# Poker Basics

You can win a hand of poker two ways: You therefore need to know the ranking of poker hands, ie, what beats what. A poker hand must consist of five cards, and it does not matter how many of your hole cards you use. Sometimes you will use both, sometimes only one and on some occasions none of your hole cards will be used. It is impossible to beat this hand with any hole cards. All the suits in poker are of equal value. It makes no difference whether someone has the ace of clubs or the ace of diamonds.

If remaining players have exactly the same hand at showdown, only in different suits, the pot is split. The value of poker hands is determined by how rare or common it is to be dealt them, with the most common hands valued lower than the rarer hands.

The complete list of poker hands is as follows, in increasing order of scarcity:. The hand above, in which the best card is an ace and there is no other combination of poker hand, is known as "ace high". Ace high beats king high. King high beats queen high, and so on. If these cards are also the same, the third-highest card plays and so on.

These cards are known as the kicker. Player 1 has Player 2 has The board is. Both players have an ace, but Player 1 wins, because he has a king as his second highest card kicker. His opponent only has a queen. If you can form a hand containing two cards of the same value, you have a pair. The hand above contains a pair of aces, with a king kicker. A pair of aces beats any other hand containing only a pair in NLHE aces are high in poker. The king would be decisive if an opponent also had a pair of aces.

If you have two different pairs in your hand, then you have "two pair". In the hand above, you have two pair, kings and queens. The ranking of the cards is important. Two pair, kings and queens, beats queens and jacks, for example. Two pair, aces and threes, beats two pair, kings and queens.

Three cards of the same rank is known as "three of a kind" - sometimes known as "trips" or "a set", depending on the precise formation of the hand. Trips is when there is already a pair on the board and one of your hole cards is of the same rank. A set is preferable to trips, because with trips you have the problem that one of your opponents may have the same three of a kind, but with a better kicker or even as a full house. A straight consists of five consecutive cards of different suits.

The hand above is a "king high straight" as the highest card is a king. If two players have a straight, then the highest card wins. A flush consists of five non-consecutive cards of the same suit. The "nut flush" is the name given to the highest possible flush, typically ace high.

If two players have a Flush, the player with the highest card wins. If both players have the same high card, the second-highest card wins, etc. A full house consists of three of a kind plus a pair. The hand above is called "aces full of sevens" because the player has three aces and two sevens. Four of a kind, also known as quads, consists of four cards of the same rank and one card of another rank.

If two players have four of a kind, which is very rare, then the four of a kind with the highest card rank wins. If two players have the same four of a kind, then the kicker card is decisive. A straight flush is five consecutive cards of the same suit. If two players have a straight flush then the highest card wins. The highest possible straight flush, and the best hand in poker, is an ace high straight flush, also known as a A royal flush consists of a straight from ten to the ace with all five cards of the same suit.

A royal flush is exceptionally rare and is therefore the most coveted hand in poker. If two or more players reach showdown with a hand that is of equal value, then the pot is split and each remaining player gets the same amount.

It is a split pot. The pot would also be split in the following example: Both players have the identical straight. When both players start with similar hands, e. As already mentioned in some of the previous examples, a kicker determines who wins a showdown if two players have the same hand.

It is not a key component in building the hand, but it can decide who wins if two players have similar hands. A hand consists of five cards, but only a straight, flush, full house and straight flush use all five cards.

However, with hands where not all of the cards are required to make the hand, such as three of a kind or two pair, the remaining cards can be decisive. Please login to test your knowledge with a short exercise. To celebrate this landmark If you have forgotten your PokerStars School password you can reset it by following these steps here:.

Note that your PokerStars School password must be at least 8 characters long and begin with a number We have placed cookies on your computer to improve your experience on our website. The complete list of poker hands is as follows, in increasing order of scarcity: High card ace, king kicker: Player 1 has Player 2 has The board is Both players have an ace, but Player 1 wins, because he has a king as his second highest card kicker.

One Pair If you can form a hand containing two cards of the same value, you have a pair. Two Pair If you have two different pairs in your hand, then you have "two pair".

Straight A straight consists of five consecutive cards of different suits. Flush A flush consists of five non-consecutive cards of the same suit. Full House A full house consists of three of a kind plus a pair. In poker jargon, a full house is also known as a "boat". Four of a Kind Four of a kind, also known as quads, consists of four cards of the same rank and one card of another rank. Straight Flush A straight flush is five consecutive cards of the same suit.

Royal Flush A royal flush consists of a straight from ten to the ace with all five cards of the same suit. Split Pot If two or more players reach showdown with a hand that is of equal value, then the pot is split and each remaining player gets the same amount. The Kicker As already mentioned in some of the previous examples, a kicker determines who wins a showdown if two players have the same hand.

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