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The first thing a player must learn when they decide to take up the sport of poker are the hand rankings. Learning this fundamental part of the game is the first thing a player must do if they want to stand a chance at any poker table.

The lowest hand a player can have is a pair. A player can hold a pair that comes from their hole cards or by having one card in their hand that pairs with a card on the board (the community cards). The highest card on the board or the other hole card then becomes what is called a kicker. For example, if a player has A/J and the board reads A/10/5, the player has a pair of Aces with a Jack kicker. The higher the kicker, the better your chance of winning the hand.

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After beating a pair, the next highest hand is two pairs. Players must use their hole cards in order two make two pairs (with the community cards). The only exception here is when the board itself makes two pairs. Again, having a high kicker here is crucial.

The next biggest hand is three of a kind. With this hand, a player either hits three of a kind through their hole cards (by either flopping, turning, or rivering a third card) or by having the board come with a matching pair for one of your hole cards. An example of this comes when a player is holding a pair of twos and the flop comes 4/5/2.

The next highest ranking hand is called a flush. This occurs when a player matches the suit of five cards at once. For example, a player holds two spades in their hand and the flop brings three spades.

A flush is beat out by a full house. This occurs when a player uses their hole cards to combine with three of a kind giving the player a pair and three of a kind at once. An example of this is when a player holds pocket Aces and the flop comes A/K/K.

A full house is beaten by four of a kind. A player must land four of the same cards in the hand. This is the third most difficult hand to achieve on the game.

Four of a kind is beaten by a straight flush. This occurs when a player has both a flush and a straight at once.

The highest ranking hand in poker is the royal flush. This magical hand happens when a player gets an all-face card straight flush. It is the most difficult hand to land. An example of this is when a player holds A/K of spades and the flop comes 10/J/Q of spades.


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