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Texas Hold 'em Winning Hands

In determining winning hands, Texas Hold 'em is similar to other poker games such as five card stud. Of course Texas Hold 'em uses hole cards and community cards versus five card stud's approach, but both evaluate a winning hand at a showdown similarly.

Once the showdown occurs, the winning hand is determined by each player forming their best possible five card hand using the community cards and their own hole cards (best five cards out of a possible seven). The best hand is determined using the information below.

The information below is listed in order from the weakest hand to the strongest hand. The weakest hand you can have is a high card, while the strong hand you can have is a royal flush.

1. High card

Occurs when the hand cannot form a pair, three of a kind, or any other of the combinations listed below. If all players' hand is simply high card, then whichever player has the highest card wins. If players have the same high card, then you compare second highest card to determine the winner. If players have the same second highest card too, then you compare third highest card to determine winner. If players have the same third highest card too, then you compare fourth highest card to determine winner. If players have the same fourth highest card too, then you compare fifth highest card to determine winner.

2. Pair

Occurs when the hand has two cards of the same rank. If multiple players have a pair, the player with the highest pair wins. If players have the same pair, then you compare kickers to determine the winner. If players have the same kickers, you compare the second highest kicker. If players have the same second highest kickers, you compare the third highest kicker.

3. Two pair

Occurs when the hand has two cards of the same rank and two other cards of the same different rank. If multiple players have two pair, the player with the highest pair wins. If players have the same high pair, then compare the second pair to determine the winner. If players have identical two pairs, compare kickers to determine the winner.

4. Three of a kind

Occurs when the hand has three cards of the same rank. If multiple players have three of a kind, the player with the highest three of a kind wins. If players have the same three of a kind, the player with the higher kicker wins. If players have the same kicker, compare the second highest kicker to determine the winner.

5. Straight

Occurs when the hand has five cards in sequential rank order. For the purpose of a straight, an Ace can be counted as the highest card (above a King) or the lowest card (below a Two). In other words, A2345 and TJQKA are both valid straights. However, an Ace cannot be used as both the high and low simultaneously. For example, QKA23 is not a valid straight. If multiple players have a straight, the player with the straight with the highest card wins.

6. Flush

Occurs when the hand has five cards of the same suit. If multiple players have a flush, the player with the highest flushed card wins.

7. Full house

Occurs when the hand has three cards of the same rank, and two other cards of the same rank. If multiple players have full houses, the player with the highest ranking card in the three card set wins. If players have the same three card sets, then the player with the highest two card set wins.

8. Four of a kind

Occurs when the hand has four cards of the same rank. If multiple players have four of a kind, then the player with the highest four of a kind wins. If players have identical four of a kinds, then the player with the highest kicker wins.

9. Straight flush

Occurs when the hand has five cards of the same suit in sequential rank order.

10. Royal flush

Occurs when the hand has TJQKA of the same suit. It is a type of straight flush, however, unlike a straight flush, a royal flush cannot lose a hand, only at-worse split the pot.


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