We’ve compiled a list of poker hands from highest to lowest to help you get started.
These include traditional poker hand rankings of the most popular variants of poker, such as No Limit Hold‘em. But we also cover rankings of the lowball games.
Click one of these links to jump to that section:
- Poker Hands Rankings from Highest to Lowest
- Lowball Hand Rankings
- Badugi Hand Rankings
- Top 20 No Limit Texas Hold’em Starting Hand Rankings
Whether you’re looking to learn how poker hands rank or what beats what in poker, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started.
Poker Hands from Highest to Lowest
The following poker hand rankings relate to more traditional and popular game types including No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. The hands are ranked from strongest to weakest. (These are also 5 Card Draw winning hands.)
1. Royal Flush
The best hand possible, a royal flush consists of A, K, Q, J and 10, all of the same suit.
Royal flushes are extremely rare.
2. Straight Flush
Also very rare, a straight flush consists of any straight that is all the same suit.
3. Four of a Kind
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 full house consists of three cards of one value and two cards of another.
A flush is a hand which has all cards of the same suit.
If 2 or more players get to showdown with a flush, the flush with the highest card wins.
A straight has 5 cards of consecutive value that are not all the same suit.
Note that an Ace can be either the high or low end of a straight, but not both at once. So, A-K-Q-J-10 and 5-4-3-2-A are valid straights, but 2-A-K-Q-J is not. 5-4-3-2-A is also known as the wheel, and it is the lowest possible straight.
7. Three of a Kind
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
Two pair consists of two cards of equal value, another two cards of equal value, and one extra card.
When two opposing players have two pair, the player with the highest pair wins the pot. For example, Aces and Threes beats Kings and Queens. If both players have the same highest pair, the player with the higher second pair wins. If both players have the exact same two pair, then the player with the higher extra card wins.
9. One Pair
One pair consists of two cards of the same value, and three extra cards.
One Pair is the lowest ranking “made” hand.
10. High Card
Five cards that do not interact with each other to make any of the above hands.
Tie-breakers and Kickers
In the event multiple players have the same poker hands, the extra cards come in to play. These cards are called ‘kickers’. The player with the higher kicker will take the pot in this event.
No Limit Hold’em Example: Player A and Player B
- Player A has K♥ 9♥
- Player B has A♠ K♦
- The flop, turn and river are K♠-T♣-T♦–4♠-2♣
This means the player’s final 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
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’ 5 card hands are identical, then they share the pot equally.
Lowball Poker Hands Rankings
Lowball or Low Poker is poker in which the lowest ranking hand wins.
Ace-to-Five Lowball (also known as California Lowball)
These rules are used for ranking the low hands in Hi/Lo games, such as Omaha Hi/Lo and Stud Hi/Lo, and Razz, which is a ‘low only’ stud game.
Note that in the Ace-to-Five lowball rankings, suits and straights are irrelevant. Hands are judged solely on the low ranking of the hand. When ranking a low hand, you always start with the highest card and move downward.
1. Five Low
Also known as a ‘wheel’, this is the best hand in the Ace-to-Five Low rankings.
2. Six Low
Any unpaired hand with 6 as the highest card.
If two players have a Six Low, the next highest card is used as a tie-breaker. This means, for example, that 6-5-4-3-2 would lose to 6-4-3-2-A.
3. Seven Low
Any unpaired hand with 7 as highest card.
Like Six Lows, when opposing players have Seven Lows, the player with the lowest card after the 7 wins the pot.
4. Eight Low
This is any unpaired hand with 8 as the highest card.
Again, when multiple players have an Eight low, the player with the lowest card after the 8 is the winner.
Note that when multiple players’ 2nd highest cards are the same, the third and even fourth cards can be used to identify a winner. If both players have the same hand, they split the pot.
In the Hi/Lo variants, an Eight Low is the highest hand that qualifies to win the low half of the pot. If no player has at least an Eight Low, the player with the best high hand wins the whole pot pot.
There is no need to qualify for the low in Razz. Hands such as Queen Low, an Ace Low, or even a pair can win the pot if they are the lowest hand at showdown.
Deuce-to-Seven Lowball (also known as Kansas City Lowball)
Poker hands ranking in Deuce-to-Seven Lowball are essentially ranked in the opposite direction of traditional poker hands. Unlike Ace-to-Five, straights and flushes exist in Deuce-to-Seven; they are very bad hands that you should try to avoid making. Aces are always high cards in Deuce-to-Seven Lowball (meaning, among other things, that A5432 is not a straight).
1. Seven Low
Five unpaired, unconnected cards of different suits, and with a 7 as the highest card.
The best possible hand in Deuce-to-Seven lowball (displayed above) is known as the ‘wheel’, or ‘number one’.
2. Eight Low
Five unpaired, unconnected cards of different suits, and with an 8 as the highest card.
3. Nine Low
Five unpaired, unconnected cards of different suits, and with a 9 as the highest card.
4. Ten Low
Five unpaired, unconnected cards of different suits, and with a 10 as the highest card.
These are the four best low hand-types in Deuce-to-Seven Lowball, but note the winner is simply the player with the lowest hand. This can be a King Low, a pair of Twos, or worse!
If multiple players have a the same low, the player with the lowest second card wins the pot. For example, 7-5-4-3-2 beats 7-6-5-4-2. If there is still a tie, the third-, fourth- and fifth-highest cards in the hand can be used to break it. When two players have paired hands, the lowest pair wins the pot.
Badugi Hand Rankings
Badugi poker hands rankings are completely different from traditional hand rankings. It can take time to get used to reading Badugi poker hands and how they play.
Badugi is a four card game in which your objective is making a low, rainbow (four different suits) hand. Straights do not exist in Badugi, so four cards in a row do not hurt your hand, and Aces are always low.
If you have 2 or more cards of the same suit, only the lowest one counts. The same goes for paired cards. If you have a pair, only one of those cards count.
Four unpaired cards of different suits.
If multiple players hold a Badugi, the player with the lowest high card wins.
2. Three-Card Hand
Three unpaired or unsuited cards, with a fourth card that pairs or is suited with one of the other three cards.
Because the hand above has two spades–the 8♠ and the 5♠–only one of them counts, making this a three-card hand of 5♠-4♣-3♦.
3. Two-Card Hand
Two unpaired cards of different suits, with two other cards that pairs of is suited with at least one of the other two cards.
The hand above is a two-card hand of 4-3 because it has both a pair and two diamonds, which discounts the 5♦ and a 4.
4. One-Card Hand
The worst possible hand is 4 cards of the same suit (or four-of-a-kind, which is extremely rare).
The three highest cards are discounted in the hand above, making this a one-card hand of the 2♠.
If multiple players have the same hand-type and highest card, the player with the lowest second-, third- or fourth-highest card wins the pot. Discounted cards are never used when breaking ties.
Top 20 No Limit Texas Hold’em Starting Hand Rankings
I wanted to include something a bit more exciting in this article, so here’s the top 20 No Limit Hold’em starting hands in terms of raw all-in equity (or percentages).
Although the order of the best poker hands to start with is sometimes contested, this list will give you a rough idea of which hands are stronger than others.
If you play No Limit Hold’em, these are the poker hands to play:
- AA – Pocket Aces
- KK – Pocket Kings
- QQ – Pocket Queens
- JJ – Pocket Jacks
- AKs – Ace-King suited
- TT – Pocket Tens
- AKo – Ace-King offsuit
- AQs – Ace-Queen suited
- 99 – Pocket Nines
- AJs – Ace-Jack suited
- KQs – King-Queen suited
- ATs – Ace-Ten suited
- AQo – Ace-Queen offsuit
- 88 – Pocket Eights
- KJs – King-Jack suited
- KTs – King-Ten suited
- QJs – Queen-Jack suited
- AJo – Ace-Jack offsuit
- KQo – King-Queen offsuit
- QTs – Queen-Ten suited
I hope you enjoyed this list of poker hands rankings!
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Rory is an online NLHE & PLO grinder and poker writer