The Greatest Card Game
Poker is a classical game of cards, played all over the world in countless variations. Usually, your goal as a player is to assemble the best five-card poker hand.
A Game of Betting
But poker is also a game of betting. In order to get the cards you need, you will have to pay a price. That price is decided by the bets put in by yourself and the other players around the table. The bets make up the pot, which in the end is won by the player with the best hand.
A Game of People
Therefore, one of your main challenges when playing poker will be to understand why the other players bet the way they do, or why they don't bet. It is sometimes claimed that poker is in fact not so much a game of cards, as a game of people.
Determining the Winning Hand
Although hundreds of poker variations are played around the world, most of them agree on one point: The ranking of the five card poker hands.
The following poker hand ranking is almost universal, and it is the one fundamental piece of knowledge you absolutely have to master when you start out on your poker career.
Below are images of poker hands, listed in order from highest to lowest.
The five highest cards, the 10 through the Ace, all five of the same suit.
Any five cards of the same suit in consecutive numerical order. Our example shows a five-high straight flush.
|Four of a Kind
Four cards of the same denomination. Our example shows four aces with a jack kicker.
Any three cards of the same denomination, plus any pair of a different denomination. Ties are broken first by the three of a kind, then the pair. Our example shows jacks full of aces.
Any five non-consecutive cards of the same suit. Our example shows a ace-high diamond flush.
Any five consecutive cards of mixed suits. Ace can be high or low. Our example shows a six-to-ten straight.
|Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same denomination. Our example displays three of a kind, jacks.
Any two cards of the same denomination, plus any other two cards of the same denomination. If both hands have the same high pair, the highest of the second pair wins. If both pairs tie, the high card wins. Our example shows two pairs, jacks and aces.
Any two cards of the same denomination. Our example displays a pair of tens. In a tie, the high card wins.
If no other hand is achieved, the highest card held wins. In our example, the ace of hearts is the high card.