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Poker Hand Ranking

There are 3 main poker hand-ranking systems.

  • 1.   Traditional poker games use the high poker hand ranking system.  
  • 2.   Lowball games use either the A-5 (California) or 2-7 (Kansas City) poker hand ranking orders.  
  • 3.   Split pot games can use a combination of these systems.  

For more information on poker hand ranking systems used and how to construct hands for each game visit our Poker Hands page.

High Poker Hand Ranking Order

The following list shows the poker hand ranking from worst to best

High Card - Poker Hand RankingsHigh Card

Five unrelated cards, such as A♠ J♦ 8♣ 4♦ 2♥.

One Pair

Pair - Poker Hand Ranking

Two cards of matching rank with three unrelated side cards, also called kickers, such as A♠ A♦ K♥ 8♦ 3♠.  Highest kickers used to break ties.

Two Pair

Two Pairs - Poker Hand Ranking

Two pairs with one kicker, such as K♠ K♦ T♠ T♥ 8♦.  Highest pair wins.  If two players have the same highest pair, second highest pair wins.  If they have the same second pair, highest kicker wins.  

Three of a KindThree of a Kind

Three cards of matching rank with two kickers, such as T♠ T♥ T♦ 6♦ 3♦.  Highest kickers are used to break ties.

Straight

Straight - Poker Hand Rankings

Five consecutive cards, such as 8♦ 9♠ T♣ J♠ Q♦.  Highest card in the sequence wins if two players both make a straight.  The ace can be used as either high to make the Broadway straight, or low to make the a wheel. 

Flush

Flush - Poker Hand Rankings

Any five cards of the same suit, such as A♠ T♠ 8♠ 6♠ 2♠.  If two players make a flush the one with the highest rank wins.  If necessary, the second, third, fourth and fifth ranked cards may be used to break the tie.  

Full House

Poker Hand Rankings

Three of a kind matched with a pair, such as K♠ K♦ K♥ 8♣ 8♦.  Highest three of a kind wins in the event two players make full houses.  If both have the same three of a kind, highest pair wins.  

Four of a Kind - Poker Hand RankingsFour of a Kind (Quads)

Four cards of matching rank and one kicker, such as Q♠ Q♥ Q♦ Q♣ 4♦.  Highest kicker used to break ties.  

Straight Flush

Straight Flush - Poker Hand Rankings

A straight with all cards being the same suit, such as 5♦ 6♦ 7♦ 8♦ 9♦.  Highest card in the sequence wins when two players both make a straight flush.

Royal Flush

Royal Flush - Poker Hand Rankings

A straight from ten to ace with all cards being the same suit, such as T♠ J♠ Q♠ K♠ A♠.

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Ace to Five California Poker Hand Ranking System

 

 

Low Hand Ranking Order

Ace to Five

Under the A-5 (California) System:

  •    1.  Aces are always low
  •    2.  Straights and flushes do not count against you  

Therefore A♠ 2♠ 3♥ 4♣ 5♦ of any suits is the best hand.

When ranking hands, the hand is read from the highest card to the lowest.

The hand with the lowest high card wins.  

If two hands have the same highest card, the next card is used until the tie is broken.

For example, 7♥ 4♣ 3♦ 2♠ A♠ would beat 7♦ 6♣ 3♠2♥ A♥.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kansas City Deuce to Seven Poker Hand Ranking System

 

 

 

2-7 Kansas City

Under the A-5 (California) System:

  •    1.  Aces are always high
  •    2.  Straights and flushes do count against your hand  

Thus, 7♦ 5♦ 4♥ 3♣ 2♠ where at least two different suits are present is the best possible hand.  

Hands are read from high to low just as in the A-5 system.  

Thus 8♠ 7♠ 5♦ 4♦ 3♦ beats 9♠ 5♦ 4♠ 3♦ 2♥ despite the latter hand having a lower lowest card.   

Additionally, J♠ 7♠ 5♦ 4♦ 3♦ would beat 8♠ 7♠ 5♠ 4♠ 3♠ because the latter is a flush.  

The Kansas City Low Ball System is basically the exact inverse of the high poker hand ranking order.

In order from best to worst it runs:

  •    1.  Low Card (no pair)
  •    2.  1 Pair
  •    3.  2 Pair
  •    4.  3 of a Kind
  •    5.  Straight
  •    6.  Flush
  •    7.  4 of a Kind
  •    8.  Straight Flush
  •    9.  Royal Flush (worst hand possible)

For a printable poker hand ranking .pdf charts, see our Poker Hand Ranking Charts Page.