I’m sure you’ve heard how the saying goes, “practice makes perfect” or “hard work pays off”, “today’s tears water tomorrow’s gardens”. Nothing can be closer to the truth in the world of poker. Almost every Tom Dick and Harry living in the modern world has heard of the game of Poker but few are able to really master it – it takes practice, skill and a good dose of patience. But what else can contribute to becoming a poker king? Well, for starters, having solid knowledge of all Texas Holdem rules will definitely help you in your game as well as when you’re playing free poker online. Don’t be one of those players who stick to pure beginner’s luck – use your noodle! Why not take matters into your own hands and see how far it can get you in a game of poker. Make the right decisions. Bet well. Have a bit of lady luck on your side.
Worth the struggle: Top Poker Hands
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a keen amateur heading over to the casino on a Friday night to hone your skills at the poker table or you’re fancying a less-sociable night in with your computer playing free poker games online, one thing you must possess is strong familiarity with the poker hand rankings. If you want to brush up on your knowledge on how the game is actually played or getting the right hand, you can venture over to another guide on our site (there you’ll find out how all rounds in Texas Holdem poker look like). But for now, let’s take a peep at the card layouts that will make you beat your opponents.
Royal-Flush: Royal Poker
It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Well, almost. Ever heard of the saying, “If you wanna see a Royal-Flush in a casino, you must go to the toilet?” This goes to show how rarely this layout of 5 sequential cards occurs in a game of poker. If you find yourself holding an Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten – of the same suit – then consider yourself a lucky chap.
A straight flush is simply 5 cards in sequential order – all of the same suit. This combination will give you a poker – and just like a Royal Flush, you’ll be grinning ear to ear (actually, it’s better to keep that poker face going) if you happen to have one as it’s very rare.
Four of a kind
As the name suggests, this is a hand of 4 cards of the same value (also known as quads). A good thing to know is that if two players have the same four of a kind, the “kicker” (5th or side card) decides who wins.
A full house is a lovely combination consisting of three of a kind alongside one pair. In other words, you’ve got three cards of the same value together with two cards of the same value. When things get a bit complicated and it turns out that two players have a full house, the one with the strongest set of three cards wins. To make life harder, if the three cards are of the same value, the pairs decide who wins. If the pairs are also identical, we then call it a draw.
A flush consists of 5 cards of the same suit (just to make sure we’re clear here – we’re not talking about black and red, but rather club, diamonds etc, Roger that?). When it happens that two players have a flush, the player whose suit is strongest can make their claim to victory.
A straight is made up of 5 cards of sequential value and they can be of any suit. If two players are lucky enough to have a straight, the one with the strongest card “at the top” wins. An FYI: an ace can be used as both the highest and lowest card – but keep in mind though, never in the same hand. A straight beginning with an ace and ending with a five is dubbed a wheel or bicycle.
Drilling – three of a kind
Got three cards of the same value? Then you’ve got yourself a three of a kind, or trips as some may call it. If you’re holding one pair at hand alongside a community card that creates a three, then we’re talking about a set. In the case that two players have the same three of a kind, we’d need to settle this somehow. And the solution is looking at the kicker (the fourth card) to decide who wins. If the players also have the same kicker card, we go straight to the fifth card to make a decision. If – what are the odds?! – the players have the same kicker again here too, we stop complicating things by calling it a draw.
When you find yourself with two sets of two cards of identical value (ie two queens and two tens), then you’ve got yourself two pairs. When two players have an identical pair of pairs, the fifth card is used to decide who wins. But when the pairs are different, obviously the highest value cards will win.
Yep, you guessed it. One pair consists of two cards of the same value, simple as that. If you have a pair already “at hand” then you’ve got yourself a pocket-pair. If you place down one card from your hand as well as the highest card from the community cards, then you have a top-pair. Similarly, if you place down a pair from the lowest card (from the community cards) you’ll be holding a bottom-pair. If it turns out that two players have an identical pair, we use the kicker to decide who wins.
If you’re not lucky enough to have been dealt one of the above hands, you’ll need to resort to your high-card (one card with the highest value). The suit of the card plays no role here. If your opponent also has a high card, the one with the highest value card wins. If they’re the same, then the third or fourth highest cards will decide who claims the victory.
So if you want to play free poker online or head off to the casino, it’s best to get up to speed on your knowledge of these poker hands and their rankings. It’s a good idea to spend some time remembering them off by heart and you’ll be ready to put your poker hat on and start playing.