It is a fundamental requirement of playing poker that the player understands poker hand rankings, i.e. the order of priority of different hands. As well as being required to determine who has won a particular pot, it is also necessary to understand the hands which other players might be representing and therefore whether you think you can beat them. Different hands are listed below in order of priority, 1. being the best.
1. Royal flush - top of the poker hand rankings is the royal flush, being Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 suited.
2. Straight flush - this is 5 consecutive suited cards, e.g. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of spades. This particular example is a straight to the 7, which would be beaten by a straight to the 8.
3. Four of a kind - this is simply 4 cards of the same value, e.g. 4 Jacks. Note that 4 Queens would beat 4 Jacks.
4. Full house - a triplet (3 cards of the same value) and a pair (2 cards of the same value), e.g. 3 Queens and a pair of 7s.
5. Flush - any 5 cards of the same suit.
6. Straight - any 5 consecutive cards which are not suited (since, if they were suited, the hand would be a straight flush).
7. 3 of a kind - very simply, triplets (3 cards of the same value). 3 Aces beat 3 Kings.
8. 2 pair - also very simply, this is 2 separate pairs. Note that there is no better position in the poker hand rankings for 3 pairs, since this is a total of 6 cards and only your best 5 count.
9. Pair - simply 2 cards of the same value and, as usual, a high value pair beats a lower value pair.
10. High card - bottom of the poker hand rankings is the high card. This is simply the highest card from a hand of 5 that has not placed any better combination. So an Ace, 10, 6, 4 and 3 off suit would be called Ace high.
When calculating who has won a particular hand remember that it is only the best 5 cards that count - if 2 players draw with these 5 cards it does not go to who has got the strongest sixth card, and the pot is split. If you are struggling to maintain the importance of poker hand rankings then using a free download poker calculator is a great option. The tools will sit alongside your chosen poker room and provide guidance on which hand to play in each situation.