Poker is one of the few forms of gambling where luck does not play the main role when determining winners in a longer time span. Here we are referring to the so called club poker, which is played between people and not any of casino poker types, such as Caribbean or Casino Hold’em. That’s actually the beauty of club poker and exactly what attracts millions of people to this game – the possibility of winning longterm and having a positive expected value (EV).
However it is not all that simple. In order for you to ‘’beat’’ the game, you have to be more proficient than other players playing at your table. This is where strategy and knowledge comes in place. None was born with it, but you can surely master it. If you are a newbie to the game and don’t even know the rules, this is the place to start. In this article we’ll look at poker hand hierarchy or determining the strength of your hand, to make it simpler.
Hold’em Hand Hierarchy
Hol’dem is a variation of club poker that is played with two hole cards and five community cards. Currently this is the most popular type of the game and offered by any online poker site as well as land based, brick & mortar rooms.
The goal in Hold’em is to make the best 5 card hand combination, using your hole cards and the community cards that are dealt on the table. However, you don’t necessarily have to use both or either of the two cards dealt. The goal is to make the best possible combination out of all 7 cards. Find the poker hand rankings below:
- Royal Flush – AKQJ10 all of the same suit
- Straight Flush – 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. Example: 789TJ all of the same suit.
- Full House – Three Cards of the same value + a pair. Example: AAAKK
- Flush – 5 cards of the same suit
- Straight – 5 consecutive cards. They don’t have to be of the same suit.
- Three of a Kind – three cards of the same value.
- Two Pair – AAKK5 for example
- Pair – AA456 for example.
- High Card – no pair, flush or straight. Such as AK59T
Important: In Hold’em poker, you DO NOT have to use your hole cards. If the board cards make a higher hand combination by their own, your cards are irrelevant and you’re playing the board!
Omaha Hand Hierarchy
Omaha is a poker type that has been getting more and more popular as of late. It’s played with 4 hole cards and 5 comunitty cards, thus provide players with way more action. This is simply due to combinatorics – having all players hold 4 hole cards account for strong hand combinations being made more often. That strongly collerates with the action we just referred to. It’s way more likely that two very strong hands will be made in Omaha, when compared to Hold’em.
So how are hands valued in Omaha? Actually the same way as in Hold’em poker, with one slight, but very important difference.
Important: When playing Omaha, you have to use exactly 2 of your hole cards to make the best possible 5 card hand. It does not matter whether there is a royal flush dealt on the board. Your hand will be as strong as 2 of your hole cards +3 comunitty cards.
There is also one very common mistake for new players who have just started to learn this game. When there are 4 to flush or straight (the board features 4 out of 5 cards needed to complete flush or straight), players wrongly believe that they have made either of the two combinations, when holding the missing card. Though, you will not, as you will always remember that exactly 2 of your hole cards have to be used for making the best combination possible.
You hold 6789 and the board is 6655A. You do not have a full house in this example, like you would, when holding either a 6 or 5 in Hold’em. Again, two cards are used from your hand to make the best possible combination. Hence, your hand, when combined with the board is 6669A for ‘’three of a kind’’. If anyone would be to hold a flush in this example, he would have a better hand.
You should now have just enough knowledge to try your first few rounds of playing poker. Of course, the journey towards becoming a great poker player has just begun for you. We would suggest that you browse other of our poker strategy articles. There is only one way to get better in poker and that’s by constantly striving to be the best and learning.