Card Games For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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Poker may be the best-known card game, and if you’re going to play, you need to know how the hands rank. The following details the various Poker hands from the highest-ranking to lowest, along with the odds of catching such a hand:

  • Royal straight flush: The top five cards (A-K-Q-J-10) in one of the four suits. Odds: 650,000 to 1.

  • Straight flush: Any sequence of five cards from the same suit (such as the 2-3-4-5-6 of clubs). If two players have straight flushes on the same hand, the higher sequence outranks the lower one. Odds: 75,000 to 1.

  • Four of a kind: Four of any one card; the fifth card in the hand can be anything. If two players have four of a kind at the same time, the rank of the four cards determines the better hand. If two players have equal ranked quads, the rank of the fifth card determines who wins. Odds: 4,150 to 1.

  • Full house: Three of a kind matched with a pair — for example, three 10s and two 9s. If two players both have a full house, the higher three of a kind determines the better hand. Odds: 700 to 1.

  • Flush: Five cards of the same suit, no sequence required. When two players have flushes, the highest card in each flush determines the better hand; if the top cards are the same, you look at the second card, and so on. Odds: 500 to 1.

  • Straight: Five cards of consecutive rank (in numerical sequence) in any suit. If two players have straights, the top card of the straight determines the winner. Odds: 250 to 1.

  • Three of a kind: Also knows as triplets, trips, or a set, this hand consists of three cards of the same numeric value, together with two unmatched cards. The higher-ranking three of a kind wins. Odds: 47 to 1.

  • Two pair: Four cards in two pairs with an unmatched fifth card. Ties are broken by the value of the top pair, followed by the value of the second pair, and finally by the spare card. Odds: 20 to 1.

  • One pair: One pair with three unmatched cards is the second-lowest hand. The rank of the pair, followed by the unmatched cards, splits the tie. Odds: 2 to 5.

  • High card: The weakest hand, high card means you have five unmatched cards. The top card in the hand determines the better collection. If two hands tie, such as two hands with ace-high, you move to the second card, and so on. Odds: 1 to 1.

About This Article

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Barry Rigal was born with a deck of cards in his hand. Having started with the children’s games, Whist, Rummy, and Solitaire, he moved on to Bridge at the age of 12. After graduating from Oxford University (where he captained the Bridge team), he worked in accountancy. Highlights of his work career were learning how to play Piquet and Clobyosh in the Tax Department of Thomson McLintock. After four years with Price Waterhouse, supervising the partnership’s Bridge team, he went into the world of business, working seven years in the Oil Taxation department of Conoco. During that time he began a career as a journalist and commentator on card games. Over the course of the last two decades he has written newspaper and magazine articles and six books on Bridge.

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