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There are 52 cards in the deck (13 cards in 4 suits) which are ranked from high to low, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. Suit does not count - so for example the king of hearts and the king of spades are equal.

A standard poker hand consists of five cards. The standard rankings are listed below highest to lowest.

In games where a player has more than five cards and selects five to form a poker hand (like Texas HoldEm), the remaining cards do not play any part in the ranking. Poker ranks are always based on five cards only.

1. Royal Flush

This is the highest poker hand. It consists of ace, king, queen, jack, ten, all in the same suit. Since all suits are equal, all royal flushes are equal.

2. Straight Flush

Five cards of the same suit in sequence - such as Q-J-10-9-8. In a tie, rank is determined by the high card in the straight, in this case 'Q'. An ace can be 'low', so 5-4-3-2-A IS a straight flush, but the high card is the '5', not the 'A'. A straight flush cannot 'wrap around', so 3-2-A-K-Q is Not a valid straight flush.

3. Four of a Kind

Four cards of the same rank - such as K-K-K-K. The fifth card is not used in standard poker. In games where it is possible to have 2 fours of a kind of the same rank (such as in games with wild cards), the rank of the remaining fifth card determines the winner.

4. Full House

Three cards of one rank (a triplet) and two cards of another rank (a pair) - such as 9-9-9-J-J. With full houses, the rank of the triplet determines which is higher. For example 10-10-10-5-5 beats 9-9-9-K-K. If the triplets are equal, the rank of the pairs determines the winner.

5. Flush

Five cards of the same suit. When comparing two flushes, the high card determines the winner. If the high cards are equal then the second highest cards are compared; if those are equal too, then the third highest cards, etc.

6. Straight

Five cards of any suit in sequence - such as Q-J-10-9-8. In a tie, rank is determined by the high card in the straight, in this case 'Q'. An ace can be 'low', so 5-4-3-2-A IS a straight, but the high card is the '5', not the 'A'. A straight cannot 'wrap around', so 3-2-A-K-Q is Not a valid straight.

7. Three of a Kind

Three cards of one rank (a triplet) plus two other cards. With 3 of a Kind, the rank of the triplet determines the winner. For example 7-7-7-5-J beats 5-5-5-K-Q. If the triplets are equal, the high card of the remaining 2 cards determines the winner. If the high cards are equal then the second highest cards are compared.

8. Two Pairs

A pair is 2 cards of equal rank. In a hand with two pairs, the pairs must be of different ranks (otherwise you would have four of a kind), plus one odd card. With two pair, the hand with the highest pair wins, so Q-Q-3-3-4 beats 10-10-6-6-8 because the queens beat the tens. If the higher pairs are equal, the lower pairs are compared, and if both pairs are the same, the odd cards are compared.

9. Pair

Two cards of equal rank and three other cards. With pairs, the hand with the highest pair determines the winner - so for example 8-8-4-3-2 beats 7-7-A-K-Q. If the pairs are equal, the high card of the remaining 3 cards determines the winner. If the high cards are equal then the second highest cards are compared; if those are equal too, then the third highest cards.

10. High Card

Five cards which do not form any of the combinations listed above. Here the high card determines the winner. If the high cards are equal then the second highest cards are compared; if those are equal too, then the third highest cards, etc.

Poker Hand Ranking with Wild Cards

A wild card is a specific card, which can be used as a substitute for any card the holder wishes, including a card the holder already has. Several cards may be designated as wild - for example all the twos, or one-eyed jacks.

The hand ranking is the same as described above, except that it is now possible to have five of a kind, in which of course at least one will be represented by a wild card. Five of a kind is the highest combination, beating a Royal Flush.



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