Poker is a classic card game with many variations, and each variation changes up the way the cards are dealt and played. The common thread between most of these games and their attached poker strategy is poker hand rankings. Poker’s universal hand rankings are listed below from lowest to highest value.
1. High Card - The highest ranking card on the table when no combinations are present (usually an ace).
2. Pair - Two cards of the same rank.
3. Two Pair - Two different pairs.
4. Three of a Kind - Three cards of the same rank.
5. Straight - Five cards in numerical sequence that are not of the same suit.
6. Flush - Any five cards of the same suit that are not in numerical sequence.
7. Full House - A three of a kind and a pair.
8. Four of a Kind - Four cards of the same rank.
9. Straight Flush - Five cards in numerical sequence that are also of the same suit.
10. Royal Flush - A, K, Q, J and 10, all of the same suit. This is the best possible hand per traditional hand rankings.
Some common poker games, their descriptions and their online poker rules are listed below. Most online poker rooms offer all of these variants.
Texas Holdem Poker Rules
Texas Holdem is a popular poker game and is widely televised in the U.S. and Europe. Each player is dealt two hole cards that only they can use. Five communal cards are then dealt to the table in three rounds, and players may use any combination of these community cards and their own hole cards to build their final five card hands. Players first bet on their hole cards. After the first three community cards are dealt (called the "flop") another round of betting ensues. There are two more rounds of betting (the "turn" and the "river"), and then two more rounds of betting which conclude with the showdown.
Omaha Holdem Poker Rules
Omaha is a variation on Texas Holdem. With online poker rules, the cards are dealt the same way, but the players get four hole cards instead of two, and their hand must contain exactly two of those hole cards plus exactly three community cards.
Omaha Hi-Lo Poker Rules
Omaha Hi-Lo adds a low hand element to to the traditional high version of Omaha. In Hi-Lo, the pot is split between the highest and lowest hands. To be eligible for the low pot, a player must have at least five cards of 8 or less in value, not including pairs.
Seven Card Stud Poker Rules
In this game, the players are dealt seven cards and choose five of them for their final hands. The first deal is three cards: two face-down and one face-up. The player with the lowest card showing makes the first bet. Betting rounds continue after each card that is dealt. The fourth and fifth cards are face down, the sixth is face-up, and the final card is also face-down.
Seven Card Hi-Lo Poker Rules
Once again, Seven Card Hi-Lo adds a low hand element to the traditional high hand style Seven Card game. And once again a player must have a hand of five cards with a value of 8 or less. Per online poker rules, if no player’s hand meets this requirement, no low hand qualifies and the best high hand wins the entire pot.
Razz Poker Rules
This is a low-only version of Seven Card Stud. The cards are dealt in the same fashion as Seven Card Stud, but now the entire pot goes to the lowest hand. The players must choose the lowest five cards out of their seven, and the player with the overall lowest hand wins. Flushes and straights do not effect the rank, so A, 2, 3, 4, 5 (called "the wheel") is the best possible Razz hand.
Five Card Draw Poker Rules
Five Card Draw is the most basic poker game still being played. Each player is dealt five cards face down. After a round of betting, each player may choose to discard up to three cards. The dealer then replaces each player's discards with new cards. The five cards each player now holds represent their final hands. Players bet again and then reveal their hands to determine the winner.
For poker strategy advice that applies to all seven of these variations, see our poker tips page.
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