Poker hands are the various combinations of cards that players can have in a poker game. A game of Poker consists of ten poker hands that rank from the lowest to the highest in strength. These rankings determine the strength of each hand as per their position in the ranking chart.
Poker hands are a fundamental part of the game as they are key to determining the winner of a hand. Therefore, knowing the different poker hands and their ranking is important to win in poker.
Now, a common question beginners face in the world of Poker is which hand beats which. And this question often arises with two specific hands- Flush and Straight. Does a Flush Beat a Straight in Poker or vice versa? Let’s settle this question today.
What is Flush in Poker?
A Flush is a poker hand that sits in the 5th position in the poker hand rankings chart. This means it is the 5th strongest hand in a poker game. There are four suits in a standard deck of cards: namely, Diamonds, Clubs, Spades and Hearts. A Flush hand is made of five cards of the same suit in no particular order or sequence.
For example, a hand consisting of Ace, Queen, 10, 2 and 7 all belonging to the suit of Hearts is a flush hand. If two or more players have flush hands, the player with the highest ranking card in their hand shall beat the other players. Similarly, if several players have the same highest card, then the 2nd highest ranking card is compared to determine the winner and so on.
Other examples of a Flush would be: A♠,10♠,2♠,7♠Q♠ and 9♦,K♦,3♦,5♦,J♦
What is a Straight in Poker?
A Straight poker hand sits in the 6th position in the poker hand rankings chart and therefore, it is the sixth strongest hand in a poker game. A Straight consists of five cards of any suit arranged in a sequence.
For example, a straight hand can include cards 7,8,9,10 and J of any suit. Aces can be used to make the lowest straight (A,2,3,4,5) or the highest straight hand (A,K,Q,J,10) but you can’t use them to make both at the same time. If two or more players make straight hands, the player with the highest ranking card in their hand wins. For example, a straight of A,K,Q,J,10 would beat a straight of K,Q,J,10,9.
Flush vs Straight
Now that we know the nature of both poker hands, the question that remains to be answered is “Does a Flush Beat a Straight in Poker?”
The answer must be apparent by now. Yes, a Flush indeed beats a Straight hand in Poker. As per the poker hand rankings chart, a Flush sits in the 5th position and a Straight sits below a Flush in the 6th position. Therefore, even the highest Straight is beaten by a Flush in any game of poker.
To make things clearer, if we go by poker math and check out the probability of hitting both these hands in a poker game, what we find is:
- There are 10,200 ways to make a straight hand. Its probability is 0.003925
- There are 5,108 ways to make a flush hand. Its probability is 0.001965.
In poker, each hand is ranked based on the probability and odds of making them. Here, we can see the poker odds of making a straight hand are 254-1. And the odds of making a flush in any given hand are 509-1 which is significantly lower than that of a Straight.
To put it more simply, the possibilities of making a Straight hand are almost double than that of a Flush. Since the strength of a poker hand is based on the frequency of its occurrence, this is exactly why flushes rank higher than straights in poker games.
The objective of a poker game is to make the best five-card poker hand. Thus, knowing the ranking of each poker hand as well as their probability of occurrence is crucial to making strategic and informed decisions in poker. When you are well versed with the poker hands, you can analyze the strength and value of your hands better and make decisions based on the likelihood of winning.
Have a good game!