Poker was born in the saloons of the Wild West and is probably the most widespread game with plenty of variations. Unlike in Blackjack, in poker players are put against each other, involving a lot of psychology between them. The key part of the game is bluffing - pretending you have cards that you don’t in reality. Specific skills and talent are needed to make people believe you in order to win.
Basically poker uses a standard deck of 52 cards, but some variant games are played from multiple decks or with additional Jokers or Wild Cards.
The descending order of card ranks begins with Ace then King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and Ace. Ace can be high or low. There are four suits; hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds, but no suit is higher than another.
A hand consists of five cards. The hand highest in ranks wins. Jokers or Wild Cards, used in some variant games, can be labeled any rank and suit according to the possessor’s wishes.
The Ranking of Poker Hands
- Royal Flush
- Five of a Kind (with a Wild card or Joker)
- Straight Flush
- Four of a Kind
- Full House
- Three of a Kind
- Two Pair
- High Card
Five of a Kind can appear only when using wild cards and represents the highest possible hand. If there are several five-of-a-kind hands, the higher rank wins for example five queens are weaker than five kings, who in their turn are weaker than five Aces.
Straight Flush , consisting of five cards in sequence and of the same suit, is the best natural hand. The highest natural hand, Royal Flush or Royal Straight Flush, presents an Ace high straight-flush.
Four of a Kind is as its name implies - it is a hand of four same rank cards. In case there are more than one four-of-a-kind hands - the highest rank wins. Using many wild cards, as some game variants do, there could be two four-of-a-kind hands with the same rank. In this case, the rank of the fifth card is considered and the highest wins. This rule is applied to tied hands like two pairs or a pair. In case of dead heat the pot is split.
Full House is a hand that includes a pair and three-of-a-kind. Using Wild Cards hands are compared first by the three-of-a-kind ranking, then the pair.
Flush is a hand of five same suit cards in any order.
Straight is a hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence, for instance 5-6-7-8-9. An Ace may either be high (A-K-Q-J-10) or low (A-2-3-4-5).
Three of a Kind is a hand that contains three same rank cards. If the remaining two cards are a pair, then it becomes a Full House.
Two Pair and Pair are hands that contain only two or one pair accordingly.
High Card is a weak hand. If no player has a hand mentioned above, then the hand that contains the highest ranking card wins. If two or more players have same rank highest card, then the second highest card is considered, and the highest wins. It may be followed by the third and so long as the winner is found.