Making two pair in a game of poker often gives you a strong enough hand to win the pot. To make two pair, you must draw two distinct pairs in the same five-card hand.
The hand above represents two pair, tens and threes. Other examples of two pair could include hands like A♠ A♦ 8♣ 8♦ 2♣ or Q♦ Q♠ 9♥ 9♦ 7♠.
If multiple two pair hands go against each other at showdown, the hand with the better high pair wins. For example, A♠ A♦ 8♣ 8♦ 2♣ (aces and eights) beats Q♦ Q♠ 9♥ 9♦ 7♠ (queens and nines), as the pair of aces in the first hand outranks the pair of queens in the latter hand.
A two pair hand that includes a pair of aces (like A♠ A♦ 8♣ 8♦ 2♣) is sometimes called “aces up.” The Q♦ Q♠ 9♥ 9♦ 7♠ example above could be referred to as “queens up,” and so on.
How Does a Two Pair Hand Rank?
Two pair hands beat one pair and high card hands but lose to everything else in the poker hand rankings.
If you randomly draw five cards out of a 52-card deck, you’ll have a 4.7539% chance of making two pair. That percentage can also be expressed as 20-to-1 odds against making two pair.
A standard poker deck yields 858 distinct ways to make two pair. Factoring in the different possible suit combinations, you have 123,552 total possible ways to make two pair out of a 52-card deck.
Texas Hold’em requires players to make the best possible five-card hand out of seven total cards, giving you a better chance of making two pair.
With all five community cards on the board in a game of Texas Hold’em, you have a 23.5% chance of making two pair (3.26-to-1 odds against).