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Poker Hands: Rankings, Odds and Names

Poker Hand Rankings

Royal Flush - ten, jack, queen, king and ace of a single suit. Straight Flush - five cards of a single suit in sequence Four of a Kind - four cards of same denomination, the fifth being irrelevant except as a kicker (in the rare event that the community cards show the hand) Full House - three cards of same denomination and two cards of another denomination Flush - five cards of a single suit that are not sequenced Straight - five cards of different suits that are sequenced Three of a Kind - three cards of same denomination Two Pair - two cards of same denomination and another two cards of same denomination (but not a Four of a Kind); the fifth card is not matched One Pair - two cards of same denomination; the other three cards have no match High Card - in the absence of any better hand, the highest ranking single card is considered

Poker Hand Odds

Why are poker hands ranked the way they are? It's all based on how rarely the hands occur. The less likely a hand will occur, the higher its ranking.

Royal Flush Odds: 649,739 - 1

Straight Flush Odds: 64,973 - 1

Four of a Kind Odds: 4,164 - 1

Full House Odds: 693 - 1

Flush Odds: 508 - 1

Straight Odds: 254 - 1

Three of a Kind Odds: 46 - 1

Two Pair Odds: 20 - 1

One Pair Odds: 1.25 - 1

Hand odds are used not only to decide the winner in a poker game. They also determine the payout schedule in video poker games and table games with progressive jackpots like Caribbean Stud. Naturally, the better the hand, the bigger the payoff.

Hand Names or Aliases

Poker hands have acquired nicknames over the years. Here are some of them.


Royal Flush: Quint Major Four of a Kind: Quads Full House: Boat Three of a Kind: Trips

Pocket Cards

A-A: American Airlines, Bullets, Pocket Rockets K-K: King Kong, Cowboys Q-Q: Double Date, Ladies, Canadian Aces J-J: Fish Hooks 9-9: German Virgin 8-8: Snow Men 7-7: Walking Sticks, Sunset Strip 6-6: Route 66 5-5: Speed Limit 4-4: Magnum 3-3: Crabs 2-2: Deuces A-K: Big Slick A-Q: Big Chick K-Q: Marriage, Royalty K-J: Kojak K-9: Canine J-5: Jackson Five 9-5: Dolly Parton

The Dead Man's Hand

The so-called "Dead Man's Hand" is a two pair consisting of two aces and two eights. According to legend, a poker player named Wild Bill Hicock was shot to death after winning with this hand in 1876.

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