All Hands from highest to lowest & Top 10 Texas Holdem hands
What are good poker hands to play and how are they ranked? To answer these questions, we have put up our poker hand rankings table for you to find out all poker hands ranked from the best to the worst. Understanding the strength of poker hands and how they rank against each other is one of the most important parts of the basics you should learn about poker. This holds true whether you’re trying out the game for the first time at online poker sites, at a live casino or a home game. Don’t be worried about having to memorize complex math or probabilities at this point though. While poker is a skill game where luck plays a significant factor, getting a basic understanding of poker hands is quite easy!
In most common poker games and variants, including the popular No-Limit Texas Holdem and Pot-Limit Omaha Hi, all poker hands are made up of 5 cards. On top of the complete hand rankings listed in our table below, you can find also a printable hand rankings list in PDF format as well as a chart of Top 10 Texas Holdem starting hands to help you understand what the strongest starting hands are. The last section covers some of the most frequently asked questions about poker hands to give you a jump-start with playing poker and winning chips at the table!
Poker hands ranked from highest to lowest:
1. Royal flush
A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10♥
The best and the rarest hand you can make in poker is a royal flush, consisting of broadway cards of the same suit – A, K, Q, J, 10, all the same suit. The 4 different suits in poker are ranked equally. You can consider yourself incredibly lucky if you get this hand in poker!
2. Straight flush
8♣ 7♣ 6♣ 5♣ 4♣
Five cards in a sequence, all in the same suit. Any straight with all cards in the same suit is a straight flush, but this hand is also very rare. Our example hand of a straight flush is the winning hand held by Mr. Bond in Casino Royale (2006), 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of spades.
3. Four of a kind
Q♥ Q♦ Q♠ Q♣ 9♦
The third best hand possible in poker, four cards of the same rank with a side card. Also known as quads. If both you and your opponent share the same Four of a Kind on the board, the player who has the higher side card has the winning hand.
4. Full house
J♥ J♦ J♠ 7♣ 7♦
Three of a kind with a pair. Also known as a boat. If two or more players have a Full House, the player with the highest 3 cards of the same rank has the winning hand.
Q♠ T♠ 7♠ 4♠ 2♠
A hand with all cards of the same suit. Our example hand is a Queen High Flush.
8♣ 7♦ 6♠ 5♦ 4♥
Any five cards in a sequence that are not all the same suit. The lowest straight in poker, from Ace to Five, is known as a wheel. Any Ace can count as either a high or a low card in forming a straight.
7. Three of a Kind
5♣ 5♦ 5♠ Q♣ 8♦
Three cards of the same rank with two side cards of any value. Also known as trips. Using both of your hole cards for three of a kind is called a set in Texas Holdem, and it is of equal absolute hand strength as any three of a kind. With our example hand, your hand would be a set if you whole cards are a pair of fives and one of the community cards is a five.
8. Two pair
9♣ 9♠ 5♣ 5♦ J♣
Two different pairs with one side card. The higher pair of the two determines the rank of the Two Pair in case two or more players hold Two Pair.
9. One Pair
K♥ K♦ 9♣ 4♠ 2♥
A very common poker hand, consisting of two cards of the same value and 3 other cards. The best possible One Pair hand is a Pair of Aces. Our example shows a hand with the second best one pair hand, a Pair of Kings.
10. High Card
A♦ J♣ 8♠ 5♥ 3♠
In case you cannot form any of the hands above, the highest card available plays. In our example, the hand is called Ace High, according to the highest card which is the ace of diamonds.
Need a copy for next time you play poker? Just download and print our
Kickers in poker hand rankings
As you might have noticed, many of the hands that can be formed in the common poker variants like Texas Holdem include side cards or kickers. In case 2 or more players have the same poker hand, such as a pair of aces, their kickers come into play for deciding which player will win the pot. The higher the kicker you have, the better.
Example in a three-way pot in Texas Holdem
Player 1 hole cards: A♥ K♥
Player 2 hole cards: A♣ T♣
Player 3 hole cards: A♠ 7♥
The board: A♦ Q♥ 2♠ 4♣ 6♥
In this case, all 3 players have one pair, a pair of Aces to be exact, but their final poker hands have different kickers: Player 1 has a pair of Aces with a King kicker, also known as top-top for top pair with top kicker. Player 2 and 3 have the same kicker, Queen, since that’s the highest kicker card available to them, and in this case the next best kicker is used to define their relative ranking. Therefore player 2 has a pair of Aces with Queen kicker and Ten as the second kicker and Player 3 has a pair of Aces with Queen kicker with Seven as the second kicker, meaning Player 2 has Player 3 beat and Player 1 has both players 2 and 3 beat. This means that Player 1 wins the pot if the hand goes to showdown.
Evaluating the Strength of Starting Hands
If we had to name a single area of poker that has the greatest impact on your edge at the poker table, it would be the proper selection of starting hands. Choosing proper starting hands is simply too important to neglect if you want to win at poker, and almost all great players base their edge on a solid preflop game. It forms the basis for all poker variants, and is especially important in games played with community cards, such as No-Limit Texas Holdem and Pot-Limit Omaha Hi. If you want to learn more about hand selection in PLO, you can read our guide to Pot-Limit Omaha starting hands.
In case of Holdem, there are a total of 169 starting hands consisting of 13 pocket pairs, 78 suited hands and 78 unsuited hands. Although there are 3 further cards community cards that might be seen on the flop and possibly 2 more cards on the turn and river, your starting hand does play a major role in determining our odds of winning the hand in showdown.
Let’s dive deeper into possibilities of hole cards you might be dealt when playing. Starting hands in Texas Holdem can be divided into following categories:
Pocket pairs will be dealt to you about 6% of the time when you play a hand of poker. Pocket pairs look great, and the bigger they are, the better. As the name implies, hands from 22 to AA go into this category. They can be further divided into premiums also known as monsters (AA, KK and QQ), high pairs (JJ and TT), middle pairs (99-66) and small pairs also known as baby pairs (55-22).
Broadway in poker means a card that can form the highest straight in poker, meaning cards with rank of Ten or higher. A Broadway starting hand is any hand with two of these, for example KQ or QJ.
Connectors are hands with potential to make straights, for example JT or 65. Suited connectors are connected cards with the same suit, meaning they have potential for both straights and flushes.
Simply two cards with the same suit. Suited cards with an Ace are favoured by many players, since they often get a decent flop to continue to later streets and if you happen to make the flush, you’ll have the best flush unless the board is paired or possibility for a straight flush is out there.
Two cards that have a gap between them, such as 86 or J9. Gappers can also form straights and once they do, the straight might not be so obvious to see on the board for other players. Suited gappers are obviously better than offsuit gappers, since they have more potential for flushes.
Now that we know how to categorize the different starting hands, how do we choose which ones we play? To make optimal decisions, many factors have to be taken into account. The topic of which hands to enter the pot with would be way too large to cover here – there are multiple charts on which hands to play for each position, stack depth, the actions other players have taken before you and other factors that need to be considered.
Instead, a few rough rules of thumb can be used as a general guideline:
Big pocket pairs should be played from all positions
You can expect to win at showdown relatively often with these hands without improving into a set or a better hand.
Big broadway cards are playable from most positions
Hands such as AK, AQ and KQ often make top pair with a good kicker, and against one opponent you chances to win the pot in showdown are quite good.
Big suited hands and pocket pairs are playable from most positions
Suited Aces like A5s, ATs, pocket pairs like 99-22 and suited connectors like QJs can make a lot of strong hands after the flop. Smaller pocket pairs are sort of binary hands which makes them easy to play after the flop, as you will either make a set on the flop and keep building the pot, or not improve facing many overcards (then you have an easy fold!). With big suited hands you can flop Flush draws and make Flushes.
Other hands that look somewhat good, such as T9o, Q9o, 58s are usually not playable
If you’re just starting out with poker, it might be better not to play with these hands at all (unless you’re in the big blind and nobody has raised before you). Playing these hands can lead to tricky spots where it’s hard to figure out where you stand in the hand.
Other hands that look like trash, should be thrown away almost always
Trash hands like 95o, T2s, 84o need to improve significantly to win at showdown, and you don’t want to rely just on making a miracle after the flop. The safest route is to throw away these hands.
If you follow these rules of thumb, you’re on your way to play sound poker!
Top 10 Starting hands for No-Limit Texas Holdem
Understanding relative hand strength of starting hands is a very good skill to learn when you first start playing poker. Here we have gathered for you the Top 10 starting hands you can be dealt in Texas Holdem, ranked according to their raw all-in equity or their percentages of winning in showdown.
As you will see from our list, big pairs tend to win the most often and bigger unpaired cards are better than lower unpaired cards. The same is also true for suited unpaired hands being better than unpaired hands that have two different suits. The Top 10 starting hands will be your so-called headliners in No Limit Holdem, no matter what stakes you play.
1. Pocket Aces (A♠ A♥)
The strongest starting hand in Holdem. Also known as the bullets or rockets, Aces are a 4:1 favourite over pretty much any other hand.
2. Pocket Kings (K♦ K♣)
The second best starting hand in Holdem. Also known as the cowboys, Kings are an absolute monster hand preflop with only better hand being Aces.
3. Pocket Queens (Q♠ Q♣)
Extremely strong hand that dominates many Broadway hands and other pocket pairs. Also knowns as the ladies.
4. Pocket Jacks (J♠ J♥)
Pocket Jacks have a lot of hands crushed preflop, but might quickly become tricky to play once there are 1 or more overcards on the flop. Also known as the hooks.
5. Ace-King Suited (A♠ K♠)
A very nice drawing hand with potential to make big pairs, straights and flushes. Also known as the big slick or Anna Kournikova.
6. Pocket Tens (T♠ T♥)
Tens is an underdog to the monsters such as AA and QQ and a coinflip against Ace-King suited and big suited Broadways, but still a powerhouse that has a lot of equity against the majority of other starting hands.
7. Ace-King Offsuit (A♦ K♣)
The offsuit version of the big slick has a little less flush potential, but is still among the top hands you’re looking to play preflop.
8. Ace-Queen Suited (A♦ Q♦)
Strong drawing hand, also known as little slick.
9. Pocket Nines (9♠ 9♥)
Pocket Nines is a somewhat strong hand and tends to do well, especially in heads-up situations. With many players seeing the flop, the chances of being outdrawn with Nines are high.
10. Ace-Jack Suited (A♣ J♣)
Ace-Jack Suited performs quite well against a random hand, but you should be cautious when there’s a lot of action preflop since many hands can dominate this one.
Need a copy for next time you play poker? Just download and print our
Poker Hand Rankings FAQ
How many poker hands are there?
In Holdem there are 1326 possible combinations of starting hands, and once we take into account that there are multiple combinations of hands with same preflop value such as Q♠ J♠ and Q♥ J♥, the actual number is 169 different starting hands.
What are good poker hands to play?
There are many good hands you want to play depending on your position and other factors, but you should be folding most of your starting hands – especially those that look like trash, for example 83 offsuit and 94 offsuit. Check out our Top 10 Starting Hands for No Limit Texas Holdem covering the strongest starting hands, as they will form the majority of your winnings.
Which suit is the best in poker?
All the suits are simply of the same value in poker, and none is better than the other. If two or more players have the same poker hand at showdown but in different suits, they simply split the pot.
Not sure what beats what in poker?
High card such as Ace high is beaten by one pair, which is beaten by Two Pair. Three of a kind beats Two Pair, and Straights beats Three of a Kind. Straight is beaten by a Flush, which loses to Full House. Full House can be beaten by Four of a Kind, which in turn can be beaten by a Straight Flush. Finally, as you can guess by now, Straight Flush is beaten by the Royal Flush.
Flush vs Straight – who wins?
Flush beats a straight. Getting a flush is harder than getting a straight in terms of probabilities, which is why a flush is considered the higher ranked hand.
Both players have Two Pair – who wins?
The player with the better higher pair has the winning hand, when two or more players have Two Pair. In case players share the higher pair, the better lower pair determines the winner, and if they have the exact same two pair, the player with the higher kicker wins.
What about three pair, how does that rank?
Three pair is simply not a poker hand, since you would need 6 cards to form three pair and poker hands consist of only 5 cards. Consider the following example: You have JT and the board runs out K-K-J-T-2. In this case your hand is not three pair, but two pair: Kings and Jacks with Ten as a kicker.
Full House vs Full House, who wins?
The player with the highest three of a kind wins. Example: You have KK and your opponent has A5, and the board is K-A-5-5-7. Both of you have a Full House, but since your hand is Kings full of Fives and your opponent has Fives full of Aces, you have the best three of kind and hence the winning hand.
Straight vs straight, who wins?
The player with the highest straight wins. Consider this example: You are in a 3-way pot on the river with the board reading Q-J-T-5-4. You have AK, player 2 has K9 and player 3 has 89. Everyone has a straight, but you have the winning hand since your straight is the highest.
Johannes is the Editor in Chief at Beasts Of Poker and is an expert in both live & online poker. Johannes played online poker semi-professionally for 5 years while completing his Master’s Degree in Technology.