The Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker Cheat Sheet: A Comprehensive Guide to Poker Hand Rankings

Poker can appear dauntingly complex for beginners with its intricate rules, strategies, and obscure terminology. However, at its core, the game revolves around understanding the value of each poker hand and using that knowledge to make winning bets and folds. This definitive Texas Hold’em cheat sheet breaks down everything you need to know about poker hand rankings in an easy-to-follow guide.

The Hierarchy of Winning Poker Hands

The first key to unlocking poker is learning the ten distinct hand rankings from strongest to weakest. This determines which player’s five-card hand wins the pot in a showdown. Here are the hands, ranked from unbeatable to worthless:

Poker Hand Rankings Chart

Rank Hand Example
1 Royal Flush A♠ K♠ Q♠ J♠ 10♠
2 Straight Flush 9♥ 8♥ 7♥ 6♥ 5♥
3 Four of a Kind J♣ J♦ J♥ J♠ 5♣
4 Full House 10♦ 10♠ 10♣ 6♥ 6♠
5 Flush A♥ J♥ 8♥ 5♥ 2♥
6 Straight 8♣ 7♠ 6♦ 5♥ 4♥
7 Three of a Kind 7♦ 7♥ 7♠ K♣ 2♦
8 Two Pair Q♣ Q♠ 9♥ 9♦ 4♣
9 One Pair 10♥ 10♣ A♠ 8♦ 4♠
10 High Card A♠ J♦ 9♣ 7♥ 4♦

Royal Flush

The best possible hand in poker. It contains the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten all of the same suit. It’s extremely rare but an instant win if you hit it.

Poker Hands Rankings Cheat sheet
Poker Hands Rankings Cheatsheet

Texas Hold’em Poker Hands Ranking Chart Printout

Straight Flush

Any five consecutive cards of the same suit, such as 5-6-7-8-9 of hearts. Not quite as good as a Royal Flush but still a very strong hand.Straight Flush

Four of a Kind

All four cards of the same rank plus one other card, such as four 8s accompanied by a 5. A great hand that is hard to beat.Four of a Kind

Full House

Contains three cards of one rank along with two cards of another rank. For example, three 3s and two 9s. Still an excellent hand, but more vulnerable than the top three.Full House


Any five cards of the same suit. A flush in spades is shown below. Strong but a “high card flush” can still lose to a better hand.Flush


Five consecutive ranked cards of different suits. A 10-high straight (10, 9, 8, 7, 6 of mixed suits) beats a 9-high straight. Straight

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same rank plus two other random cards. Lower than a straight due to the weaker kickers (the side cards).Three of a Kind

Two Pair

Two sets of cards of the same rank, like two Kings and two 10s. The fifth card (kicker) breaks the tie if two players both have two pair.

Two Pair

One Pair

One pair with three random side cards, like 2 Aces accompanied by a King, 5, and 4. Watch for kickers when you have just one pair.

One Pair

High Card

Any hand that does not make one of the more specific hand rankings above. If your best hand is Ace-King, you have “ace-high.”High Card

Remember, poker hands are ranked first by the value or rarity of the hand, then by the value of the high cards if hands are identical. Use position, reads, odds, and strategy to maximize these hand rankings.

Strategic Tips for Playing Different Hands

Beyond just memorizing hand rankings, it’s crucial to know how to play each poker hand strategically. Here are tips for the five strongest starting hands:

Pocket Aces (Pair of Aces)

The strongest pre-flop hand. Raise and re-raise to build a big pot before the flop, then bet aggressively to make opponents pay to draw out.

Big Pocket Pairs (Queens, Kings)

Raise pre-flop and continue betting unless an overcard flops or you suspect a straight, flush, or full house. Be willing to fold if you sense danger.

Big Suited Connectors (Like J-10 suited)

Can make flushes, straights, and high pairs. Raises and call bets pre-flop. Check/fold if you miss the flop.

Small Pocket Pairs (22-55)

Cheap to see flops but vulnerable if overcards hit. Look to set mine and consider folding to heavy action if you miss your set.

Suited Aces (Like Ace-King suited)

Can make nut flushes and high pairs. Raise pre-flop and continue betting with confidence on flops with overcards.

Mastering hand rankings is the first step on the path to becoming an expert poker player. Use this Texas Hold’em cheat sheet until you can recite the hands in your sleep. Then combine that knowledge with smart strategy to start dominating the tables.

Here are some of the most common mistakes beginners make with hand rankings in poker:

  • Not understanding hand hierarchies – Beginners often misread hands, thinking a three-of-a-kind beats a flush or a two pair beats a straight. Memorizing the rankings hierarchy is key.
  • Overvaluing high card hands – Beginners put too much emphasis on face cards and overplay weak ace-high or king-high hands. These lose to real made hands.
  • Playing too many hands – Beginners play far too many hands early on. Stick to strong starting hands to avoid difficult decisions post-flop.
  • Seeing your hole cards only – Focusing too much on your own hole cards and not considering board textures. You need to think how your cards interact with the community cards.
  • Chasing draws – Calling bets with hands like open-ended straight draws is risky if the pot odds aren’t right. Know when to chase and when to fold.
  • Neglecting kickers – Kickers (side cards) are so important in breaking ties between similar hands. But beginners often overlook weak kickers when evaluating hands.
  • Misreading kickers – Beginners sometimes misread kickers, thinking an Ace kicker beats a King when the main pairs are the same. Kickers must be used properly.
  • Assuming preflop strength holds up – A big pocket pair is great pre-flop but can be outdrawn. Beginners assume their hand is still best post-flop when danger arises.

By learning proper hand rankings and avoiding these common mistakes, beginners can build a solid foundation for improving their poker skills.

Here are some examples of strong starting hands to play in Texas Hold’em poker:

  • Pocket Aces (AA) – The strongest starting hand. Raise pre-flop to build a big pot.
  • Pocket Kings (KK) – Almost as good as Aces. Play very aggressively before the flop.
  • Pocket Queens (QQ) – The third strongest starting hand. Great hand, bet confidently.
  • Ace-King Suited (AKs) – Big hand with nut flush potential. Raise and re-raise preflop.
  • Pocket Jacks (JJ) – Strong pair with reduced value from paint overcards. Proceed with caution.
  • Pocket Tens (TT) – Playable but more vulnerable than JJs or QQs to overcards so bet carefully.
  • Ace-Queen Suited (AQs) – Big cards with flush and straight potential. Bet aggressively preflop and on flops without overcards.
  • King-Queen Suited (KQs) – Great hand for heads-up pots. Solid equity but careful of domination from AK or AQ.
  • Ace-Jack Suited (AJs) – Has good playability. Watch for overcards and avoid sets when facing heavy action.
  • Pocket 9s (99) – Medium pocket pair. Set mine or proceed cautiously if facing preflop raises.
  • King-Jack Suited (KJs) – Big cards with backdoor flush potential but risky if overcards hit.

In general, big pocket pairs, big suited connectors, and paint cards (face cards) make the strongest starting hands in Texas Hold’em. Play them fast pre-flop but evaluate carefully post-flop.

Here are some examples of big-suited connectors in Texas Hold’em:

  • Ace-King suited (AKs) – The best possible suited connector. Nut potential and plays well against most hands.
  • King-Queen suited (KQs) – Very strong big connector with excellent playability. Can make monster draws and big pairs.
  • Queen-Jack suited (QJs) – Queen-Jack suited has great equity as an overcard and straight/flush draws.
  • Jack-Ten suited (JTs) – Jack-Ten has strong straight potential and backdoor flush draws. Better potential than lower suited connectors.
  • Ace-Queen suited (AQs) – Not quite connected, but the nut potential makes AQs a huge drawing hand.
  • Ace-Jack suited (AJs) – Same as AQs, the high cards and nut flush draw gives AJ great value despite not being truly connected.
  • King-Ten suited (KTs) – A bit lower than QJs and JTs but still has excellent playability and implied odds.
  • Queen-Ten suited (QTs) – Queen-Ten makes up for lower straight potential with great flush draws and overcards.
  • Jack-Nine suited (J9s) – Jack-Nine has good equity but lacks the power of higher connectors like JTs.
  • Ten-Nine suited (T9s) – Great for implied odds on the flop but risky if facing preflop raises.

The key aspects that make suited connectors strong starting hands are straight potential, flush draws, overcards, and playability. Cards like AKs, KQs, and JTs combine many of these attributes.

Poker Hands Rankings

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