• This is a guide on how to understand your poker hand and others.
  • This guide is designed mainly for beginners.
  • This guide will be split into different stages for you to first understand what hands exist and what to play them against.


The aim of a game of Texas Hold 'em is to match your two pocket cards as well as you can to the five community cards on the table. Use the guide below to find out where you stand in the current hand.

Each poker hand is played in stage; pre-flop, the flop, the turn and the river.

  • Pre-Flop
    • Each player is dealt two cards that they will use for the duration of the hand.
  • The Flop
    • Three community cards are shown on the table.
  • The Turn
    • A fourth community card is shown on the table.
  • The River
    • The fifth and final community card is shown.

Poker terms

  • Check
    • Passing your turn to the next player.
  • Bet
    • Putting money against your win.
  • Raise
    • Raising someones bet by double or more.
  • Fold
    • Throwing your cards, you're no longer in this hand.
  • Call
    • Matching the current bet.
  • Big blind
    • The amount of money that needs to be paid each hand to play it.
  • Small blind
    • Half the big blind.

Poker Hands

Hand Name Description Example
Royal Flush An Ace-High Straight Flush 10 Clubs, Jack Clubs, Jack Clubs, Queen Clubs, Ace Clubs
Straight Flush A Straight of any one suit. 4 Clubs, 5 Clubs, 6 Clubs, 7 Clubs, 8 Clubs
Four of a Kind Four cards of the same rank. 3 Clubs, 3 Hearts, 3 Diamonds, 3 Spades
Full House Three of a Kind and a Pair Jack Hearts, Jack Clubs, Jack Spades, 5 Hearts, 5, Spades
Flush 5 Cards of the same Suit 4 Clubs, 5 Clubs, 7 Clubs, 10 Clubs, Queen Clubs
Straight 5 Cards of Sequential Rank 2 Diamonds, 3 Spades, 4 Hearts, 5 Clubs, 6 Clubs
Three of a Kind Three Cards of the Same Rank Jack Hearts, Jack Clubs, Jack Spades, Ace Diamonds, 5 Hearts
Two Pairs Two Cards of the Same Rank and Another Two Cards of the Same Rank 2 Hearts, 2 Spades, 7 Diamonds, 7 Hearts, 10 Spades
One Pair Two Cards of the Same Rank 2 Hearts, 2 Spades, 3 Diamonds, 5 Hearts, 10 Spades
High Card When you don't have any of the above


Each player is dealt two hole cards (also known as pocket cards). On your first turn, you will have a few choices (some of these may not be there, depending on where you're sat compared to the dealer).

  • Call
  • Check
  • Raise/bet
  • Fold

In the Pre-Flop you'll be making your first big decision, whether or not you believe that your pocket cards will match up to others. If you believe that they do, your next choice is to either call, bet, raise or check.

The Flop

Each player will now be shown the same three community cards, using the flop, you need to decide whether or not it is worth playing the hand and if you're close to something that could be a winning hand.

  • For the sake of this tutorial, your pocket cards are the 6 of Diamonds and the 8 of Clubs.
    • The Flop has revealed a King of Hearts, 4 of Hearts and 7 of Diamonds
      • Right now, the King has no use to you, but the 4 and 7 could lead to a straight.

Each player will now have their next turn to bet, check, raise or fold, most players with the hand stated above would check, unless someone has bet, if the bet isn't too much, it would be a good idea to call it. Though don't risk too much on The Flop.

The Turn

The next community card is now revealed to each player

  • A 10 of Spades is shown

Another turn for each player now, with the same options you had before, some players get a bit more aggressive now and will attempt to scare off other players with larger bets.

You're still waiting a 5 to show up that should guarantee your win, choose carefully what your next move will be.

The River

The last community card is now revealed to all the players

  • It's a 5 of Spades
    • You now have a straight.
    • In the current situation, that is the best hand that can be on the table.
      • You have 100% chance of winning and a 30% chance of the pot being split between you and another player.

This is now your final turn, the same options as before, you have a choice whether to bet and maximize your profit or to check and pass it on.

After everyone has had their turn, each player will reveal their cards, the person with the best hand will now take the pot.

Skill level

Poker is a game of skill, regardless of what other people may say, luck has no part in it what so ever.

The main part of skill is actually maths. Maths can determine what your percentage of winning is.

  • If you have an Ace in your pocket and there is an Ace on the table and everything else is just a mess.
    • You have about a 35% chance of winning, someone else could have the other Ace's.
  • If another Ace was on the table and you only had one.
    • You have a 50% chance of winning, only one other person could have that other Ace.
  • If you had pocket Aces and two aces are on the table
    • You have 100% chance of winning, it would be impossible for someone else to own one of the Aces.

The main part of Poker is understanding what your percentage is, if you can understand that, you're guaranteed to win more occasionally that someone who just plays by looking.

Betting with odds

Betting with odds is a good way to improve your odds of winning.

Odds are worked out by the amount of cards used in the deck to the amount of cards you need, so the lowest odd will be 5/52.

The odds are increased each time another player is in, so with a full table of 8 people, the main odd will be 5/416. Though the number seems big it's actually pretty small, gathering that each player has the exact same odds as you, if not worse.

With each card that goes down on the table, your odds are decreased.

An example of an odd based bet would be your pocket cards being; King of Clubs and 10 of Clubs. On the flop, this would be a good hand to play.

The flop reveals an Ace of Clubs, Queen of Clubs and a 10 of Diamonds.

Your current odds for getting the Jack of Clubs is worked out with the amount of cards out of play, so with a full table of 8 people and a standard deck of cards being 52:

  • 2x8=16
  • 52-16=36
  • 36x8=288

This means that the odds of getting the Jack of Clubs is 1/288. A big bet on that odd wouldn't be very smart but you currently have a pair of 10s with a King as your high card, this currently puts you in about 3rd place of the best hands to have on the table.

The Turn reveals the 10 of Hearts. This currently means that you have 3 of a kind 10's, a strong hand to have in the current situation and is the 3rd highest hand still on the table that would be possible to have - This puts your odds of winning right now at about 1/3, something definitely worth betting on.

If you're playing in a game of experienced Poker players, try not to bet too high, the last thing you want to do in a game of Poker is lead on what you've got.

The River reveals a 10 of Spades. This puts you at the highest possible hand to have currently on the table, giving you a 1/1 chance of winning on this current hand. A bet would be suitable here, something to entice the other players and not to scare them off, as it is about gaining the most money.

If you can understand what odds/chance you have of winning, you will always win a hand, some exceptions need to be made and this is not a sure guide that if you follow this to the letter that you'll win every time but it will definitely help.

The easy way to work out your odds of winning

If you have a drawing hand, like a straight or flush draw, there is a way to simply calculate your odds of winning the hand.

1. Count up the number of cards that you think will give you the best hand. e.g. You have Kd Qd and the flop is 2d 7d Ts. You think that if a Queen, King or a diamond comes then you will have the best hand. There are 9 diamonds remaining in the deck, 3 Queens and 3 Kings. That is 15 'outs' in total.

2. You then multiply that number by 4 and that is the percentage of the time you will hit your hand and win the pot (or multiply that number by turn if only the river is left to come) e.g. Using the above hand you will win the hand roughly 60% of the time (and 30% of the time on the river if you miss the turn).

3. You can also use this figure to work out if you have the correct odds to call a bet or raise. e.g. If there is $1500 in the pot and your opponent has bet $500 we are getting 3:1 on a call, or 25% pot odds, and as 60% is greater than 25% we have a profitable call.