Poker is one of the most popular and well-known casino games in the world. Due to its prevalence, it is never difficult to find a level that suits your needs. Whether you are just looking for a casual game between friends or something with higher stakes, there is something for everyone.
If you are a poker novice, you likely have one or two questions about how the game works. There are many different variants that can be played online or at home, but one thing that always stays the same is the hands. Poker hands are the cards you’re dealt over the course of the game – made up of your own hand and any communal cards.
Some combinations are better than others and keeping track of which hands beat which can be tricky when you are starting out. Fortunately, we have compiled an easy-to-follow guide to help you out.
Below are the eight possible poker hands you can play in a game, ranked in order of how good they are. These rankings apply to hi-card poker matches, but low-card – where the ‘worst’ hand wins – also exist.
This is an extremely rare hand. In fact, you could play 20 poker matches and not have it crop it at all quite easily. It consists of five consecutive cards, 10 through to ace, which are all the same suit.
If you have this hand, you are guaranteed victory so make sure you try and generate the highest prize pot possible.
This follows the same principle of the Royal Flush, but it can apply to any five consecutive cards of the same suit.
For instance, a hand of two, three, four, five and six all of the same suit would be classed as a straight flush.
Four of a Kind
Four of a Kind is when your hand consists of the same card in all four suits. The higher the value of the card, the better your hand is.
The fifth card in your hand is made up of whatever your highest value remaining card is.
It is often thought that Full House trumps Four of a Kind, but this is incorrect. A Full House is when you have three of the same card in different suits alongside a pair.
For example, you could have three queens and a pair of fours.
A Flush is five cards of the same suit in any order. In the case of a tie the player with the highest valued card wins the pot.
A Straight is having five consecutive cards of any suit. An ace can usually function as both a high 11 or low one for this hand.
Three of a Kind
To play Three of a Kind you need to have three of the same card in different suits. The other two spots in your hand are taken up by the highest valued cards still available.
A pair is a combination of two of the same card. The other three places in your hand are taken up by the highest value cards you can play.
Two Pairs is quite simple. It consists of… well, two pairs. The higher value to pair the better.
When nobody has one of the above, the highest card wins. The suit does not matter, as long as your card is the highest you win.
Why is Poker So Popular?
As well as wondering about poker hands, you may be sitting there pondering why the game is so popular in the first place.
The reasons for its prevalence are numerous. First and foremost, it is a great way to bring people together. Casual poker games in particular are especially social and fun.
The rise of online casinos has also seen a rise in the number of people playing poker. Due to the popularity of online casinos, people are playing more casino games like poker. Majority of online casino providers now offer special bonuses and promotions so players can use such promotions when trying out new casino games, so they are not depositing their own money. New players could use a promotion to play a poker game, they then really enjoy the game so keep coming back for more.
Another way poker draws people in is by offering people the chance to win money. Of course, profit is not guaranteed but when you do win it is a great reason. Saying that, playing for bragging rights is fine too.
Lots of players are drawn to the strategic side of poker. There are lots of probabilities to memorise and strategies to nail down and this suits lots of people down to the ground.
Online Poker vs In-Person Poker
If you feel this article has given you the poker itch, it is time to decide whether you should take the plunge online or in-person. There are benefits and disadvantages to each format and you should weigh these up before getting started.
Online Poker Pros and Cons
Convenient – If you cannot find anyone to play with, internet poker can be perfect. There are thousands of players across the world so finding a game is extremely easy.
No Poker Face Required – In-person requires you to guard your expressions and body language to try and hide your intentions from other players. This does not happen online.
Less Social – Obviously, there is less face to face interaction online. If you are looking to make friends through poker it may be worth seeking out an in-person game.
More of a Test – If you are looking for a tougher challenge, in-person is the way to go. Controlling your ‘tells’ and spotting your opponents’ adds another dimension for sure.
More Glamorous – Travelling to a casino to play is definitely more opulent than playing at home in your pyjamas!
More Effort – Then again, travelling to play in-person can eat up more of your time. Overall, it all depends on what you are looking for.