House Rules






Poker Nights - About the Hands


      This is definitely an important thing to consider before you start the night; it can get ugly when there's a misunderstanding that results in a disputed win!  Have this printed out somewhere, for reference - in fact, if there are new players at your poker night, have it on the table.  That way the newbies can consult it without drawing too much attention to themselves during a hand...   Anyway, here's the order of hands:

  • High Card - If you have nothing else, the highest card wins.  If the highest card is a tie, the second-highest in each hand breaks the tie, and so on.

  • Pair - Two cards of the same value.

  • Two Pair - Two pairs.  When two two-pairs compete, the highest pair wins;  if the highest pairs are identical, the second pair breaks the tie.  If both pairs are identical, the fifth card breaks the tie.

  • Three of a Kind - Three cards of the same value.

  • Straight - Five cards in a row.  Note that the ace can be either high or low, but not both - this means there are no "wraparound straights."  For example, A-2-3-4-5 is valid, as is 10-J-Q-K-A, but not Q-K-A-2-3.

  • Flush - Five cards of the same suit.  Ties are broken by the high card, then the second highest card, etc.

  • Full House - A pair and a three of a kind.  Ties are broken by the highest three-of-a-kind.

  • Four of a Kind - Four cards of the same value.

  • Straight Flush - Five cards of the same suit, in order.  As with straights, there are no wraparounds allowed.  Note:  A "Royal Flush" is just a variation of a Straight Flush, which is the highest available straight flush:  10-J-Q-K-A of a single suit.

  • Five of a Kind - Five cards of the same value.  Of course, this hand is only possible in games with wild cards. 


Now, some very important things to remember when considering these hands:

  • A Poker Hand is ONLY FIVE CARDS - If you're playing a game where the player has seven cards, for example, the player can only play five cards.  Sixth cards can't be used as tie-breakers, for example, and there is no such hand as "three pair." 

  • Suits DON'T Break Ties - All suits are of equal value.  If two five-card hands are identical, they tie, rather than being decided by which suit is higher.  This is called a "push" - the money is simply split between the tying hands.

  • The Cards Talk - If a player lays down his cards, calling his hand a two pair, when it's actually four of a kind, the cards talk; that is, the player gets credit for the hand that is actually there, not just for what he says is there.  This can get complicated in games with many wild cards, and especially for new players; this protects them from their own ignorance!

  • Calling and Showing - The person whose final bet is matched at the end of the hand has been "called" - this person must be the first to show their cards.  Other players may choose to not show their cards if they know they've lost.

  • Folding and Showing - If all other players fold, the remaining player wins the hand; however, in this case the winner does not have to show his cards!  This protects his (successful?) potential bluff.  In some cases, players will pay the last bit of money "just to see if he had it," knowing that they will most likely lose anyway.


Looks like you've got all the house rules under control; now let's learn some Games!