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Understanding poker hand rankings

by ReadyBetGo Editor

Poker is one of the coolest card games to play – but it can be intimidating for beginners.

There’s no fun in sitting down to play a hand against a bunch of seasoned players without anyReadyBetGo EditorThere are occasions when we here at ReadyBetGo want to bring you interesting facts about the gambling industry  When something catches our eye, we will publish it for your enjoyment. 
  knowledge, skill or experience.

Whether you’re venturing into a top UK poker site for a relaxed game at home or settling in for a serious session at a Las Vegas casino, it’s the features of the game of poker itself that make it a bit of a challenge.


Poker has many variations, each with its own rules and strategies. Understanding the different hands, betting rounds, and community cards can be overwhelming for someone new to the game.


Poker involves reading opponents, bluffing, and making decisions with incomplete information. The psychological element can be intimidating for those not accustomed to strategic thinking and reading people.

Money Management

Poker often involves real money, and the prospect of losing money can be intimidating. Beginners feel anxious about making wrong decisions.

Experienced Players

Beginners may feel outmatched and worry about making foolish mistakes in front of more seasoned opponents.

Is it worth it?

Of course! Poker is an exciting and rewarding game to learn. Here are some simple tips to make it less of a challenge:

  • Begin with simpler poker variations, such as Texas Hold'em, before progressing to more complex games like Omaha or Seven-Card Stud.
  • Focus on understanding the basic rules and common strategies before delving into advanced concepts.
  • Play with friends or in low-stakes games where the emphasis is on learning and having fun rather than winning money.
  • Take time to study poker strategy through books, videos, and online. Practice regularly.
  • If playing for real money, set limits on how much you're willing to spend. This reduces the fear of losing too much money.
  • Look for games designed for beginners. Many online platforms offer beginner tables with lower stakes.

Learn the hand rankings

The single most important thing for beginners is to learn the poker hand rankings. These are the measure of strength of the hand you hold.

Here are the poker hand rankings from strongest to weakest:

Royal Flush

A, K, Q, J, 10, all of the same suit. This is the highest possible hand and consists of the highest-ranking cards in a straight flush.

Straight Flush

Five consecutive cards of the same suit. For example, 8, 9, 10, J, Q of hearts.

Four of a Kind

Four cards of the same rank. For example, four Kings.

Full House

Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. For example, three 8s and two 4s.


Five cards of the same suit, not in sequence. For example, 2, 5, 7, 9, K of diamonds.


Five consecutive cards of different suits. For example, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same rank. For example, three Jacks.

Two Pairs

Two sets of pairs, each of the same rank. For example, two 9s and two 5s.

One Pair

Two cards of the same rank. For example, two Queens.

High Card

If no one has any of the above, the winner is the one with the highest single card. For example, if no player has a pair or better, the winner is the one with the highest card in their hand.

Always in the case of ties in poker, the player with the highest-ranking cards wins. If there's still a tie, the next highest cards are compared.

Why learn poker rankings?

Understanding hand rankings helps players make informed decisions. It lets them assess the strength of their hand – then make strategic choices about betting, raising, or folding.

It is also crucial when it comes to bluffing and reading opponents.

Hand strength influences how much a player should bet. Players with stronger hands may want to bet more aggressively, those with weaker hands might opt for more conservative bets.

Knowledge of hand rankings guides players in selecting which hands to play at the beginning of a round. Players should be inclined to play strong starting hands and fold weaker ones.

This understanding is crucial for calculating odds during the game. Players need to assess the probability of improving their hand (drawing to a flush or straight, for example) and decide whether it's worth continuing to invest in the hand.

Players who are aware of the power of various hands can develop more effective strategies. This includes adjusting play based on their position at the table and the playing styles of opponents.

Beginners often fail because they misjudge the strength of hands or don’t recognizing potential winning combinations.

Yes, beginners may initially find it challenging to memorize all the hand rankings.

However, this knowledge soon becomes second nature through practice. And best of all, poker then becomes much more fun.

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