To tie the best possible hand with the two cards you have and with the community cards on the table is the basic objective of a Texas Hold’em game, since by forming a better hand than your opponents you can win the pot. But the hands are ordered based on a clear hierarchy that determines their value, and it is important to know it so that, when forming a hand, you know in which position it places you and how strong it is.
It is essential that you know the ranking of hands in poker, so let’s make a brief review of the order in which they are organized according to their strength.
Ranking and value of Texas Hold’em poker hands
Let’s go in ascending order. The ranking of poker hands starts with the high card, the weakest and most common hand, and goes through the pair, the double pair, the three of a kind, the straight, the flush, the flush, the full house, the poker flush and the straight flush until we reach the royal flush, the most powerful hand in poker.
This hand is not very powerful. It is made up of random cards and the hand with the highest card wins. This is almost like having nothing, so it is rarely used to beat a player. The hand is given up first, because the probability that an opponent has managed to bind a better hand is very high.
It may happen that two or more players arrive at the showdown with a high card, especially in low level games. In this case, the kicker, the card used to break ties, comes into play.
And it can be decisive not only in a high card, but also in stronger hands. For example, imagine that one player has double pair 4♣ 4ª 8♥ 8♦ 10♣ and another comes to showdown also with a double pair 4♥ 4♦ 8♣ 8ª K♦. It would be the latter who would take the hand because he has the higher kicker.
A pair consists of two cards of the same value. When you have two cards of identical value along with three other cards that lack the same value, it is a pair, but if with the other three cards you get two cards that are also of the same value, then we will have a double pair.
An example of a pair would be 2♥ 5♣ 7ª K♥ K♦.
It is formed when you have two cards of the same value and two other cards of the same value as well. The remaining card will be the kicker in case of a tie, as we have explained a few lines above.
For example, in 2♣ 2ª 5♥ 5♦ J♣ the kicker would be J♣.
Three of a kind
A three of a kind is formed when three cards of the same value are brought together. For example, 3ª 8♣ Q♥ Q♦ Q♣.
A straight is formed by five consecutive cards of different suits. Each straight will contain either a 5 or a 10 by pure mathematics. For example: 5♣ 6♥ 7ª 8♦ 9♣.
The flush hand is formed with any five cards of the same suit. For example, 2♥ 5♥ 8♥ 10♥ K♥.
To make a full house you need to make a three of a kind and a pair. For example, 4♣ 4ª J♦ J♣ J♥.
Poker as a hand consists of four cards of the same value. For example, 5♥ Aª A♣ A♦ A♥.
The straight flush is formed, like the straight, by five consecutive cards, with the difference that this time those five cards are part of the same suit. For example, 4♦ 5♦ 6♦ 7♦ 8♦.
Were you wondering what the highest hand in poker is? Well, here it is. The straight flush is a mathematical anomaly, it is a singularity that is rarely possible to form. The probabilities are extremely low, 0.01%, but it is possible to create it if you manage to tie not only five consecutive cards of the same suit, but also the highest value cards. For example, 10ª Jª Qª Kª Aª.
What happens if two poker players have the same hand?
As we mentioned at the beginning, the kicker is one of the determining cards when two players have the same hand. It can be the key in a high card as well as in a poker game.
To determine the winner, the kicker is looked at directly and the value of each player’s kicker is checked. The winner is the one with the highest value. In the case of hands such as a full house, if two players show their cards and show the same hand, the winner is the one who has managed to tie the full house with the highest cards.
Texas Poker Hold’em: some strategies for winning
Knowing the ranking order of poker hands in Texas Hold’em is important, but don’t forget that poker is not only about making hands. Strategy is key and you will have to develop strategies to beat your opponents, especially as you improve, since things will become more and more complex.
Although if you are an amateur player, you may find this complicated, you will have to get used to try to understand the continuation bets. In Texas Hold’em they play a crucial role, and they are intended to increase the preflop bet as much as possible. This serves as an announcement to the table that you have a very good hand, that you are confident and that others are going to have to pay attention to you.
This is good because it allows you to see how all the players react to the possibility of facing a big pot, but the downside is that the message it sends is too direct and leaves the player’s strategy a bit exposed. It forces the table to bet heavily or fold, in exchange for going with an up-front strategy that leaves very little room for dissimulation.
If you have little experience playing Texas Hold’em, one of the basic things you need to start getting a handle on is stealing blinds. If you are the big blind, you bet last, something very advantageous because it allows you to see how the others start before you start talking.
Imagine a player enters a hand and there is only you, the big blind, and the small blind, who has called. It’s time to double down and go big, very aggressively. By betting a lot more, the small blind will usually fold, indicating that he was simply “fishing” and did not have good cards.