Poker originated in the saloons of the Wild West and has probably the most game variants. It is played player against players and not just against the dealer as in Blackjack, and there is a lot of psychology involved during play.
Poker is played from a standard deck of 52 cards. Some variant games use multiple decks or add Jokers or Wild Cards.
The cards are ranked in descending order starting from the highest; Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace. Ace can be high or low. There are four suits; spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs, but no suit is higher than another.
Each player is dealt five cards and is called a hand. The hand highest in ranks wins. In some games there are Wild Cards or Jokers, which can be labelled whatever suit and rank the possessor wishes to.
The Ranking of Poker Hands
The ranking of poker hands based on probability starting from the highest are as follows:
Five of a Kind (with a Wild card or Joker)
Four of a Kind
Three of a Kind
Five of a Kind is only possible when using wild cards and is the highest possible hand. If more than one hand has five-of-a-kind, the higher rank wins; e.g. five Aces beat five kings, which beat five queens, and so on.
Straight Flush is the best natural hand. A straight flush consists of five cards in sequence and of the same suit. An Ace high straight-flush is called a Royal Straight Flush or Royal Flush and is the highest natural hand.
Four of a Kind is a hand that contains of four cards of the same rank. The hand with the highest rank of four-of-a-kind beats other four-of-a-kind hands. If there are many wild cards, as used in some game variants, there could be two four-of-a-kind hands with the same rank. In this case, the hand with the higher ranking fifth card wins. This rule applies to hands that tie, such as a pair or two pairs. Dead heats split the pot.
Full House is a hand consisting of three-of-a-kind and a pair. Again, where Wild Cards are used, ties are compared first by the three-of-a-kind ranking, then the pair.
Flush is a hand consisting of cards that are all of the same suit in any order.
Straight is a hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence, such as 5-6-7-8-9. An Ace may either be high (A-K-Q-J-10) or low (A-2-3-4-5).
Three of a Kind is a hand similar to the four-of-a-kind hand, except that if the remaining two cards are a pair, then it becomes a Full House.
Two Pair is a hand that contains two pairs only.
Pair is a hand that contains one pair only.
High Card is a hand that is none of the above and is a weak hand. If no player has a pair or better, then the hand that contains the highest ranking card wins. If multiple players tie with the highest card, then the second highest card decides, followed by the third and so on.