The Most Common Winning Hand in Poker
Poker is one of the most popular casino games played around the country. With growing popularity, more people than ever are learning and honing poker skills. The more poker you play, the more you will realize that although royal flushes are the best hand to win a game of poker, they are not the most common. Most often, two pairs or a simple pair will win the game. 31% of the time, two pairs will win a game of poker, and 27% of the time, a pair will win a game. To put these percentages in perspective, only 1% of the time will there be a royal flush that wins a game of poker.
Poker-hand Ranking System
While the most common hands to win a game of poker are two pairs or a pair, it’s still important for players to know the poker-hand ranking system. Understanding the most common winning hands and hand rankings is crucial to playing strategically and winning more poker games.
Here are 10 winning hands, including examples of the cards that make them up, in order of the best hand possible to least:
- Royal Flush – The best hand possible in the game of poker. To have a royal flush, a player must have five consecutive cards, from 10 through an ace, all of the same suit. For example, a 10 of hearts, jack of hearts, queen of hearts, king of hearts, and ace of hearts.
- Straight Flush – Five consecutive cards in the same suit, but they do not have to be a 10 through ace. A straight flush can be any sequential cards of the same suit. For example, four of spades, five of spades, six of spades, seven of spades, and eight of spades. The only hand that can beat a straight flush is a royal flush.
- Four of a Kind – The same card in all four suits. For example, this winning hand could be made up of the ace of hearts, the ace of spades, the ace of diamonds, and the ace of clubs.
- Full House – Three of a kind, along with the same rank card in two different suits. For example, a queen of hearts, queen of spades, queen of clubs, six of hearts, and six of diamonds. If there is more than one full house presented, the winner is the hand with the highest value three of a kind.
- Flush – Five cards in any order, all of the same suit. For example, two, six, eight, queen, and king of diamonds. If more than one flush is presented, the winner is the hand with the highest valued card.
- Straight – Five cards in sequential order of any combination of suits. For example, two of hearts, three of clubs, four of clubs, five of spades, and six of diamonds. In a straight, an ace can rank either above a king or below a two, but cannot be used as both in the same hand.
- Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same rank in any three suits.
- Two Pairs – Two different sets of pairs, each with two cards of the same rank.
- Pair – Two cards of the same value in different suits.
- High Card – The highest card in the hand, which is the king of spades.
Most Common vs. Best Hand
There is a big difference between poker’s most common winning hands and the best hands to play. Higher-ranking hands are much less frequently achieved, while lower-ranking hands are much more common and used to win much more often. While striving for a royal flush or full house is beneficial, it’s much more realistic to coordinate and win with two pairs or just a pair.