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The winner of a hold'em poker game's is the player who holds the best hand at the end of all betting rounds, provided there are still at least two players left in the pot. Alternatively, all players except one will discard their hand (fold), and then the remaining player takes the money in the pot by default, regardless of hand strength.
When the hand is complete, all remaining players reveal their cards to the table. In texas hold'em, the cards held by players may be matched with community cards, but always form the same five-card hands which will then be compared by rank. The holder of the highest ranking hand is declared the winner.
List of Poker Hand Rankings
These are all the traditional poker hands, played with a standard 52-card deck with no Jokers or wild cards. They are listed in strength from weakest to strongest. Each subsequent hand will beat the previous examples above.
High Card - If no other hands can be made, the player with the highest ranking card wins. In this example the King is the highest card hand in possession. If your opponent holds an Ace, they have the highest card. A pair or any of the hand examples below will beat a high card.
Pair - Two of the same card in different suits. In this example, the pair of Queens are the highest cards in possession. For an opponent to beat your pair, they must possess a pair of kings or higher; or hold any of the hands shown below this example.
Two pair - Two pairs of cards. In this example we have a pair of Jacks (J-J) and Fours (4-4), if your opponent holds (10-10, 9-9), your (J-J, 4-4) is still higher. Should your opponent also have J-J and 4-4, then the single card "Ace" will be the decider as highest card. Two Pair will beat all of the above examples and will loose to the examples below.
Three-of-a-kind - Three cards of the same rank, eg. three Kings, or three Fives etc. Also known as a set. 3 of a Kind will beat any 2 pairs and all hands above this example and vice versa for hands below.
Straight - Five cards of sequential ranks (consecutive) with mixed suites (any combinations of hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades). For example, (7h-8s-9s-10c-Jh), or (5d-3h-As-2c-4s). Note that the cards do not need to fall in the exact order like (7-8-9-10-J), but can fall (9-7-J-8-10) and in any mixed suit. Naturally (8-9-10-J-Q) straight will beat this example hand. (Ad-2h-3s-4c-5c) is the lowest possible straight and (10h-Jd-Qc-Ks-Ac) is the highest possible straight.
Flush - Five cards in any order (non-consecutive), all of the same suit. For example, (J-2-9-K-6), all Clubs. (A-3-7-10-4) all Clubs will beat the example hand because Ace is the higher card in this flush
Full House - A full house is a mix of three of a kind, with a pair, for example 8-8-8 and Q-Q make up a full house. (10-3-10-10-3) is a larger full house. A full house will beat all of the example hands shown above but is still weaker than all the later example hands below.
Four-of-a-kind - Four cards of the same rank. For example, (K-6-K-K-K). (10-10-10-10-A) is a smaller 4 of a kind than this example. (2-2-2-2-3) is the smallest four of a kind hand, but will beat all of the previous poker hand examples above.
Straight Flush - Five cards all of the same suit in a consecutive rank. This is a combination of a flush (all same suites) and a straight (consecutively ordered cards) For example, 7-8-9-10-J, all Diamonds. A-2-3-4-5 (suited) is the lowest straight flush as Ace takes on the role of being One. (10-J-Q-K-A suited) is the highest possible straight flush and is termed the Royal Flush, pokers holy grail, see below.
Royal Flush - An unbeatable hand. Five cards must be 10-J-Q-K-A, all of the same suit. It is theoretically possible for two players to hold this hand in a poker game without community cards (such as 7-card Stud or 5-card Draw), but it is very unlikely. In Texas Hold'em, there can only ever be one Royal Flush possible. If you hold a Royal Flush, you are a guaranteed winner!
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These hands comprise the traditional list, although some poker games use different strengths, including lowball variations. You can certainly get by with understanding these basic hands, but always be sure to brush up on the specifics of the particular poker game you are about to play.
In reference to poker hands, Texas Hold'em is the most popular online poker game because it uses these simple poker hands with no complications, and allows players to interact with each other over a board of community cards. It's a fun, social poker game both live and online, while using the traditional poker hands everyone loves to play with.