Poker Hands Order - Rankings Explained

Poker hands order is the most crucial aspect of winning at this game. 'Hands' are another word for groups of five cards, and some card combinations have higher value than other combinations. In other words, some hands are ranked higher than others. Here is an explanation of hands of poker in order from the highest to the lowest.

Royal Flush

The five cards that together hold the highest rank in this card game are known as the Royal Flush. It consists of king, queen, ten, jack, and ace. Each of these cards can belong to any suit (suits are: spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs). A queen diamond, for example, has the same value as queen club.

Straight Flush

The second highest in the poker hands order, the Straight Flush requires all five cards to be of the same suit and in proper order (individual card order from high to low is: ace, king, queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. The worth of this hand depends on the topmost card's value. Even if you have a king in the hand, if it lies below, say, jack, the hand is assigned the value of jack, not king.

Four of a Kind

The fourth in the poker hands order requires four cards to be of the same value, and the value of the fifth is not important. So four jacks would be a Four of a Kind, but this hand will be ranked lower than a Four that has four queens.

Full House

Sets of three and two cards each with same ranks within the set, but different outside the set would make a Full House. Three 9's and two 8's is a Full House, but this is ranked lower than three 10s and two 8s. If you and your opponent both have three 9s, then the value of the two-card set decides the winner.


Next in the poker hands order is a group of five cards that have the same suit. The winner among opposing depends on the individual rank of the topmost card (if the topmost cards are ranked same, the next card is considered).


If the five cards are individually ordered according to consecutive values (such as jack, 10, 9, 8, 7), you have a Straight on your.well.hands. Opposing hands are assigned ranks based on the rank of the topmost card.

Three of a Kind

Examples would be:

  • queen, queen, queen, jack, 10 (this hand is ranked higher than the one below because of the higher value of the three equal cards)
  • 10, 10, 10, 5, 3 (note the 3 + 1 +1 combination)
Two Pairs

Two pairs of cards with different ranks, and a fifth card to complete the hand - that describes the third lowest hand in the poker hands order. Examples: ace, ace, 10, 10, 5 and king, king, 9, 9, 6. In this example, the ace hand wins over king hand.

  • queen, queen, jack, 9, 6
  • ace, ace, 10, 9, 8 (this is the winning hand because ace is ranked higher than queen)
High Card

There is no relationship between the five cards in the hand; the hand with the highest ranked card is the winner.

Worst hand poker is another variation on these rules, where the lowest ranked hand is declared the winner.