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does a flush beat a straight

Why Does a Flush Beat a Straight?

Judging by how many people search “does a flush beat a straight” on Google, it’s clear that many people don’t know the answer to this question.

Have they not seen the I Love Lucy episode where Ricky teaches Lucy what beats what in poker? Who hasn’t seen that!?

In all seriousness, the simple answer is: yes, a flush does beat a straight in poker.

Now that you have an answer, let me explain why a flush beats a straight.

Why Does a Flush Beat a Straight?

While it may seem that it is easier to make a flush, in reality, this is not the case. To answer the question, Does a flush beat a straight? Let’s take a look at the math.

Does a flush beat a straight math

First of all, there are 2,598,960 different five-card poker hands that can be dealt from a standard deck of cards. Check out this fascinating article if you want to see the fancy-schmancy math behind this number.

Therefore, with a standard deck and a five-card poker hand, there are 10,200 ways to make a straight (for a probability of 0.003925) and 5,108 ways to make a flush (for a probability of 0.001965.)

Thus, you can see why flushes are ranked higher than straights. Quite simply, the odds of making a flush are considerably less than making a straight.

And there you go. If you are wondering, Does a flush beat a straight? The answer is yes.

Types of straight draws and outs

There are two common types of straight draws: a gutshot and an open-ender. A gutshot—or belly buster—straight draw occurs when you have, for example, 8, 9 in your hand and the board shows 5, 6, Q, A. Thus, you need a middle card—the 7—to make your straight. In all gutshot draws, you have four outs (assuming that another player at the table didn’t fold or doesn’t have one of them.)

Does a flush beat a straight inside straight draw

An open-ended straight draw occurs when you have, for example, 7, 8 in your hand, and the board contains a 5, 6. Thus, you would need a card at either end—the 4 or the 9—to make your straight. In these cases, you have eight outs.

Now to confuse things a bit, if you are holding, for example, 5, 6 and the flop comes 2, 4, 8 then you have what is called a double belly buster in which a 3 or a 7 will give you a straight.

Then there’s a triple belly buster which only occurs in Omaha because you would need eight cards to satisfy this. To illustrate, if your hole cards are 5, 7, 10, J and the board shows 9, 3, 6, K then any 4, 8, or Q will make a straight. Thus, there are 12 outs in these cases.

Outs in a flush draw

With a flush draw, you have four suited cards and just need another of the same suit. Given that there are 13 cards of each suit, if you have four of them (out of your hole cards and the board), then there are nine outs (again, assuming an opponent didn’t fold or doesn’t have one.)

Quiz Your Knowledge of Poker Hands

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Until next time.

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About the Author
Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.

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