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Poker Hand Ranking from Best to Worst


A hand in poker consists of 5 cards, including a number of 'core' cards which determine the rank of a hand. Also, if there are less than 5 core cards, a number of side cards often called kickers are added to bring the total number of cards to 5.
For example, in a Three of a Kind hand J-J-J-Q-8, the 3 jokeys are the core cards while Q and 8 are kickers.
In the table below the cards which determine the rank of a hand are marked by a frame, the rest of the cards are kickers.

Royal Flush
 
Ace of Spades King of Spades Queen of Spades Jokey of Spades Ten of Spades
A sequence of five cards of the same suit from ace to ten.
Straight Flush
 
Queen of Clubs Jokey of Clubs Ten of Clubs Nine of Clubs Eight of Clubs
Any sequence of five cards of the same suit.
Four of a Kind
 
Ten of Hearts Ten of Clubs Ten of Spades Ten of Diamonds Queen of Spades
Any four cards of the same rank.
Full House
 
King of Diamonds King of Spades King of Clubs Eight of Hearts Eight of Spades
Any three cards of the same rank combined with any two cards of the same rank.
Flush
 
King of Hearts Queen of Hearts Ten of Hearts Nine of Hearts Six of Hearts
Any five non-consecutive cards of the same suit.
Straight
 
King of Clubs Queen of Hearts Jokey of Diamonds Ten of Diamonds Nine of Spades
Any five consecutive cards which are not of the same suit.
Three of a Kind
 
Seven of Spades Seven of Diamonds Seven of Clubs Queen of Hearts Nine of Clubs
Any three cards of the same rank.
Two Pair
 
Ten of Diamonds Ten of Spades Four of Clubs Four of Hearts King of Spades
A pair of cards of the same rank combined with another pair of cards of the same rank.
One Pair
 
Ten of Diamonds Ten of Spades Queen of Hearts Seven of Spades King of Diamonds
Any two cards of the same rank.
High Card Ace of Diamonds Ten of Spades Queen of Hearts Seven of Spades King of Diamonds Any other hand.

Please note, that in variants of poker where a player has more than 5 cards available to form a poker hand, the remaining cards don't affect the ranking. Ranks of poker hands are always based on five cards only, and if these cards are equal then the hands are equal and their owners split the pot.

It's easy to determine the winner when only one player at the table has a hand with the highest rank. If this is not the case, the general rule is: first compare the core cards, then, if necessary, the kickers.
For example, if 2 players have a Three of a Kind hands Q-Q-Q-8-6 and J-J-J-Q-8, the first hand wins as the rank of it's core cards is Q which is higher than rank of the second hands core cards J. If the hands were Q-Q-Q-J-6 and Q-Q-Q-J-8, than the second hand wins: its last kicker 8 beats the first hands kicker 6.

Below is a more comprehensive set of rules:

- Straight Flush: a hand whith the card of the highest rank wins.

- One Pair, Three of a Kind, Four of a Kind: compare the ranks of 2 cards forming a pair, 3 cards forming three of a kind or or 4 cards froming four of a kind between hands: the hand with the higher rank wins. If ranks are the same, use the same method as in High Card to compare the remaining cards.

- Full House: the hand with highest rank of 3 cards wins, if these are equal, the hand with highest rank of 2 cards wins.

- High Card and Flush: sort the cards in each compared hand descending by rank, then compare the sorted cards one by one between the hands. The hand which has a card with the highest rank wins.

- Straight: take the card with the highest rank from each compared hand, the hand with a card of highest rank wins.

- Two of a Kind: compare the pairs with the higher rank between hands, if their rank is the same then compare the pairs with the lower rank. If their rank is also the same, than compare the ranks of the kickers.

If it's still impossible to determine the winning hand using the methods above, then the compared hands are equally strong and their owners split the pot.