♠️ 4♣️ 2♦️
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Poker is more than a game of cards
Learning poker is fun and easy. However, the rules, along with the poker hand rankings, can be overwhelming. But to master this game, you have to know the hands thoroughly.
A good thing is that you can practice poker for free. Most online casinos would let you play RNG-based poker for free, without even having to sign up.
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