If you’re new to poker then you might be having a bit of trouble memorizing the various hands and their respective values. Over time you’ll quickly be able to identify which player has the winning set of cards, but until then it’s probably best to utilize a mnemonic device to help us learn. (For those who don’t already know, a mnemonic device is something which aids in memorization. For example, the lines of the treble clef in music being EGBDF – Every Good Boy Does Fine).
But before we get started on mnemonics, let’s make sure we know the various hands and their ranking, (presented here from lowest to highest):
three of a kind
four of a kind
royal straight flush
Typically, people tend to think 0, 1, 2, 3 first, which implies 0 as the “high card” hand with no pairs. 1 would then represent the first pair, just 2 cards of the same value in your hand. Similarly, 2 means that you have 2 pairs of cards, i.e. – King, King, Jack, Jack. Lastly, there’s 3, which means “3 of a kind”, so maybe 7, 7, 7. That takes care of the first 4 types of hands.
Next we have the “straight” hand which essentially divides the rankings in half. All you have to remember here is that it contains 5 cards which feature consecutive numbers / value, i.e. – 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
From here on in all of the higher ranking hands have more letters in their name than the one directly preceding it. For instance:
flush – 5 cards of the same suit
full house – 3 of a kind + one pair
four of a kind – self-explanatory
straight flush – 5 cards of the same suit in consecutive numerical order, i.e. – 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
royal straight flush – 5 cards of the same suit with the highest possible value, i.e. – 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace.
If that doesn’t work for you, then simply think “after three, flush a full house of four straight royals”. In other words, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, and lastly, the unbeatable royal straight flush. You might also simply keep in mind that there are 5 hands in the second group which start with flush, four of a kind being in the middle (and essentially different from all the others).