Poker Guide: Poker Hands Explained

If you’re looking to gamble on poker online, you need to know the basics. Within this article, we will discuss the term ‘poker hands’ in order to help those who wish to bet on the popular casino game within Ireland.

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What are poker hands?

Basically, a hand of poker is made from five cards. These five cards are what determine your success. Before you are dealt your poker hand, everyone will place bets on their hand before they know what their cards are. Most poker games are played with chips, where a player’s chip has the same monetary value as their bet. When playing online, you will likely play with virtual chips. As the rounds continue, players have the chance to increase their chips, which in turn increases their wager.

Key terms for betting in poker

When betting on their hands, players have numerous options:

  • Call a bet by putting in the same number of chips as last time.
  • Raise: putting in more chips than before or compared to the last player.
  • Drop: sometimes referred to as a fold, this means the player will not be adding any more chips. If a player chooses to drop, then they are out of this round of betting. Notably, if a player chooses to drop, they will also disregard the chips that are currently in the betting pot.

Winning hand

At the end of the betting rounds, there will be two players left. All the remaining players would have either dropped out or been outbet by their opponents. These two players will then have a showdown between them. This occurs when they put their cards up on the table. Whichever player is left with the best hand wins the game.

Although there is another way to win the game, If a player makes a bet or chooses to raise their bet and no other player calls and challenges them, then this player wins without the need to show their card. This introduces the idea of bluffing in poker. Therefore, you can lie about your hand in order to win; this is risky but could pay off. thus making the game a gamble, as you could win even with a weak hand. Bluffing is one of the thrilling aspects of the game that attracts so many players. The concept of bluffing can become even more interesting when wagering online, as unlike in a land-based casino, you do not see your opponents face-to-face. Thus, you do not need to develop the famous ‘poker face, which everyone discusses. Instead, you can bluff all you like online without having to keep a straight face, which for some makes bluffing a lot easier and more comfortable. Even if you choose to play a live poker game, others will likely not see your facial reaction.

Why is understanding poker hands important?

Apart from being one of the core aspects of the game, you may be wondering what else you have to gain from understanding poker hands.

  • Tactics

How can you beat another player if you don’t know how? Understanding the ranks and types of hands possible is how you win the game. If you know which hands are stronger than others, it may impact how you approach the game.

  • Bluffing

As we mentioned, bluffing is a major aspect of poker. Understanding the poker hands can help you uncover who’s bluffing. Thus, if you have a strong hand, you may be able to work out or take an educated guess if anyone is bluffing. Therefore, since the rank of poker hands is all worked out with math and probability, you will be able to guess that certain hands are very unlikely. Thus, understanding the various hands and their possibilities can help you approach online poker in a much smarter way. For example, you can find tables online that highlight the probability and number of ways players can create each type of hand. For instance, there are only four ways to get a royal flush, giving that a probability of 0.000001,539. Meanwhile, there are 123,552 ways to have a two-pair hand in the game, giving this a probability of 0,047,539,02.

  • Minimise losses

Learning which hands are weaker can be useful in preventing losses. Therefore, you can learn which hands are weak and thus not worth betting on. For instance, you may not feel like having a high hand is worth the risk of bluffing.

Various poker hands

There are a number of types of poker hands possible in the game of poker. Here is a rundown of the types of hands you will come across while betting on poker in Ireland. Starting with the best and going down to the weakest hands.

  1. Royal flush

This is the strongest possible hand you can hold in the game of poker. With this being the highest hand available, it beats all the hands below it. A royal flush contains an A,K,Q, J, and 10 all in the same suit.

  1. Straight flush

A straight flush is a hand made from five cards all from the same suit. For instance, this may look like a 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, all diamonds in the same colour The only hand that can beat a straight flush is the royal flush.

  1. Four of a kind

Next, we have four of a kind; this is a hand where four of the cards hold the same value, but they do not have to be of the same suit. For instance, if you have a hand with four 5s, regardless of their colour or suit, you have a four of a kind. This is a much easier hand to play during the game; it beats all of the above except for the two above. If another player also has a four of a kind, then whoever has a four of a kind higher wins. For example, if you have a four of a kind containing a 7, 7, 7, and your opponent has a four of a kind containing a Q,Q,Q, then the opponent wins.

  1. Full house

Fourthly, a full house hand is when you have three of the same and then a pair that is the same. The value and suit do not have to match, but the value does. For example, a full house would be a Q,Q, Q, and a 2, 2. If an opponent also has a full house, the same rules apply as with four of a kind, and the highest-valued hand wins.

  1. Flush

A flush hand is when all the cards you hold are from the same suit. They do not have to be the same value, but the symbols on the card must all match. If one of your opponents also holds a flush, then the hand with the highest-valued card wins.

  1. Straight

This hand contains five consecutive cards that go up in order; these do not have to be in the same suit. For instance, a straight could be like holding a, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, all in order, yet they may be from alternate suits.

  1. Three of a kind

Working our way down the list, at number 7, there are three of a kind. This hold will contain three cards of the same value. These three cards may be three kings or three jacks. They do not have to be of the same suit, and the other two cards will not impact the hand.

  1. Two pair

A two-pair hand is simple to understand; it is simply two pairs of cards. These must be the same valye, but not necessarily the same rank. For instance, a two-card pair could look like holding two 8s and two 3s and then one odd card. While it may not be a strong hand, it does beat the two below.

  1. Single pair

As the name suggests, this is a hand made up of one singular pair. So if you had a single pair of hands, it might look like this: 3, 3, 7, 5, 4.

  1. High card

Lastly, we have a high-card hand. This is the lowest hand, as it will fail to win over any of the hands we have discussed. This is where you have the highest card out of all players, but it will only be a successful hand if all the rest of your opponents have a high card hand too.

If you’re new to poker and still don’t fully understand the various hands, not to worry! The perk of playing poker online is that you are not restricted by the physical setting; you could have this list next to you while you play to familiarise yourself with the types of hands available. As you play, these hands will become more familiar.

FAQ on poker hands

Below are some commonly asked questions when understanding poker hands online.

What should I do if I am still unsure about the meaning of poker hands?If you are still unsure after reading this article, try watching an explainer video online. Also, check popular casinos, as they often provide similar articles explaining key concepts of the games, such as poker.
What does the term ‘check’ mean in poker?The concept of checking, is a way for poker players to remain in the game without placing a bet. Thus, a check is basically a bet for nothing. You can only check if no other player has made a bet; if this is the case, your two choices are to either bet or drop the bet. Although, if you choose to check on a round, you are able to increase the bet placed by another player, this introduces the term ‘sandbagging, which is allowed unless stated otherwise.
Are poker hands easy to understand?Poker hands are easy to get a grip on. Plus, as we suggested, when playing online, you have the choice to have notes next to you so you can freely check the types of hands and their states and likelihoods.
Do I need to understand poker hands to gamble on poker online?However you choose to play poker, learning the hands is essential to the game. Certainly, the whole game evolves around the types of poker hands. Many betting sites will recommend learning the various hands as a priority before betting; this is a good way to enter the game with good knowledge and context. You can always try using our various hand lists as a cheat sheet!
What are some good poker betting sites available in Ireland?While you will almost certainly be able to access poker on any casino site, many betting organisations have since launched a specific site solely dedicated to poker. For example, you can play poker on 888poker, PokerStars, or Party Poker.
Is poker an easy casino game to play in Ireland?In terms of availability, you will almost always be able to find poker rooms. As long as you take time to understand the types of poker hands, the more you will understand the game and thus find the concept a lot easier.
Do I need to understand poker hands for all types of poker variants?You may realise that there are plenty of types of poker to play in Ireland online. Understanding the various poker hands and their rankings can help you understand the core of any poker variant you choose to gamble on. Therefore, despite what you play, there will always be different types of poker hands involved. Make sure to check the rules beforehand, as many variants vary in their formatting.
What is the highest poker suit in the deck of cards?There is no higher suit; some poker variants will give different values to each suit. Make sure to check this before playing.
Is poker a game of chance or luck?Poker is a game of chance; there is no certainty about who will get which hand of cards. Indeed, it is all completely random, but this may provide some comfort in the game too, as no one can be better than another player; instead, it is all simply luck.