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Poker Hand Rankings - Winning Poker Hands in Texas Hold em
Beginning players need to start their education in Texas hold em by knowing the order of winning poker hands and their ranking, from lowest to highest. This is a simple process of memorization, and as you become more familiar with poker hands through experience, you'll be able to read the board in an instant.
All forms of poker share the same hand rankings, i.e. whether you're playing Texas hold em, stud, Omaha, or five card draw, the available poker hands one can make and their relative ranking always remains the same.
One source of confusion for beginners is the number of cards in a poker hand. Poker hands always consist of five cards, even in games like Texas holdem or Omaha where the player can choose from more than five cards in building his/her hand. In Texas hold em, for example, you're "holding" two personal cards and sharing five community cards with the other players at the table. That gives you a total of seven cards to choose from, in which to make your best five card hand.
Now, all poker hands are five card hands. Even the poker hand with the lowest rank, called a "high card", is in fact a five card hand. High card is when you have no pair, straight or flush: five mismatched cards of varying suits. If your hand consists of an ace, a queen, a ten, a five and a deuce, and they are not all the same suit, you have a "high card" ace. You'll beat any other player that does not have an ace in their hand. If, in fact, another player also has ace-high, you'll compare your next highest card (in this case the queen), to see who has the best hand. You continue in sequence down through all five cards to determine who has the best hand. If your five highest cards are exactly the same as the other player's, you have a tie and split the pot.
The following poker hands chart illustrates the poker hand rankings in order, from the strongest possible winning hand to the weakest hand: