Poker High and Low Hand Rankings

Fixed poker rules dictate which hand beats what. In this page, you will find the standard hand listings. You will also learn about the best low hands for use in some poker games where the lowest hand wins.

Poker Card Rankings

In most games, cards have their usual values. In order from highest to lowest, they are:

Ace, king, queen, jack, 10… 2.

Suits are not considered except in some variants.

Poker Hand Rankings

From high to low:

Royal Flush: suited ace, king, queen, jack and 10. Straight Flush: any suited consecutive five cards, ex: jack, 10, 9, 8, 7. Four of a Kind: four identical cards, ex: all 2 cards (the fifth card can be any card and is not part of the hand). Full House: three identical cards and two identical cards. Flush: any suited, but non-consecutive five cards, ex: all diamonds. Straight: any consecutive, but non-suited five cards, ex: 5, 4, 3, 2. ace. Three of a Kind: three identical cards. Two Pair: two pairs of identical cards. One Pair: two identical cards.

Tiebreaks and the Kicker

If two players have the same ranked hand, the hand with the higher card wins.

Example: John has a pair with two A’s. Arthur has a pair with two 7’s. John wins since aces rank higher than 7’s.

Example: Antonia has a full house with three J’s and two 5’s. Jules has a full house as well with three 4’s and two 5’s. Antonia wins since jacks beat fours. (In a full house, the three cards in it is the deciding factor.)

If two players have the same cards in the same hand, the hand with the highest “kicker” wins.

Example: Miguel and Candy are playing Texas Holdem. The board flashes two K’s so they both have a pair at the showdown. Sean’s hole cards are J-8. Candy has Q-10. Candy wins since queens are higher than jacks.

If no one makes a hand, the player with the highest card wins. If they have the same high card, judgment turns to their second highest cards.

Example: Alvin, Simon and Theodore play 5 Card Draw. At the showdown, Alvin has 3-7-A-5-2. Simon has 7-9-10-J-A. Theodore has Q-K-5-6-3. Alvin and Simon both have aces. Alvin’s next highest card is a 7. Simon has a jack. Simon wins.

Poker Low Hand Rankings

When you get bored playing for the highest hand, try lowball or high/low poker. Lowball is a draw poker game where it is the lowest poker hand that wins. High/low or hi/low is a “split pot” game like Omaha Hi/Lo where the prize money is split between the highest hand and the lowest hand.

The lowest hand may be 5-4-3-2-A or A-2-3-4-5. But that is if straights and flushes are disregarded. This is known as a “wheel” and is the best hand in Ace to 5 Lowball and Omaha Hi/Lo.

In Kansas City Lowball, the best hand is 7-5-4-3-2 or 2-3-4-5-7 of at least two suits. Straights and flushes are in effect, so the best hand cannot be A-2-3-4-5.

Below are the best low hands for all high/low poker games and most low variants:

A-2-3-4-5 A-2-3-4-6 A-2-3-5-6 A-2-4-5-6 A-3-4-5-6 2-3-4-5-6 A-2-3-4-7 A-2-3-5-7 A-2-4-5-7 A-3-4-5-7

When judging between two hands, turn them backwards starting from the highest number.

Qualifying Low Hands

In some games not every hand can be a low hand. In Omaha 8 or Better, for example, a hand qualifies as a low hand only if none of its cards is 9 or higher. Otherwise, there is no winning low hand and the high hand gets the whole pot.


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