Everything You Want and Need to Know About Poker Hands

There are so many different games of poker and the hands that will win in those respective games may differ from one another substantially.

Omaha Hi/Low Poker Hands

An example is in the game of Omaha Hi/Low you not only need to win the highest hand but also need to win the lowest possible hand to “scoop” or win the entire and it many cases the pot will actually be split between 2 players if one has the high hand and the other has the low hand.

For purposes of explaining how and what the best hands in poker are we will concentrate on what is commonly referred to as the “Cadillac of Poker” and the game that is most often viewed on television and that is the game of Texas Hold Em.

Texas Hold Em Poker Hands

In Texas Hold Em the object of the game is to make the best 5 card hand using the two cards you are dealt face down and the 5 community cards that are dealt face up in front of all the players.

You and the other players are able to use one, both or none of your “hole” cards, the two dealt face down to you, to make the best hand and often the best poker hand will be comprised of the 5 community cards and in that case the players still in the hand at the end will split the pot.

Poker Hand Rankings

Poker hands are ranked by their strength, but that strength can change rapidly and dramatically depending on what cards are dealt into the community cards.

For example, if you have 2 Aces (the best starting hand in poker!) before the 1st three cards are dealt into the middle face up then you have a very, very strong starting hand and will want to get as much of your opponent’s money into the pot as quickly as possible.

If, however the “Flop” or the 1st three community cards are 7,8,9 with two hearts say, then your aces may not be the best hand any longer. Any player holding 10-J would have you beat with a straight and if there was a player holding two hearts in their hand they would only need to see one heart on the “turn” or “river” (the common names for the last two cards to be dealt) to make a flush.

The ranking for hands is straightforward.

A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, and so on are what are called “pairs”.

3 cards of any denomination, &, 7, 7, 7 or J, J, J are obviously 3 of a kind.

You can also use the suits of the cards to make “flushes” which denote 5 cards of the same suit and are very powerful hands indeed. The card value can often come into play with a flush as well with the player holding the highest value card, say an Ace or King beating the flush of a player who holds something lower like a 10 or Jack.

Combinations

Cards can also been combined numerically to make running straights such as 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or even A, K, Q, J, 10 (if you have this combination and the cards are also all of the same suit you will then be holding a Royal Flush which is the “nuts” or the very best hand possible in poker!)

Running straights of the lower denomination can also be combined with a flush to make Straight Flushes which are also very powerful.

Another excellent hand to make is a Full House or Full Boat which it is sometimes called, which is made by combining a pair with 3 of a kind.