Guide to Live Poker Hands

What comes to mind when you think of the casino? While games like slots and roulette take up a lot of floor space in both brick-and-mortar and online casinos, perhaps the most iconic casino game of all time is poker. It has serious staying power and its many different variants have kept it interesting in the public eye.

In live casino alone, several different game types can be played, including classic Texas hold ‘em, three-card, and Caribbean stud. All these have different rule sets, and even the hands that lead to a win are often different.

So which are the best poker hands, and how do the different variants change this?

How To Play Poker

While there are a lot of different variations on the game of poker, as a game, it has some relatively universal rules that can be applied to almost all those variants. Here are the standard rules of poker that you should follow when playing and how a game will usually play out.

  • Each player at the table is presented with two cards by the game’s dealer
  • Before the players turn their cards over and see their hand, the two Blind bets are placed
  • The Flop is played and three cards are placed face up on the table
  • Players then take turns in Betting, Calling, Raising, or Folding - the latter seeing them return their cards and exit the game
  • The Turn is played where one more card is placed face up on the table - another round of Betting takes place
  • Finally, the River is played - the final face-up card- and players take part in the final round of Betting
  • The Showdown enters - this is where players will show their cards and the best hand at the table wins the pot

Top Ranking Poker Hands

Any poker game aims to achieve the best poker hand that you can; in the hope that you beat out everyone else at the table. While there are hands that can’t be trumped, on other occasions it’s about hoping you’ve got the highest at the table and staying in the action long enough to triumph even if you’ve memorised the poker hands guides.

Here are the definitive five-card poker hand rankings from best to worst. Keep in mind that different variants may have different ru,les and things like three-card poker hand rankings will be different.

Royal Flush

The ultimate and best poker hand - the royal flush is five cards of the same suit in consecutive order from 10 to Ace.

Straight Flush

This hand is made up of five consecutive cards of the same suit that are not a Royal Flush. So, 4,5,6,7, and 8 of Clubs, for example. The higher the value of the cards, the better the hand.

Four of a Kind

As it says on the tin, this hand includes four of the same cards from the suits in the deck. Higher value cards will beat lower value if there are two Four of a Kind hands.

Full House

Here, you will have a Three of a Kind, which is three of the same cards from the different suits, and a Pair, or two cards of the same value from the different suits. If there are multiple Full House hands at the table, the highest value, Three of a Kind determines the winner.


Don’t get this confused with a Royal or Straight Flush. This hand is made up of five cards of the same suit with no need for them to be in consecutive order. So, a 2,4,8,3, and 6 of Clubs, for example. If there are multiple at the table, the player with the highest value card in their hand wins.


This one is five cards of consecutive value from at least any two of the suits. Think 2 and 3 of Clubs, 4 and 5 of Hearts, and 6 of Diamonds as an example. The highest value final card wins if multiple are held at the table.

Three of a Kind

As we mentioned in the Full House, a Three of a Kind is three cards of the same value from three distinct suits - Queen of Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds, for example. If more than one player has this hand, the winner is decided by the value of their remaining two cards.

Two Pair

This is another that is pretty self-explanatory. The hand is made up of two pairs of cards of the same value from different suits. The highest value of pairs will decide the winner if there are multiple players with this hand.


Now that we know what a Two Pair is, you can probably guess what this hand will be. A pair is simply two cards of the same value from different suits. It is then made up from the highest value remaining three cards.

High Card

You’re probably not going to be winning many games with this hand. This is the weakest of the lot and is decided by the highest-value card in your hand. For example, the King will value a 2, 4, 7, 9, and King of multiple suits.

What Hands are the Most Common in Poker?

Now that you know which are the best possible outcomes after you’ve been dealt all your cards, you’re probably asking what are the most common poker hands? Obviously, it’s going to be pretty easy to have a High Card hand, given that this is essentially any five cards. However, if you’re wondering which are the most common cards that can actually win a game would be your Pairs.

A standard Pair has around a 50% chance of coming up because you can make this hand with a number of different combinations. A Two Pair is much less likely at under 8%, showing just how quickly the likelihood shifts. The least likely hand is, understandably, the Royal Flush, as it has just a little over a 0.0001% chance of turning up. These figures are based on many games over a long period of time, so this doesn’t necessarily reflect your specific probability of being dealt this hand. But this doesn’t answer “what is the best hand in poker”.

What is the Best Poker Hand?

The best hands in poker are ultimately the highest at the table in any given game. If you can bluff yourself to the end of a session and force players with stronger hands to fold, you could win with one from the bottom end of the rankings. However, for a clear answer to the question “what is the highest hand in poker”, there is only one answer, and that’s the Royal Flush. It’s the one every player is hoping for.

Take Time to Think | | 18+

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