Get Familiar with Hand Rankings
Walking into a poker game when you’re unfamiliar with the rules of the game is an amateur move and will most likely result in huge financial loss on your side. If one wishes to engage in a game of poker, one should at least have an appreciable amount of knowledge of the flow, strategy, and most important of all, the basics of the game – the hand rankings, for example. The result of a poker game, that is whether a player wins or loses, depending on their hand. The higher a player’s hand is in the pre-established rankings, the likelier they are to win. The rankings, from bottom to top, are as follows.
The highest card should only be applied when no other hand in the rankings are applicable, that is, there exists no card combination of any sort in the player’s hand. Therefore, it is the worst scenario a player can face in a game of poker. In this scenario, the player looks towards the card ranking and picks out the card in their hand that has the highest ranking. The player’s hand is valued by the chosen card and the chosen card only. For example, 6♣ K♣ 7♣ 9♥ 3♦ ranks higher than 3♣ Q♠ J♠ 6♣ 5♥, since K♣ in the former hand dominates over Q♠ and J♠ in the latter hand. When both hands have the same highest card, for example, 6♣ K♣ 7♣ 9♥ 3♦ and 3♣ Q♠ K♠ 6♣ 5♥, the suit ranking is applied and K♠ in the latter hand becomes dominant over K♣ in the former hand.
A pair is when there exist two cards in a hand that has equal rank. For example, 6♣ 7♦ 7♣ 9♥ 3♦ ranks higher than 3♣ Q♠ K♠ 6♣ 5♥ since 7♦ and 7♣ exist as a pair in the former hand. If both hands possess a pair, the players should first determine who has the highest number of pairs, and if both are the same, use card or suit ranking as the breaker, that is, to determine who has the highest pair. For example, 9♣ 7♦ 7♣ 9♥ 3♦ is described as two pairs ranks higher than a mere pair.
Three of a Kind
Three of Kind is a hand with three cards that has equal rank, it ranks higher than a pair and it follows the same rules as well. For example, 7♥ 7♦ 7♣ 9♥ 3♦ ranks higher than 3♣ K♥ K♠ 6♣ 5♥. If the poker game is a five-card draw, two three-of-a-kinds cannot exist.
A straight hand is when a player possesses five cards in a sequence, 2♥ 3♦ 4♣ 5♥ 6♦, for example. The five cards are not required to be of the same suit. When comparing two straight hands, the hand that has the highest card wins.
A flush is when a player possesses five cards with the same suit, 7♥ 3♥ 2♥ K♥ J♥, for example. The five cards are not required to be in a sequence. When comparing two flushes, the hand that has the highest suit or, if the suit is the same, the highest card.
A full house is a combination of a three of a kind and a pair. For example, 7♥ 7♦ 7♣ 9♥ 9♦. When comparing two full houses, the hand with the highest card wins.
Four of a Kind
Four of a kind is self-explanatory at this point, it describes four cards of the same rank. For example, 7♥ 7♦ 7♣ 7♥ 9♦.
A straight flush describes five cards that are not only in a sequence but have the same suit as well. It is a combination of a straight hand and a flush. For example, 2♦ 3♦ 4♦ 5♦ 6♦.
A royal flush is the highest possible rank. It is, in essence, a straight flush, but highest card in the hand must be an Ace. For example, 10♦ J♦ Q♦ K♦ 6A♦. When comparing two royal flushes, the hand with the highest suit wins.