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The best hands in card games in Order from Strongest to Weakest

A player in a card game of poker.

You’ve got two pairs, which means you have two cards of the same rank plus two other cards of another rank. If you have one pair, three of a kind, or four of a kind, well, you already know what those hands are all about! If you don’t know exactly how these poker hands are ranked from strongest to weakest, then look no further. Here are the poker hands in order from strongest to weakest.

1) Royal Flush

The highest-ranking poker hand is also known as a royal flush. It consists of the ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of one suit. A royal flush is both rare and desirable for obvious reasons. It’s estimated that more than half a million hands would have to be played before you even had a chance at getting one.

2) Straight Flush

It’s like a royal flush, except that all five cards are of different suits. No pairs allowed. Royal Flush: Straight flush where all five cards are also of the same suit. Fours and Twos do not count in a royal flush and Three and Fives still can (e.g., 3-4-5-6-7). An ace is considered low when used as part of a straight or straight flush, but high when used with two pairs, three of a kind of ranking, or four of a kind (see below). Four Cards to a Royal Flush: Four cards that rank consecutively in any order from what is called a four-card royal or simply four of a kind—no wild cards allowed here.

3) Four of a Kind

A hand of five cards of matching rank. So, for example, two 5’s with three 2’s would be a flush (because there are five cards). One pair: A hand of two cards of matching rank. A four and a queen would be one pair. Three-of-a-kind: A hand containing three cards that match each other but not another card in your hand. For example, if you’re holding two jacks and one 4, then you have three-of-a-kind because there are no pairs or flushes on board yet. Two pairs: As above, except you have two sets of matching ranks with at least one other card onboard.

4) Full House

Any hand where all five cards are of one suit. Flushes are ranked according to the highest card. If two hands are equal, then you compare their second-highest cards, and so on down until one hand ranks higher than another. For example, if you hold 2♠ 3♠ 5♠ 6♠ 9♦, you have a flush with spades being highest but if your opponent holds A♥ Q♥ K♥ J♥ 7♦, she has a royal flush because diamonds are highest. So far so good?

5) Flush

Three cards of an equal suit, but not in sequence. A suited flush is one that matches your suit exactly. For example, hearts are red and spades are black, so a flush with both hearts and spades is considered a suited flush. The highest card determines which kind of flush it is: an ace-high flush beats a king-high flush beats a queen-high flush, which beats a jack-high. A high straight (Ace high) counts as ace-king/queen/jack rather than ace-high. The highest kind of non-suited straight wins: sixes over fives over fours over threes over twos.

6) Straight

In a straight, each card in your hand is consecutive and you have no cards between any of them. For example, a hand of A-2-3-4-5 is straight. In poker rankings, a straight beats three of a kind or a flush, but not four of a kind. It loses to every other possible combination of cards. Straight flushes are quite rare – they can only be either open (where all 5 cards are sequential) or closed (where there is one non-consecutive card). In poker rankings, open straight flush ranks above two pair poker rank but below trips and sets. A closed straight flush always outranks sets since it contains at least one non-consecutive card.