How to Play Poker – A Beginners Guide to Winning Hands

Whether you are having a few buddies round for a poker night or looking to improve your poker game online, you might feel you'd like to know more about how to put yourself in the best position to win. That's why we've listed the most effective Poker hands, which might help you to decide whether to go all in or fold!

Royal Flush

The most powerful hand in Poker is a complete sequence of Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten, with all five cards in the same suit – don't forget that in poker all suits are ranked equally! This hand is unbeatable so if you have the chance to make this hand work for you, make the most out of it.

Straight Flush

This works in a very similar way to the Royal Flush but consists of any straight sequence of the same suit, excluding the cards in the Royal Flush sequence. If you come to a showdown with another player holding a straight flush, the hand with highest top card will win. This hand will put you in a strong position and gives you a high percentage chance of winning the pot.

Four of a Kind 

This refers to any four cards of the same rank and, as with the straight flush, if another player also has Four of a Kind the player with the highest set will win. If two players share the same Four of a Kind, the person with the highest fifth card (kicker) wins the pot. There is an amazing total of 624 different combinations for this hand, so the probability of someone else having similar hand are pretty high. For that reason, be cautious playing this hand, but you could still be in a strong position.

Full House

This consists of three cards of the same rank and two different cards of the same rank. In the event that another player has a full house the highest three matching cards wins. If the three cards are equal then the highest value of the two matching cards wins. Again, there are many possible combinations for a Full House, so it may be riskier to play it – but that's what Poker is all about!


Five cards of the same suit, but not in consecutive order. The highest card of the five determines the rank of the flush. Our example shows an Ace-high flush which in this hand is the highest possible. In the event of a tie the second, third, fourth and fifth highest card can be used to decide. If all cards are of the same value then the pot is split.


Any five consecutive cards in a sequence, but in different suits. In this hand Aces can be either a high or a low card. If you are tied with another player the highest ranking card at the top of the sequence wins.

Three of a Kind

Any three cards of the same rank together, with another two unrelated side cards.  If tied with another the highest ranking three of a kind wins. If the two players have the same ranking three of a kind then the two side cards are used to determine the winner of the pot.

Two Pair

Any two cards of the same rank together, with another two cards of the same rank and one side card. If tied the player with the highest ranking pair wins. If first pair is tied then it goes to the second. If these are both tied the highest ranking side cards wins the pot.

One Pair

Any two cards of the same rank with three random side cards. Our example shows the best possible one-pair hand where Ace is high. As with the two pair, in the event of a tie the highest ranking pair wins. If this is tied then the highest ranking side card comes into play.

High Card

Any hand not in the above-mentioned hands. Our example shows the best possible high-card hand with the ace. These are the lowest winning hands so unless you are very confident in your ability to bluff when you're playing, we wouldn't recommend taking on the table with this hand.

Practice makes perfect, which is why playing Ladbroke's online poker is a great way to refine and hone your skills. Once you have tried this, we'd recommend that you try low stakes online poker - there is nothing like betting with real money to give you a real appreciation of exactly what's at stake when you're playing seriously. Once you feel confident then you can show off to your mates or even play online, depending on how you like to play.
Still feel like you need to learn more before trying your hand?  Find out more on how to play poker

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