Winning the game of Poker is determined by the value of the players' cards. If you are playing against other players, situated around a real table, or a virtual table on the internet, then the value of your cards will be compared to the value of the other players. The player with the highest value will win the hand. If you are playing Video Poker then the value of your cards will be compared with the predetermined systems of winning values.
That's why it is vitally important to understand the ranking of the various values of cards in poker, or the Hand Ranking as it is called in the game's jargon. Knowing it can help you ascertain how likely you are to win the hand. Below is a list of the poker hand rankings starting with the strongest hand and then ending with the weakest hand.
Royal Flush (when you have Ace, King, Jack, Queen and 10 of the same suit).
Straight Flush (when you have all of your cards in a sequence and of the same suit e.g. 2h, 3h, 4h, 5h, 6h).
Four of a Kind (when you have four cards of the same value e.g. 10h, 10s, 10c, 10d, 2h).
Full House (when you have a combination of a pair and three of a kind e.g. 10h, 10s, 3h, 3s, 3c).
Flush (when all cards are of the same suit e.g. 3h, 5h, 9h, Jh, Ah).
Straight (when all cards are in a sequence e.g. 2h, 3h, 4s, 5c, 6d).
Three of a Kind (three cards that are of the same value e.g. 10h, 10s, 10d, Jd, 5s).
Two Pair (two pairs of cards that share the same value e.g. 10h, 10s, 2h, 2s, Qd).
Pair (one pair of cards that are of the same value e.g. 10h, 10s, 5c, 3h, 2h).
In the list above the suits are represented as follows...
H = Hearts
D = Diamonds
C = Clubs
S = Spades
Knowing the hand ranking is crucial in a game of poker because it enables the player to work out their chances of victory at various stages of the hand. It also allows the player to consider if it is worth gambling and trying for another card to help them obtain a set hand. For instance, if a player has three of a kind but suspects an opposing player has a flush based on the cards out there or the manner in which the player is betting then it might be worth that player then gambling for another card to try and grab a four of a kind. This is an extreme circumstance obviously but it's an example of how the hand rankings can affect how a player plays their game of poker.
It is a great way to get to grips with poker as well. Once you learn the hand rankings the rest of poker will come fairly easily. This simplicity in learning the game is a major contributing factor to its contemporary popularity.