Hand Rankings

Royal Flush

Poker Hand Rankings

Ace high Straight Flush.

Ace of Spades King of Spades Queen of Spades Jack of Spades 10 of Spades in a single suit. Also frequently referred to as "Broadway".

Straight Flush

Five consecutive cards of the same suit.

Five sequential cards in the same suit. The highest type of Straight Flush is a Royal Flush, and the lowest is an A-2-3-4-5 hand (if Aces are low or high/low). This type of hand is referred to as a "Steel Wheel". Other Straight Flushes with special names include:

  • King of Clubs Queen of Clubs Jack of Clubs 10 of Clubs 9 of Clubs - Off Broadway (because it's shifted down one rank from a Royal Flush, or "Broadway").

Four of a Kind

One of each suit in a single rank.

Also known as Quads. Many of the Four of a Kind hands have their own nicknames:

  • King of Clubs King of Diamonds King of Hearts King of Spades - Four Horsemen (of the Apocalypse)
  • Queen of Clubs Queen of Diamonds Queen of Hearts Queen of Spades - Village People (four Queens)
  • 10 of Clubs 10 of Diamonds 10 of Hearts 10 of Spades - Larry, after Larry Fortensky (four-ten-sky), Elizabeth Taylor's eighth husband
  • 4 of Clubs 4 of Diamonds 4 of Hearts 4 of Spades - Yacht Club (because the 4 resembles a sail)
  • 3 of Clubs 3 of Diamonds 3 of Hearts 3 of Spades - Forest (four "trees")
  • 2 of Clubs 2 of Diamonds 2 of Hearts 2 of Spades - Mighty Ducks (because the 2 resembles a duck)

Full House

Three of a Kind and One Pair.

A Full House is called as "X over Y" where X is the Three of a Kind and Y is the Pair (e.g., in a A-A-A-Q-Q hand, you would call it as "Full House, Aces over Queens").

A Full House is sometimes called a boat or a full boat. When called a Boat/Full Boat, the hand is announced as "X full of Y" (e.g., the same A-A-A-Q-Q hand would be called a "Full Boat, Aces full of Queens"). Some Full House hands have special nicknames:

  • Ace of Clubs Ace of Diamonds 2 of Clubs 2 of Diamonds 2 of Hearts - Marksman (bows and arrows)
  • 7 of Clubs 7 of Diamonds 7 of Clubs 4 of Diamonds 4 of Hearts - Sailing rednecks
  • 3 of Clubs 3 of Diamonds 3 of Clubs 2 of Diamonds 2 of Hearts - Nits and Lice, Mites and Lice

Flush

Five cards of the same suit.

Any five cards, all of which are in the same suit. A Flush all in hearts is referred to as "Valentine's" while a flush all in clubs is known as a "Golf Bag".

Straight

Five consecutive cards.

Five cards in sequential order (but not all in the same suit, or it would be a Straight Flush). Also known as a Run (in many melding/counting games, such as gin and its variants, cribbage, and canasta, a Straight is referred to as a Run, and the name has carried over into poker).

  • 6 of Clubs 5 of Diamonds 4 of Hearts 3 of Spades 2 of Clubs - Rabbit (the lowest Straight Flush if Aces are high)
  • 5 of Clubs 4 of Diamonds 3 of Hearts 2 of Spades Ace of Clubs - Wheel, Bicycle, Bike, Spike, First Street, Little Wheel (the lowest run if Aces are low or high/low)

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same rank. Also known as Trips, a Set, or Triplets. Three-card combinations that have special names include:

  • Ace of Clubs Ace of Diamonds Ace of Hearts - Beatles reunion
  • King of Clubs King of Diamonds King of Hearts - Three Wise Men, Christmas Special (both references to "Three Kings"), Alabama Night Riders, Ku Klux Klan (KKK is an abbreviation for the Ku Klux Klan, and "Alabama Night Riders" is a colloquial term used to refer to this group, which has a history of carrying out their acts at night in rural ateas)
  • Queen of Clubs Queen of Diamonds Queen of Hearts - Six Tits
  • Jack of Clubs Jack of Diamonds Jack of Hearts - Hart, Schaffner, and Marx (Three Jacks)
  • 10 of Clubs 10 of Diamonds 10 of Hearts - Dallas to Fort Worth (the I-10 connects these two Texas Cities), San Jose to Gilroy, Gilroy, Thirty Miles of bad road (the distance between San Jose and Gilroy, California, used to be 30 miles, although the two cities are now adjoining)
  • 7 of Clubs 7 of Diamonds 7 of Hearts - 21, Slot Machine, Jackpot (all named after results in other casino games like Blackjack and Slots)
  • 6 of Clubs 6 of Diamonds 6 of Hearts - The Devil, The Beast, Lucifer, Devil's Area Code
  • 5 of Clubs 5 of Diamonds 5 of Hearts - Washington Monument, Pork Chop Sandwiches
  • 4 of Clubs 4 of Diamonds 4 of Hearts - Grand Jury
  • 2 of Clubs 2 of Diamonds 2 of Hearts - Huey, Dewey, and Louie (three ducks)

Two Pairs

Two pairs, each with two cards of the same rank. Notable named two pair combinations include:

  • Ace of Clubs Ace of Diamonds 8 of Clubs 8 of Diamonds - Dead Man's Hand (Arrows and Nooses)
  • King of Clubs King of Diamonds Queen of Clubs Queen of Diamonds - Mommas and Poppas
  • King of Clubs King of Diamonds 9 of Clubs 9 of Diamonds - Pair of Dogs (because it's K9K9-- two canines)
  • Queen of Clubs Queen of Diamonds 3 of Clubs 3 of Diamonds - San Francisco Waiters (Queens with Trays/Treys)
  • Jack of Clubs Jack of Diamonds 5 of Clubs 5 of Diamonds - Jackson Five (Jacks and Fives), Motown, Rock and Roll
  • Jack of Clubs Jack of Diamonds 3 of Clubs 3 of Diamonds - Hookers with Crabs (because the Jacks hook and the 3 is like a sideways crab)
  • 9 of Clubs 9 of Diamonds 8 of Clubs 8 of Diamonds - Oldsmobile
  • 9 of Clubs 9 of Diamonds 6 of Clubs 6 of Diamonds - Dinner for Four
  • 3 of Clubs 3 of Diamonds 2 of Clubs 2 of Diamonds - Socks and Shoes, Mites and Lice, Mits and Mites, Nits and Lice

One Pair

Two cards of the same rank. The poker hand that contains a single pair that is the most worth noting is the Princess Leia (an A-A-2-3), so called because the room in which Leia was imprisoned in Star Wars was room A-A-2-3. The best known names given to (pocket) pairs include:

  • Ace of Clubs Ace of Diamonds - Pocket Rockets, Bullets, American Airlines
  • King of Clubs King of Diamonds - Cowboys, King Kong
  • Queen of Clubs Queen of Diamonds - Bitches, Double date, Canadian Aces, Siegfried and Roy
  • Jack of Clubs Jack of Diamonds - Fish Hooks
  • 9 of Clubs 9 of Diamonds - German Virgin (no, we don't know why.)
  • 8 of Clubs 8 of Diamonds - Snowmen
  • 7 of Clubs 7 of Diamonds - Sunset Strip, Hockey Sticks
  • 6 of Clubs 6 of Diamonds - Route 66
  • 5 of Clubs 5 of Diamonds - Speed limit
  • 4 of Clubs 4 of Diamonds - Magnum, Sail Boat
  • 3 of Clubs 3 of Diamonds - Crabs
  • 2 of Clubs 2 of Diamonds - Ducks

High Card

While the high card is the lowest possible hand in poker (every poker hand automatically has a "high card" in it-- the card with the greatest value), it comes into play in some poker variants more than others. Poker rookies often underestimate the value of the high card.

Texas Hold'em, for instance, is frequently referred to as a game of high cards because a player with higher cards always has an advantage. If player 1 holds K-Q and player 2 holds J-10, there are three possible outcomes:

  1. The flop makes player 1's hand, and player 1 wins.
  2. The flop makes player 2's hand, and player 2 wins.
  3. The flop doesn't make either player's hand, and player 1 wins again.
Dead Mans Hand

The player with high cards has a statistical advantage and will win 63% of the time.

Well known nicknames given to pocket hands are:

  • Ace of Clubs King of Diamonds - Big Slick, Anna Kournikova (looks great, never wins!)
  • Ace of Clubs Queen of Diamonds - Big Chick
  • Ace of Clubs Jack of Diamonds - Black Jack, Jack-Ass
  • King of Clubs Queen of Diamonds - Royalty, Marriage
  • King of Clubs Jack of Diamonds - Kojak
  • Jack of Clubs 5 of Diamonds - Jackson Five
  • Queen of Clubs 3 of Diamonds - Gay Waiter
  • 9 of Clubs 5 of Diamonds - Dolly Parton
  • Ace of Clubs 8 of Diamonds - Dead Man's Hand (player Wild Bill Hickok was shot in 1876 after winning with it!)
  • King of Clubs 9 of Diamonds - Canine
  • Jack of Clubs 4 of Diamonds - Flat Tire