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Winning Hands

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Here are the winning hands for high and low, plus a discussion of the 8 qualifier in high-low split games. Any disputes arising from these descriptions, or lack of description, will be settled by cardroom personnel at whose decision will be final.

Winning Poker High Hands

These are the winning hands in high only and high-low split games, listed from highest to lowest.

Royal Flush - The highest straight flush, five cards in sequence with all five cards of the same suit, having an ace as the high card. Example: T J Q K A.

Straight Flush - A straight (five cards in sequence) with all five cards of the same suit.
Example: 8 7 6 5 4.

Four of a Kind - Four cards of the same rank. Also known as quads. Example: K K K K 7, a hand called four kings or quad kings. In a contest among players holding four of a kind, the hand with the highest rank wins. For example, Q Q Q Q 6 beats 9 9 9 9 A.

Full House - Any three cards of one rank plus any two cards of another rank. Example: J J J 6 6, a hand called jacks full of sixes or simply jacks full. In a contest among players holding full houses, the hand with the highest three of a kind wins. For example, 5 5 5 3 3 beats 4 4 4 A A.

Flush - Five cards of the same suit. Example: A J 9 7 2. In a contest among players holding flushes, the hand with the highest top one or more cards wins. When the top cards are tied, the next card is compared; when the top two cards are tied, the third card is compared; and so on.
For example, A 9 8 7 6 beats K Q J 9 8, and 10 9 8 4 2 beats 10 9 7 6 5.

Straight - Five consecutive cards. An ace can be high or low. Examples: A K Q J 10, a hand known as an ace-high straight; A 2 3 4 5, a hand known as a 5-high straight. In a contest among players holding straights, the hand with the highest top card wins. For example, 10 9 8 7 6 beats 8 7 6 5 4.

Three of a Kind - Three cards of the same rank. Also known as trips or, especially in hold'em, a set.
Example: A A A K 2. In a contest among players holding three of a kind, the hand with the highest rank wins. For example, 10 10 10 3 2 beats 9 9 9 A K.

Two Pair - Two cards of one rank plus two cards of another rank. Example: A A K K 4, a hand called aces and kings or simply aces up. In a contest among players holding two pair, the hand with the highest pair wins. For example, A A 2 2 3 beats K K Q Q J. In a contest among players holding the same top pair, the hand with the highest second pair wins. For example, 10 10 9 9 4 beats 10 10 8 8 A. In a contest among players holding the same two pairs, the hand with the highest side card (also known as kicker) wins. For example, J J 9 9 4 beats J J 9 9 3.

One Pair - Two cards of the same rank. Example: 2 2 A K Q, a hand called variously a pair of twos, a pair of deuces, twos, or deuces. In a contest among players holding one pair, the hand with the highest pair wins. For example, A A 5 4 3 beats K K Q J 9. In a contest among players holding the same pair, the hand with the highest one or more side cards wins. For example, J J 9 8 4 beats J J 9 8 3.

No Pair - None of the above. Example: A K 9 3 2, a hand sometimes called ace high or ace-king high. If no hand is better at the showdown, the hand topped by the highest one or more cards wins. When the top cards are tied, the next card is compared; when the top two cards are tied, the third card is compared; and so on. For example, A 8 6 4 2 beats K Q J 10 8, and K Q J 9 4 beats K Q J 9 2.

Winning Poker Low Hands in High-Low Split Games

In high-low split games, the pot is split at the showdown between the best high hand and the best low hand that qualifies. To qualify, a hand must contain five cards ranked 8 or lower. Aces can be high or low—or both. In both Omaha (8 or Better) and Seven Card Stud (8 or Better), you can use a different combination of cards in your play for high and for low. Since straights and flushes do not count against your low, a low straight or flush can win both the high and the low halves of the pot.

For example, in a Seven Card Stud (8 or Better) these four hands are out:

  • Player 1: A K 9 9 8 7 4
  • Player 2: A 2 3 4 5 K J
  • Player 3: A 6 4 3 10 2 J
  • Player 4: Q Q A Q J 6 Q

Player 2 will probably win a very large pot, because his 5-high straight flush is the lowest hand—and it has beaten a 6-4; and it is also the highest hand—and it has beaten both a flush and quads.

The qualifier is important. For example, if your first four cards in Seven Card Stud (8 or Better) are A-2-3-4, unless you get a 5, 6, 7, or 8 among your next three cards, you cannot win the low half of the pot. In Omaha (8 or Better), if you do not have two cards 8 or lower among your four downcards, you cannot qualify for low. If three or more cards 8 or lower do not end up among the five community cards, no low is possible. In that case, the pot will not be split (unless two hands tie for high).

If two or more players have the same low hand, they split the low half of the pot. For example, in Omaha three players start with these hands:

  • Player 1: A 2 9 9
  • Player 2: A 2 4 5
  • Player 3: K K Q Q

The board ends up this way: 7 6 Q 4 10. Player 3 would win the high half of the pot, with three queens. Player 1 and Player 2 each has the low hand 7-6-4-2-A. They split the low half of the pot, each getting a fourth of the pot. The term for what has happened is that each has been quartered.

More examples of what beats what:

 

  • 7-5-3-2-A beats 7-6-3-2-A
  • 8-7-3-2-A beats 8-7-4-2-A
  • 8-5-4-3-2 beats 8-7-3-2-A
  • 6-5-4-3-2 beats 7-4-3-2-A

 

Top 25 Badugi Poker Hands

*All hands are considered to contain four unsuited cards

 

Rank of HandBadugi
1432A
2532A
3542A
4543A
55432
6632A
7642A
8643A
96432
10652A
11653A
126532
13654A
146542
156543
16732A
17742A
18743A
197432
20752A
21753A
227532
23754A
247542
257543