How to Determine the Winning Poker Hand

chino 5diamond win

When playing poker with your family or friends, one of the things you're going to need to know is how to determine the winning hand in all scenarios.

Before we go any further, first you need to memorize or print out the poker hand rankings.

Once you know that a flush beats a straight and three of a kind beats two pair, you're off to a good start.

The majority of poker hands are simple to determine a winner from. If one player has a flush, and no one else has a flush or better, it doesn't take much thought to figure out who's the winner.

It's once things get a little bit more complicated that people start to get confused. First, you want to remember these rules of poker hands:

  • You must make the best hand possible using exactly five cards
  • All five cards are used in deciding the strength of the hand
  • No cards outside of the best five have any bearing on the strength of the hand

If you're playing Texas Hold'em poker, players are allowed to use any combination of cards from their hand and/or the board cards.

This means if the absolute best five-card hand a player can make is by using the five cards on the board, then that is his or her final hand (this is known as playing the board).

Some Common Areas of Confusion

Here's a quick rundown of a couple common areas of confusion, and how to resolve the winner:

Two Players (or More) Have a Flush

If more than one player has a flush, you award the pot to the player with the highest flush. This includes all five cards, for example:



Player 1:


Player 2:


In this scenario, Player 1 wins the pot. The reason is that when you look at all five cards, Player 1 has the higher flush:

Player 1:


Player 2:


All the cards are the same, until the final fifth card. Since  7 is higher than 6, Player1 wins the entire pot.

If instead of the 2 on the board, that card was the T, both players would have the same flush (playing the board) and the pot would be split.

Two Players Have Two Pairs

When two players have two pairs, it can sometimes be confusing for people to know who won.

Take this example:



Player 1:


Player 2:


In this scenario, Player1 wins the entire pot. Two pair is always ranked by the value of the highest pair first, and only if that pair is the same for both players do you rank by the second pair.

If both of two pairs are identical, it will be the kicker that will decide the winner (the highest-value fifth card is the kicker).

In this scenario because the two paired on the river, Player 1 has two pair - A A 2 2 with the kicker K.

Player 2 has the lower two pair - K K Q Q with the kicker 3. Aces are higher than kings, so Player 1 wins the entire pot.

Who Wins?



Player 1:


Player 2:


Take a second to figure it out. This is a very bad beat, as once the river falls both players now have four of a kind with nines.

Only Player 1, who up until this point had nothing special, has the highest kicker with an ace.

Even though Player 2 flopped a full house - K K K 9 9 - once the fourth nine fell, he was now playing four-of-a-kind nines with a king kicker.

Player 1 wins the whole pot.

The Omaha Rule

The rules in determining the best hand in Omaha are exactly the same as in Texas Hold'em with one additional rule:

  • Every player must make the best five-card hand using exactly two cards from his hand (you're dealt four cards in Omaha) and three cards from the board.

This means that if there are four hearts on the board and you only have one in your hand you do not have a flush. You must always use exactly two cards from your hand.

More on Texas Holdem Poker rules: Texas Holdem Poker Rules

More Beginner Strategy Articles:

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Emir Buxton 2017-01-30 09:17:00

P1 wins. 10s and 6s beats 9s and 6s. the 2 is not played as it is a lower pair than the community river.

Emir Buxton 2017-01-30 09:15:09

from this senario i bet one or more has went all in. and the difference between the bet amount is split into side pots and main pots. so for the player who could not match the raise amount of one said player the pot is split into a side pot. if the game ended in a tie or someone wins there is a percentage from the pots to players. its confusing, here... have a look at this link :

Emir Buxton 2017-01-30 09:11:50

Split pot. Coz the board is a straight flush. no possible better combination, unless you have a Qspade.

Emir Buxton 2017-01-30 09:10:34

Player 1 wins with a straight. 8910JQ
Player 2 only has 2 pairs. 9988 + Q kicker

Emir Buxton 2017-01-30 09:08:29

there is no chance 2 can get a royal flush. there is only 1 single set of royal flush.

board Ad Kd Qd 5c 6h

p1 : Jd 10d <---- Royal Flush

p1 : impossible to have a J diamond. if he had Jc 10c its just a straight.

Royal cant split.

Emir Buxton 2017-01-30 09:01:45

from Fiona's explaination the 3rd player has a 9 so thats where the 5th card he is saying. so the situation dont make sense. but ur right, quad 9 with 8 as a kicker. unless he has a high than an 8 to kick his 5card

Emir Buxton 2017-01-30 08:59:38

player two supposed to win no? as he has 55522 full house combo appose to 222KK combo.

Emir Buxton 2017-01-30 08:58:30

if the Flush example with the same A4J610 Diamond

P1 : 5D/4C
P2 : QD/3C

P2 wins or still split pot? I am confused as although the community is a flush, but do we still can make the best combination from the hole hands or rather settle with the split by the community board cards?

Cody Gondek 2017-01-16 15:36:25

it a split pot with 3 stra8

Cody Gondek 2017-01-16 15:35:07

player one wins with fullhouse

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