What Beats What

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The H. T. Webster cartoon comes from Webster’s Poker Book, published in 1925, when the game was enjoying one of its more vigorous revivals. In his text, which is nearly as amusing as Webster’s cartoons, the writer George F. Worts gives advice on everything from how to keep one’s wife from interrupting a poker party to when to draw four cards to an ace or king high (never) and goes on to spell out the order in which cards and hands take precedence.

Rank of Cards

The cards in each suit rank as follows: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. In straight flushes or straights, the Ace may be considered either highest or lowest. It can be held with 10, Jack, Queen, King, or with 2, 3, 4, 5, to complete a sequence; but it cannot be used as an intermediate card to complete the hand Queen, King, 2, 3.

Rank of Hands

The value of poker hands is, in their order, as follows:

Royal Flush : 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace, of one suit.

Straight Flush: Any five cards of one suit in sequence.

Four of a Kind: Any four cards of the same denomination.

Full House: Three cards of the same denomination, and a pair of another denomination.

Flush: Any five cards of the same suit.

Straight: Five cards in sequence, regardless of suit.

Three of a Kind: Any three cards of the same denomination.

Two Pairs: Two cards of one denomination accompanied by two cards of some other denomination.

One Pair: Two cards of the same denomination.

Ace high, King high, or whatever the card may be: This hand does not contain a pair or better.

Two contesting hands containing pairs of the same value, the highest other card decides. In case of tying hands, the pot is split.