Poker rules are easier than you may think, and there’s no better time to learn how to play poker than now, as this popular American game is played by many people today. The basic rules of poker are the same, and use the same 5-card poker hand ranking chart. There is one obscure poker game, named Badugi Poker, that uses a 4-card hand ranking chart, but the general rules of poker still apply.
Basic Poker Rules
Before you learn how to play poker games, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with basic poker rules, such as how one poker hand ranks against another. Learning the rules of poker hands and how to determine a winner in poker might seem difficult at first, but with a little bit of studying and experience, you’ll know how to play poker without having to think about it.
Table of Contents
Poker Hand Strength
The first thing to understand about poker rules is that each hand has its own strength. This strength is determined by how well the cards in your hand interact with each other. You want hands that create a run, are of the same suit, match each other’s value, and are high in strength. Normal poker rules determine the strength of hands to be the higher value cards in the following order: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, and Two. The suit of each card does not determine any sort of strength in normal poker rules. There may be special poker rules for games where a suit is used to determine who gets to act first, but that is the only reason suit would be used.
Poker Hand Rank Chart
A normal poker hand must contain five cards. There are many games where more than five cards are used, but the winning poker hand is determined by the player who has the strongest five card poker hand. What is the best poker hand? Here is a list of basic poker hands. I’ve organized them from the strongest poker hands to the weakest poker hands: Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, One Pair, and High Card.
Printable Poker Hand Chart
The printable poker hand chart on the right side of this page can be printed and brought with you to the casino and will help you learn how to play poker better. Next time you’re wondering about the basic hand strength poker rules during a game, simply pull this printable poker hand rank chart out of your pocket. If you’d like to print a copy of our poker hand chart, just click the image below and a new page will open. From there, click print in your browser.
Here are basic poker hand ranking images that I’ve just described. Again, these are organized from the strongest hands to the weakest hands.:
Royal Flush – 1 in 649,740.00
A Royal flush is the most powerful hand in poker. The hand involves having all cards being the same suit, as well as the highest possible run, which is Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten. This run is also known at the “Broadway” run. This hand is extremely rare to receive.
Straight Flush – 1 in 72193.33
A straight flush is similar to a royal flush, except a straight flush can be beat by a higher straight flush. A straight flush contains cards of the same suit, which also create a run. However, a straight flush changes its name to a royal flush when its highest card is an Ace.
Four of a Kind – 1 in 4165.00
Four of a kind is exactly what it sounds like, which is four of any card that is the same value. As you see in the example, we have four queens. The fifth card typically doesn’t come into play unless you’re playing a community game and the four queens are part of the community.
Full House – 1 in 694.16
A full house is a combination of three of a kind and a pair. The strength of a full house is determined by the value of the three of a kind that is part of the full house. If both players have the same three of a kind, then the pair determines the winner. For example, if Player A has QQQ88 and Player B has QQQ66, then Player A will win because his pair of 8’s are better than Player B’s pair of 6’s.
Flush – 1 in 508.80
A flush is a hand where all of the cards are of the same suit. Strength of a flush is determined by the highest card in the flush. If two players have flushes that have the same high card, then the next card us used to determine the winner. This goes on until one player has a higher card than the other. For example, If Player A had Q8652 and Player B had Q8653, then player B would win because his 3 is higher than Player A’s 2.
Straight – 1 in 254.80
A straight is also known as a run. A player has a straight when all cards in his cards are in sequential order and at least two suits exist. If only one suit exists, then the hand would be considered a straight flush. The strength of a straight is determined by the highest card. If Player A has 87654 and Player B has QJT98, then Player B has the stronger hand.
Three of a Kind – 1 in 47.32
Three of a kind is exactly how it sounds, three cards of the same value. The strength of this hand is determined by the value of the three of a kind. If both players have the same three of a kind, which is common in community games such as Texas Holdem, then the next highest value card is used to determine the winner.
Two Pair – 1 in 21.03
Two pair is when a player has two sets of two cards that have the same value. The strength of two pair is determined by the top pair first, then the second pair. For example, if Player A has JJTT4, and Player B has KK223, then Player B wins the hand because his top pair is higher than Player A’s. In another example, if Player A has JJTT4 and Player B has JJ994, then Player A wins the hand because their top pairs match, but Player A’s second pair is higher.
One Pair – 1 in 2.36
Having one pair is to have two cards of the same value. Determining the strength of a pair is simple; whoever has the higher value pair wins. If the pair is the same strength, then the next highest card determines the winner.
High Card – 1 in 1.99
Having high card is a weak holding. It’s strength is determined by the single highest value card in the hand. If players have the same top card, then the next card is used to determine the winner, and so forth. Some people think that the odds of getting this are 100%. However, that figure is only correct when considering what your odds of getting high card or better are. In reality, you’ll only get high card once in about every two hands you’re dealt.
Popular Poker Games
Poker players tend to play games in herds, meaning that they all tend to play the same poker games as each other. Players will typically start by learning Texas Holdem Poker rules, then move on to another poker game. Once a poker player is comfortable with the poker rules of their favorite game, then tend to play that game the most often and won’t change games until a new and exciting poker game is released with different rules.
At this time, the most popular poker game is Texas Holdem. This poker game has been around since before 1970 and was used as the poker game of choice in determining the World Champion of the World Series of Poker. The next most popular games are Seven Card Stud and Omaha Poker. There are many other poker games though, and all have different poker rules. Some poker games are played using a community, which are cards laid in the middle of the table for all players to share, and some poker games only allow players to use their own cards, which may be either hidden or exposed to other players. Here are the names of some other popular poker games. This list certainly does not cover all of the games, but it does give you a general idea of what other poker games people are playing: Razz, Lowball, Badugi, Chinese Poker, Big-O, Deuce to Seven Triple Draw, Five Card Draw, Five Card Stud, Pineapple, and Crazy Pineapple.