Winning Poker Hands

Winning Poker Hands

Do you like to play poker? If so, you have something in common with the millions of other Americans who have caught “poker fever.” Thanks in large part to the explosive popularity of such big-money televised poker tournaments like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Open, the game of poker is fast becoming a top sport. Texas Hold’Em is the most popular poker variation played, but millions enjoy engaging in games of Omaha, Five-Card Draw, Pai Gow, or other popular variations played at thousands of online casinos.

Of course, all these poker enthusiasts know about the power of a winning poker hand. If you’re new to poker, you might not be familiar with what makes a winning poker hand. There are some poker variations in which winning hands differ from the norm, but for the most part they are the same. Once you learn the ranking order of poker hands, you can play with more confidence when you don’t have to refer to a “cheat sheet” to find out if you have the makings of a winning hand!

What makes a winning poker hand? In most game variations, including Texas Hold’Em, the highest possible hand is the coveted Royal Flush. This hand consists of five cards in sequential order from 10 to Ace, all in the same suit (for example, the Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of diamonds). Below the Royal Flush is a Straight Flush, which are any five sequential cards of the same suit (like the 3-4-5-6-7 of clubs). Next in order is the Four of a Kind (four same-value cards, one in each suit); then the Full House (three same-value cards plus a pair, such as three 8’s and two Queens); followed by a Straight (five cards in sequential order of any suit). These are the top five winning poker hands.

There are five other poker hands possible in most variations. In descending order, they are the Flush (five cards of the same suit in any order); Three of a Kind (three same-value cards plus two non-matching cards); Two Pair (for example, two 4’s and two Jacks); One Pair (any two matching cards), and High Card (a hand with no matching cards). In most casino play, the High Card hand does not receive any winnings; however, in the rare instances when a High Card hand beats all other hands in a tournament, it certainly counts. Being familiar with winning poker hands makes for a fun game of poker. Here’s hoping you are dealt a Royal Flush!

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