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In poker, players construct hands of five cards according to predetermined rules, which vary according to the precise variant of poker being played. These hands are compared using a standard ranking system, and the player with the highest-ranking hand wins that particular deal. Although used primarily in poker, these hand rankings are also used in other card games, and with poker dice.

The strength of a hand is increased by having multiple cards of the same rank, all the cards being from the same suit, or having all the cards with consecutive values. The position of the various possible hands is based on the probability of being randomly dealt such a hand from a well-shuffled deck.

The following general rules apply to evaluating poker hands, whatever set of hand values are used.

• Individual cards are ranked A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A. Aces only appear low when part of an A-2-3-4-5 straight or straight flush. Individual card ranks are used to compare hands that contain no pairs or other special combinations, or to compare the kickers of otherwise equal hands. The ace plays low only in ace-to-five and ace-to-six lowball games, and plays high only in deuce-to-seven lowball.

• Suits have no value. The suits of the cards are mainly used in determining whether a hand fits a certain category (specifically the flush and straight flush hands). In most variants, if two players have hands that are identical except for suit, then they are tied and split the pot (so 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, does not beat 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Sometimes a ranking called high card by suit is used for randomly selecting a player to deal. Low card by suit usually determines the bringin bettor in stud games.

• A hand always consists of five cards. In games where more than five cards are available to each player, the best five-card combination of those cards plays.

• Hands are ranked first by category, then by individual card ranks: even the lowest qualifying hand in a certain category defeats all hands in all lower categories. The smallest two pair hand (2,2,3, 3, 4), for example, defeats all hands with just one pair or high card. Only between two hands in the same category are card ranks used to break ties.

A straight flush is a poker hand such as Q, J, 10, 9, 8,which contains five cards in sequence, all of the same suit

Four of a kind, also known as quads, is a poker hand such as 9, 9,9, 9, J,, which contains four cards of one rank, and an unmatched card of another rank. It ranks above a full house and below a straight flush

A full house, also known as a full boat, is a hand such as 3,3, 3, 6, 6,, which contains three matching cards of one rank, and two matching cards of another rank. It ranks below a four of a kind and above a flush.

Flush is a poker hand such as Q,10, 7, 6, 4,, which contains five cards of the same suit, not in rank sequence. It ranks above a straight and below a full house

A straight is a poker hand such as Q,J, 10,9, 8 which contains five cards of sequential rank but in more than one suit.

Three of a kind, also called trips, set or a prile (the latter from its use in three card poker), is a poker hand such as 2, 2, 2, K, 6, which contains three cards of the same rank, plus two unmatched cards

A poker hand such as J,J4, 4 ,9, which contains two cards of the same rank, plus two cards of another rank (that match each other but not the first pair), plus one unmatched card, is called two pair

One pair is a poker hand such as 4, 4, K, 10, 5, which contains two cards of the same rank, plus three other unmatched cards. It ranks above any high card hand, but below all other poker hands.

A high-card or no-pair hand is a poker hand such as K, J, 8, 7, 3, in which no two cards have the same rank, the five cards are not in sequence, and the five cards are not all the same suit.

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