Making the Best 5 Card Poker Hand

In a large number of poker games, the aim of the game is to try to make the best 5 card poker hand. In community card games, the objective will usually be to use a combination of your hole cards and shared cards to make the best hand available - very often it's to make the best 5 card hand. Even in games which don't use shared cards, five's often how many cards you need to use to make your hand. Whilst most of the games use the same ranking of hands, there are a few that have a slightly different ranking of hands. These are exceptions to the rule.

The two most popular games each have the objective of putting together the strongest five cards possible.

Texas Holdem

For instance in Holdem, you are initially dealt two hole cards (that only you see and face down) and there are eventually five board or community cards that are dealt. In Hold'em you can use any combination of your hole cards and the five community cards to make the best possible hand. There are no rules around how many hole cards need to be used to construct your hand. Players can 'play the board' - meaning they don't use any of their hole cards - only the five on the board.

Omaha Poker

Omaha or Omaha Holdem is slightly different in that you need to use exactly two hole cards and any 3 community cards to make your best hand. It is very often said that Omaha is a game of nuts as it very often takes the nuts to win a showdown. In Omaha you will see a lot more straights, flushes and better as you are dealt 4 hole cards and 5 community cards and with more cards available (2 more than Holdem), bigger and better hands are more frequent.

General Information

- Individual cards are ranked A (highest), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A.

- Suits have no value - suits are used to determine some hands, for instance a flush, straight flush or royal flush but do not carry any other value.

- A poker hand always consists of 5 cards even though you may not be using some of the redundant cards that make up the hand.

- Hands are ranked by standard rankings and where a tie, by next highest card (also known as the kicker)

 
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