How well do you really know the poker hand rankings?
To win at poker, you obviously need to know what hand you have. Thus, being able to quickly identify poker hands is crucial if you want success on the felt.
The following quiz will show you a hand from the game of Texas Hold’em. You goal is to select the correct poker hand based on the two card starting hand and the community cards (aka flop, turn and river).
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Poker mastery begins with an understanding of the poker hand rankings used for most variants of the game. Texas Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and many other popular poker games around the world use a standard set of rules to determine the winning hand.
Most poker games task the player with making the best possible five-card hand while staying within the rules of a particular game. The standard poker hand rankings, from highest to lowest, look like this (with an example hand beside each description):
1. Royal Flush (A♦ K♦ Q♦ J♦ T♦)
The best hand possible, a royal flush consists of A, K, Q, J and 10, all of the same suit.
2. Straight Flush (T♥ 9♥ 8♥ 7♥ 6♥)
Also very rare, a straight flush consists of any straight that is all the same suit.
3. Four-of-a-Kind (J♦ J♣ J♠ J♥ K♦)
Four of a kind, or ‘quads’, consists of four cards of equal value along with another card known as a side card.
4. Full House (A♥ A♣ A♦ 9♠ 9♣)
A full house consists of three cards of one value and two cards of another.
5. Flush (A♠ J♠ 8♠ 4♠ 3♠)
A flush is a hand which has all cards of the same suit.
6. Straight (9♥ 8♠ 7♣ 6♦ 5♣)
A straight has 5 cards of consecutive value that are not all the same suit.
7. Three-of-a-Kind (7♠ 7♦ 7♣ K♦ Q♣)
Also known as ‘trips’, three of a kind is 3 cards of the same value and 2 side cards of different values.
8. Two-Pair (9♣ 9♦ 6♣ 6♠ Q♥)
9. One-Pair (A♦ A♥ K♠ 9♦ 4♥)
One pair consists of two cards of the same value, and three extra cards.
10. High Card (A♠ J♦ 8♣ 6♠ 2♥)
High card is when you have five cards that do not interact with each other to make any of the above hands.
Bes sure to check out our poker hand rankings resource page for a more in-depth look at the rankings, including best Texas Hold’em starting hands, odds of making a particular hand, FAQs, and more.
Tie-breakers and Kickers
When multiple players have the same poker hands, the extra cards come in to play. These extra cards are called ‘kickers‘. The player with the higher kicker will take the pot when this happens.
Texas Hold’em Example:
- Player A has K♥ 9♥
- Player B has A♠ K♦
- The flop, turn and river are K♠ T♣ T♦ 4♠ 2♣
This means the players’ final five card poker hands are:
- Player A: K♥ K♠ T♣ T♦ 9♥ for Two Pair, Kings and Tens with a Nine kicker
- Player B: K♦ K♠ T♣ T♦ A♠ for Two Pair, Kings and Tens with an Ace kicker
Both players have a pair of kings, but the winner of the pot is Player B because he has Player A ‘out-kicked’.
In a high card or one-pair hand tie-breaker, both players can sometimes have the same kicker. In this case the second kicker is used, and then the third, and so on. If both players’ best five-card poker hands are identical, then they share the pot equally.
Texas Hold’em and Omaha are both community card poker games that use the same system of betting rounds. If you can develop an understanding of how the betting works in Hold’em and Omaha, you’ll be prepared to take a seat in most poker games at any casino.
The following is an example of a No-Limit Texas Hold’em hand:
No-Limit Texas Hold’em Example Hand
For this example, we’ll go over a hand from a $1/$2 No-Limit Hold’em cash game.
The “$1/$2” denotes a $1 small blind and $2 big blind. After the blinds are posted, the dealer begins dealing one card at a time to each player, starting with the small blind position.
When everyone has their two hole cards, the preflop betting round begins with the player directly to the left of the big blind. This player has three options:
- Call (matching the big blind amount).
- Raise (betting at least 2x the big blind, which any subsequent players must at least match to stay in).
- Fold (pushing their cards into the middle and surrendering any chance to win the hand).
So, in our $1/$2 example, the first player can either call the $2 big blind amount, raise to at least $4, or fold.
Suppose the first player raises to $6. The action then moves one player to the left, and this player can either call the $6 bet, or fold. Suppose this player chooses to fold, and the next four players, clockwise around the table, all fold as well.
This brings the action to the player directly to the right of the small blind. The player in this position, known as the “button”, chooses to call the $6 bet.
The small blind folds, surrendering their $1 forced bet into the pot. The big blind, who already has a $2 forced bet in play, makes the call by putting $4 more in the pot to match the $6 raise.
Note that if any of the players decided to re-raise more than $6, the action goes back around to the first player, who can then call the raise, or re-raise again (known as a four-bet). This continues until everyone at the table has either folded or called the current bet.
With the preflop betting round closed, the dealer burns a card, taking the top card off the deck and putting it face-down on the table.
The dealer then deals the first three of five community cards, known as the “flop”. In our example game, the dealer puts these three cards face up for the flop:
The small blind is first to act in all betting rounds after the flop. If the small blind isn’t still in the hand, the next live player to the left of the small blind begins the action.
In our example hand, the big blind, to the small blind’s direct left, is first to act on the flop. The big blind player has the option to check, putting no money in the pot, or bet at least $2, the amount of the big blind.
Let’s suppose the big blind checks. The under-the-gun player now has the same option to check or bet. In this game, the under-the-gun player also checks, moving the action to the player on the button.
The button bets $10, and the action goes back to the big blind player. The big blind calls, and the under-the-gun player folds. The pot is now $37.
The big blind and the button then advance to the turn.
Also known as “fourth street”, the turn is the fourth community card dealt to the board. In our example, the dealer burns another card and deals the turn. The board now looks like this:
The big blind checks, and the button bets $20 into the $37 pot. The big blind raises to $60, and the button calls, putting in $40 more to match the $60 raise. The big blind’s move of checking, then raising when the opponent bets, is known as a “check-raise”.
The pot is now $157, and the two players advance to the river.
The dealer burns another card and puts the fifth and final community card on the board.
This card is known as the river, or “fifth street”. In our example hand, the river is dealt to the board, and the five community cards look like this:
The big blind checks, and the button checks back, keeping the pot at $157. The player who made the last aggressive move (a bet or raise) generally turns over their cards first, and this part of the hand is called the showdown.
The big blind turns over his/her hole cars, revealing:
This hand makes two pair, aces and threes, for the big blind. Using hole cards and community cards to make the best possible five-card hand, the big blind holds A♣ A♥ 3♣ 3♠ J♥.
The button doesn’t have to turn over their cards at showdown, as they have the option to “muck” without showing and surrender the pot to the opponent. In this case though the button shows this hand:
The best possible five-card hand with these hole cards is T♠ T♥ A♥ J♥ 9♠. This gives the button a pair of tens, having missed a chance at both a straight and a flush.
The big blind wins this hand, as two pair beats one pair in the poker hand rankings.
The player in the big blind collects the $157 pot. The button and blinds shift one player to the left and a new hand begins.
What if a Hand Doesn’t Go to Showdown?
Many Texas Hold’em hands end without anyone even showing their cards. In any betting round, the hand ends when one player bets or raises, and all other players fold. The player that didn’t fold wins the pot without a showdown.
In the preflop betting round, the big blind wins the pot automatically if all other players fold before the big blind player gets to act. This is known as giving the big blind a “walk”.
In the Event of a Tie (Chopped Pots)
When two or more players turn over hands of equal hand strength at showdown, the hand results in a chop, aka chopped pot. All chips in the pot are divided equally among the players that have the strongest hand.
Starting a New Game
When a new game starts, the initial position of the button and blinds is determined by dealing each player one card. Whoever has the highest-value card, with ace being the high and two as the low, starts the game with the button.
In the case of a tie, the suit of the card determines the winner. The tiebreaker order for suits goes spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs.
How’d you do on the poker hand quiz?
Let me know in the comments below.
(Note: Want to test your knowledge of poker strategy next? Take the Poker 101 Strategy Quiz.)