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Poker Hands

  Here is the full breakdown of the 10 possible winning hands in any game of poker:

Royal Flush: This is the best hand possible. Nothing—absolutely nothing—can beat it. It consists of the top five consecutive cards of the same suit.

For example, A, K, Q, J, T.


Straight Flush: This second-best-hand-ever consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit.

For example, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.


Four of a Kind: This is any four cards that are the same.

For example, 7, 7, 7, 7.


Full House: This is Three-of-a-Kind plus Two-of-a-Kind together.

For example, Q, Q, Q, 4, 4. This is also known as “Queens full of Fours.”


Flush: This is five cards of the same suit, but not consecutive.

For example, K, J, 8, 7, 2. This case would also be known as a “King-high Flush.”


Straight: This is five cards in consecutive order, but not necessarily the same suit.

For example, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.


Three-of-a-Kind: This is three cards that are the same.

For example, 7, 7, 7.


Two Pair: This is two sets of two cards that are the same.

For example, 7, 7, T, T.


Pair: This is two cards that are the same.

 For example, 7, 7.


High Card: This is when you have the highest card and no one else has any of the above.

For example, you have a Q and your opponent has none of the above combinations or an A, K or Q.


Variations Of Poker Explained

There are many variations of poker. Below are 2 of the most popular games:

See also: Caribbean Stud

Texas Hold’em

·         The Two players to the left of the dealer will add to the play a starting bet This is called posting the blinds. If there are only 2 players in the game the action will rotate from small blind to big blind.

·      A Standard deck of 52 playing cards is shuffled by the dealer. 3. Each player is dealt two cards face down. These are called your hole or pocket cards.

·      The player  to the left of the players who posted the blinds starts betting. This level of play is called pre-flop.

·         There a various levels of betting, these are determined prior to you entering play. You may choose to play no limit which means any size bet is allowed or you may opt to start with the more conservative limit games. In limit the maximum bets per round are predetermined. Example you may enter a $1/$2 Texas holdem limit game.

·         The players involved are allowed to either raise, check, call or fold.

·         The dealer then flips the next three cards face up on the table. These cards are called the flop. These are shared cards that anyone can use in combination with their two pocket cards to form a poker hand.

·         The next round of betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer.

·         After the round of betting is completed the dealer flips another card, This is called the turn card. Players can use this sixth card now to form a five-card poker hand.

·         Another round of betting begins with The player to the left of the dealer.

·         The last and sometimes the most anticipated card is dealt by the dealer This card is called the river. Players can now use any of the five cards on the table or the two cards in their pocket to form a five-card poker hand.

·         The final round of betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer.

·         The showdown begins with all remaining players begins when the last player.

·         The best Poker Hands Wins and Claims the Pot.


Basic Texas Hold'em strategy

Before the Flop

Starting Hands:  Position, Patience and Power are the key to winning in Texas Hold’em. The most important decision you will make is choosing to play a starting hand. The biggest mistake a player makes is playing too many hands. Being aware of your Position in relationhip to the dealer is important in Texas Hold’em. You need a stronger hand to act from early position because you have more players acting after you who may raise or re-raise the pot. It is important that you are Patient and wait for Powerful starting hands to play from the correct position. The player to the left of the big blind acts first before the flop. He along with the other two players to his left are in early position. The next three players are middle position and the ones after that are in late position.  The blinds act last before the flop and first after it. Here are some guidelines for stating hands that I recommend you play when you are starting out. They are fairly tight but will give you a good foundation to work with until you learn a little more about the game.

In Early position Raise with A-A, K-K and A-Ks from any position. (s denotes suited cards) Call with A-K, A-Qs, K-Qs and Q-Q J-J, T-T and fold everything else.

In Middle position: Call with, 9-9, 8-8, A-Js, A-Ts, Q-Js, A-Q, K-Q

In Late position:  Call with A-Xs, K-Ts, Q-Ts, J-Ts, A-J, A-T and small pairs. (note: x denotes any card) It takes a stronger hand to call a raise than it does to make with one, If there is a raise before it is your turn to act you should fold. Why put in two bets with marginal hands?

Note Many players will play any two suited cards from any position and they will play an Ace with any small kicker. These hands are losers in the long run and you should avoid getting into the habit of playing them. They are traps that will cost you money.

The Blinds

Once you post your blind the money no longer belongs to you. Many players feel they must defend their blinds by calling all raises even with marginal hands. Don’t waste additional money on marginal hands. Also, don’t automatically call with the small blind if you have nothing. Saving a half bet will pay for your next small blind.

The Flop

Deciding whether to continue playing after seeing the flop will be your second biggest decision. It can also be one of the most costly decisions if you continue after the flop with an inferior hand. It is said

that the flop defines your hand. That is because after the flop your hand will be 71 percent complete. Where does this figure come from? Assuming you play your hand out to the end, it will consist of seven cards. After the flop you have seen five cards or 5/7 of the final hand, which is equal to 71 percent. With this much of your hand completed you should have enough information to determine whether to continue. Poker Author Shane Smith coined the phrase “Fit or Fold. If the flop does not fit your hand by giving you top pair, or better or a straight or flush draw, then you should fold if there is a bet in front of you. If you played a small pair from late position and you do not flop a third one to make a set you should throw the pair away if there is a bet.

The Turn

If you think you have the best hand after seeing the Turn card and are first to act, then go ahead and bet. Many players will try to get fancy and attempt to check raise in this position. If the other players also check, you have lost a bet or two. In low limit games the straight forward approach is usually the best as there are plenty of players who will call you. Make them pay. Why give them a free card if you don’t have to.  If another player raises on the turn and you hold only one pair you are more than likely beaten and should fold.  If you get to the Turn and you hold only two unsuited overcards (two cards higher that any cards on the board) with no flush or straight draws, then you should fold if there is a bet in front of you. Too much money is lost by players who hope to catch a miracle card on the river. The best hand you can make with two unsuited overcards is a pair which will probably lose anyways.

The River

If you have been playing properly you will not see the river card unless you have a strong hand that is a favorite to win or you have a draw to a winning hand. Once the river card is turned over, you know exactly what you have. If you were drawing to a hand, you know whether you were successful or not. Obviously if you do not make your hand you will fold.

As with the Turn you should bet your hand if you are first to act. If you bet and the other player folds then they more than likely would have just checked if you had checked in an attempt to check raise.

When you get to the river there are two mistakes that you can make. One is to call a losing bet, which will cost you the price of a bet. The other is to fold your hand, which will cost you all the money in the pot.

Obviously folding your hand will be a far more costly mistake then merely calling a bet. If there is a slight chance you may have the winning hand you should call. I’m not advocating calling with nothing but you should call if there is a chance to win.

Reading The Board

Your ability to read the board will help make you a winning player and it is not hard to learn. Since Texas Hold’em is played with community cards turned up for all to see, you can easily determine the best possible hand that can be made from the board cards and two unseen cards. It is extremely important that you learn determine how your hand stacks up against the other possible hands that your opponents may hold. Two situations should send up a red flag when you see them.

If there are three suited cards on the board someone can make a flush. If a player raises when the third suited card is turned over you should be wary of continuing. If there is a pair on the board a player can make four of a kind or a full house.

Pay Attention

When you are not involved in a hand you should still pay attention to the game. You can gain valuable information about your opponents simply by observing what hands they play. It’s easy to determine the players who plays and suited cards, or single aces by watching the hands they turn over at the end. That brings me to one final tip.

NEVER SHOW YOUR HAND if you don’t have to. If you win the pot because everyone else folded you are under no obligation to show your cards. You don’t want to give away any information about yourself if you don’t have to And player who turn over their cards when they don’t have to are doing just that.

See Caribbean Stud Strategy


5-Card Stud

All players place a small wager known as an 'ante'.

1.    The dealer deals each player two cards, one dealt face down, known as the 'hole' card and the other face up.

2.    The player with the lowest ranking up card must place the opening bet.

3.    Each player to the left of the player making the opening bet must in turn call the opening bet, raise it or fold.

4.    Each player is then dealt another card face up followed by a round of betting. This continues until all players have five cards, one face down and four face up or until only one-player remains.

From the third card onwards, the highest poker hand showing starts the betting.  All players have five cards in their hand, one down and four up.  If there is a showdown, players show all five cards. The winning hand is the highest-ranking five-card poker hand.

Basic 5-card stud strategy

You can see most of your opponents cards, so you should be able to easily work out his strongest hand. If you cannot beat the exposed cards, fold early. If you need completer cards for a flush or a straight, make sure other players are not showing them. High cards and pairs will win a lot of the hands.  

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