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It’s easy to see why poker is one of the most popular card games in the world. While the element of chance has a prominent role in the game, the most successful players also boast a healthy dose of skill. This makes for exciting, calculated gameplay.
To fare well in poker, in addition to relying on a bit of luck, it’s essential that you have a fundamental understanding of the basic hands you might be dealt with. If you don’t know how to determine the winning hand, you likely won’t get far.
A flush, which consists of five cards all in the same suit, is one of the most versatile hands you can play in poker. Of course, there are several types of flushes and different ways to utilize this hand, depending on the type of poker you’re playing.
In this article, we’ll explore the many facets of this adaptable hand. Keep reading to learn about the different types of flush hands and how to play a flush to win big.
What Is a Flush and How Many Types Are There?
We’ve established that a flush in poker is a hand that consists of five cards in the same suit. Did you know there are several types of flushes, though?
A basic flush consists of five cards in the same suit with no sequential order. In this hand, you might have a wide range of cards, from low numbers to higher-value face cards. All that matters is that you have five cards of the same suit. For example, if you were holding a basic flush, you might have a 2, 3, 7, 10, and queen of clubs. There is no order to them.
There’s also a straight flush. This type of flush, in addition to being from the same suit, features five consecutive cards. For example, a straight flush would be a 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 of hearts.
Finally, you have the ultimate hand in poker — the royal flush. This powerhouse hand is a straight flush, but it doesn’t just feature any old sequence. The royal flush only includes the high-ranking ace, king, queen, jack, and 10 card combination from a single suit.
How Strong a Hand Is a Flush?
You might wonder how strong a flush is compared to other poker hands. There is no one answer, as the strength of your hand varies based on which type of flush you have. It’s also important to note that while there are many versions of poker, the ranking of various hands remain the same across the board for the most part.
If you guessed that the royal flush was the strongest of all flushes, you’re correct. Not only that, but it’s the highest-ranking of all the poker hands you might play. Building a hand of consecutive high-value face cards in a single suit is a difficult feat, one well-worth its reputation as the most valuable hand.
A straight flush is the next most valuable type of flush and the second-highest-ranking hand. It’s only beaten by a royal flush.
The lowest-ranking flush is the basic flush with five nonsequential cards from one suit. In addition to the royal flush and straight flush, a basic flush is also beaten by four of a kind (that’s when you have four of the same number or face cards, one from each of the four suits) and, usually, a full house (that’s when you have three of one number or face card from any suit and two of a different number or face card from another suit).
The basic flush will beat a straight (five sequential cards from any suit), three of a kind (three of the same number or face cards from three different suits), two pair (two pairs of different numbers or face cards from various suits), one pair (a single pair of number or face cards from different suits), and the high card (the highest card dealt to any player during a game).
What Happens If Two Players Have a Flush?
If two or more players have a flush in the same game, the person with the highest-ranking flush wins. So, if one person has a basic flush, and another has a straight flush, the individual with the straight flush is the winner.
But what if two or more players have the same type of flush? If two or more players have a basic or straight flush, the winner will be based on who has the highest card in their hand. If all players have an equal ranking flush — the same highest card in a basic or straight flush or a royal flush — the pot will be split among them.
It’s important to note that these scenarios only stand if no other player in the game has a hand that ranks higher than a flush. Also, it’s unlikely that more than one player will get a royal flush in the same game.
What Are the Odds of Getting a Flush?
The higher the ranking of a hand, the less chance you have of getting it. So, it should go without saying that the odds of getting a royal flush are incredibly low. In fact, the odds are 650,000 to 1 that you’ll get a royal straight flush.
Your odds improve slightly for getting a regular straight flush with any sequence of cards in a suit. In this case, the odds are 75,000 to 1. Your best odds are to get a regular flush — five cards from no suit, out of sequence — at 500 to 1.
Compare these odds to all other hands: four of a kind (4,150 to 1), a full house (700 to 1), a straight (250 to 1), three of a kind (47 to 1), two pairs (20 to 1), and one pair (2 to 5.) Your weakest hand will be a high card (meaning you have no cards that match or go together in any way) at 1 to 1 odds.
How Do I Play a Flush to Win?
No matter which version of poker you’re playing, a flush is a force to be reckoned with. Each type of poker — Texas Hold ’em, Omaha poker, seven-card stud, five-card draw, to name a few — has different rules. Based on the regulations for each game, you’re required to create a hand using cards dealt to you and/or community cards that are face-up on the table and available to all players.
If you have two or more cards from the same suit among the first cards you’re dealt, you can confidently begin planning for a flush. Start slow, though.
In all variants of poker, it’s advised that you start cautiously, slowly raising your bet as you pick up cards and work your way toward completing your flush. This way, others playing will get invested in the game and are more likely to bet on lesser hands. Then, surprise them with a big bet, and they’ll feel compelled to call the game. If they don’t call, and you have a flush, the odds are good that you’ll beat their hands.
Are you Ready to Try Your Hand at Poker?
Now that you’ve learned all about the game-changing hand that is the flush, are you ready to try your hand at poker? We’ve compiled some of the top online poker games for you to check out.
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