The Secret Lives of Poker Hands

The Secret Lives of Poker Hands

We all know the pain of sitting at a poker table for the first time, be it in the universe of online casinos or in the flesh, and realising the terms thrown around easily by the rest of the players might as well be a foreign language. So you won't feel left out when you decide to venture into the world of online poker, we have created this comprehensive list of relevant poker hands in ascending order.

High Card:

If your hand does not include two cards of equal rank (a pair), cards in sequence or all cards of the same suit, you have been dealt a high card hand. This is not the best hand to have, but you still have a chance of winning if it comes to a showdown between high card hands. In case of such a showdown the player with the highest cards in his hand wins.

One Pair:

A one pair hand includes two cards of equal rank (King & King 2 & 2 and so on) and three unmatched cards to make up the five card hand. In the case of a showdown between pairs the pair of higher value will defeat the lower pair. If two hands with equal pairs oppose (i.e. two players with 5 & 5 each) the value of the unmatched cards will determine the winner.

Two Pair:

A two pair hand includes two sets of two cards of equal rank (i.e. 4&4 and Jack & Jack). If it comes to a showdown between two pair hands, the winner is determined by ranking the pairs. I.e. 7&7 and 8&8 will beat 7&7 and 6&6. If the two pair hands tie the value of the remaining card - the kicker - determines the winner of the hand.

Three Of A Kind:

A three of a kind hand - 'trips' or 'a set' - includes three cards of equal value and two un-matching cards (i.e. 10, 10, 10, Ace, 2). Three of a kind of higher value defeat three of a kind of lower value (i.e. 3x Kings beat 3x 10). If two players are tied on three of a kind, the value of the two other cards determines the winner (i.e. 3x 10, King, Queen beats 3x10, Queen, Jack).


A straight hand requires all five cards to be in sequential order (i.e. 6,7,8,9,10) without matching in suit (if the cards are in sequence and match in suit you have a straight flush). If two players face of over straight hands, the value of the highest card determines the winner (i.e. a Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8 will beat 9, 8, 7, 6, 5).


A flush hand is made up of five cards in non-sequential order but all of the same suit (five diamonds/ five spades/ etc...). If all five cards were sequential and of the same suit you would have a straight flush. In case two flush hands are facing off the card of the highest value determines the winner.

Full House:

A full house is made up of a pair and three of a kind (i.e. 3x 10, 2x Queen). If two full houses are engaged in a showdown, the hand with the higher ranking three of a kind wins. If both hands have equal three of a kind the value of the pairs determines the winner.

Four Of A Kind:

As you may have guessed, a four of a kind hand requires four cards of equal value and one kicker (i.e. 4x 6, King). This hand, also known as a quad, can only be beaten by a quad of higher value, a straight flush or a royal flush.

Straight Flush:

A straight flush is comprised of five cards in sequence (i.e. 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen) and of the same suit. If two hands of straight flushes are opposing, the value of the highest card determines the winner. If the straight flushes happen to be identical the hands are tied, as suits do not have assigned values which could swing the game either way.

Royal Flush:

The royal flush is the highest possible hand in a game of poker. It has all the characteristics of a straight flush, the cards are sequential and of the same suit, but it also incorporates only the highest cards in the deck. I.e. Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 of the same suit. This hand is simply unbeatable and every poker players dream.