Mastering Online Poker Basics

Poker Hand Rankings And Basic Terminology

Understanding hand rankings and basic terms is the key to unlocking its strategic depth. Let’s explore deeper into the hierarchy of hands and learn the essential vocabulary to navigate your next poker game.

Hand Rankings: Hierarchy Of The Card Combinations

Imagine a pyramid, with the strongest hand (Royal Flush) at the peak and the weakest (High Card) at the base. Each hand type requires a specific combination of cards, and the winner is determined by the highest-ranking hand present. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Royal Flush: The undisputed champion, it’s an unbeatable straight flush from Ten to Ace in the same suit (e.g., Ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace of Hearts).

  • Straight Flush: Any five consecutive cards in the same suit, like 7-8-9-10-Jack of Spades.

  • Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same rank, like four Queens with any kicker (a fifth card that doesn’t contribute to the four of a kind).

  • Full House (Boat): A three of a kind paired with a two-pair, for example, Three Eights and a Pair of Kings.

  • Flush: Five cards of the same suit, but not in consecutive order (e.g., Ace, King, Seven, Five, Three of Diamonds).

  • Straight: Five consecutive cards of any suit (e.g., 9-10-Jack-Queen-King).

  • Three of a Kind (Trips): Three cards of the same rank, accompanied by two unrelated cards.

  • Two Pair: Two sets of two cards with the same rank, plus one unrelated card.

  • One Pair: Two cards of the same rank, along with three unrelated cards.

  • High Card: The highest single card wins when no other hand combinations are present.

Basic Terminology: Speaking The Lingo

Now that you understand hand rankings, let’s explore some commonly used poker terms:

  • Community Cards (The Flop, Turn, and River): In games like Texas Hold’em, these are cards dealt face-up in the center of the table that all players can use to build their best five-card hand.

  • Hole Cards: The two cards dealt face-down to each player, which they combine with the community cards to form their hand.

  • Betting Actions: These are the options available during each round of betting, including:

  • Check: Decline to bet but remain in the hand.

  • Bet: Place a wager on the pot, forcing other players to call (match the bet) or fold (relinquish their hand).

  • Call: Match the current bet to stay in the hand.

  • Raise: Increase the size of the current bet, putting pressure on other players.

  • Fold: Discard your hand and forfeit any bets you’ve made.

  • Pot: The total amount of money wagered by all players in the hand.

  • Kicker: The highest card that doesn’t participate in a pair, three of a kind, etc., used to break ties between hands of the same rank.

  • Outs: The number of cards that could improve your hand to a winner on the remaining community cards to be dealt.


With this knowledge in your arsenal, you’re ready to take a seat at the table and start understanding the flow of the game. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to utilize free online games to solidify your grasp of hand rankings and terminology. The world of online poker awaits you—best of luck!