Straight Poker

 Straight Poker

Introduction

Poker is among the most popular skill-based card games in the world. If you are new to poker, you should start by learning the poker hand rankings.

This blog is spotlighting the Straight hand. Ranked fifth, this sequence of five cards boasts 10,200 possible combinations. 

Uncover the nuances of its hierarchy, from the potent King-High to the modest Wheel. Gain insights into how Straight fares against other hands, solving the intricacies of poker rankings. The blog also sheds light on the probabilities and strategic gameplay with a focus on straight draws. Let's unlock the secrets of the Straight hand to level up your poker skills.

 

What is a Straight Hand in Poker?

  • The Straight poker hand is fifth on the list of poker hand rankings. It has five sequential cards of different suits. Due to its nature, it is an easy hand to identify. 
  • In a standard game of poker with a 52-card deck, there are around 10,200 possible combinations of Straight poker hands. Each Straight hand is ranked by its highest card. 
  • Depending on the combination, the Ace card can act as both the highest or lowest card. The highest Straight combination is Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10, also called Broadway. In this combination, Ace is the highest card. 
  • On the other hand, the lowest Straight-hand combination is Ace, 2, 3, 4, and 5, also called the wheel or bicycle. In this poker hand, the Ace card is the lowest.

 

How is a Straight Hand Ranked in Poker?

As discussed above, each Straight hand is ranked by its highest card. Thus, if the Straight begins with a King card, it's called a King-High Straight, and so on. 

Generally, a Straight is a pretty strong poker hand. However, its overall strength depends on the hands of other players, and whether any of the other players has a stronger hand.

Some examples of a Straight poker hand are:

  • King of Spades, Queen of Clubs, Jack of Diamonds, 10 of Spades, and 9 of Diamonds (K♠️ Q♣️ J♦️ 10♠️ 9♦️)
  • Queen of Hearts, Jack of Hearts, 10 of Clubs, 9 of Spades, and 8 of Hearts (Q♥ J♥ 10♣ 9♠ 8♥)
  • Jack of Clubs, 10 of Diamonds, 9 of Clubs, 8 of Spades, and 7 of Clubs (J♣ 10♦ 9♣ 8♠ 7♣)
  • 10 of Diamonds, 9 of Spades, and 8, 7, and 6 of Diamonds (10♦ 9♠ 8♦ 7♦ 6♦)
  • 7 of Spades and 6, 5, 4, and 3 of Diamonds (7♠ 6♦ 5♦ 4♦ 3♦)

Among these hands, the highest poker hand is the first one, i.e., the King-High Straight, followed by the Queen-High Straight and the Jack-High Straight respectively.

 

How Does a Straight Match Up Against Other Poker Hands?

Though the overall strength of the Straight poker hand is quite high, it lies in the middle of the poker hand ranking. Below, we’re providing an overview of the different poker hands, in decreased order of ranking:

  • Royal Flush: It is the highest hand in a game of standard poker made from 10 to Ace cards in the same suit. For example: 10♣ J♣ Q♣ K♣ A♣️
  • Straight Flush: It is a combination of Straight and Flush poker hands, i.e., it is made from five consecutive cards in the same suit. For example: 5♣ 6♣ 7♣ 8♣ 9♣
  • Four-of-a-Kind: It is made from four cards of the same rank along with a kicker. For example: A♠ A♣ A♦ A♥ 6♦
  • Full House: A Full House is made from a Three-of-a-Kind and a Pair, i.e., three cards of the same rank and two cards from another rank. For example: A♠ A♣ A♦ J♥ J♦
  • Flush: A Flush is made from five cards of the same suit that are not in order. For example: Q♣ 8♣ 6♣ 5♣ 3♣
  • Straight: A Straight poker hand is made from five consecutive cards that are not in the same suit. For example: A♠ K♣ Q♦ J♥ 10♦
  • Three-of-a-Kind: Three-of-a-Kind hand is made from three cards of the same rank and two kickers. For example: A♠ A♣ A♦ K♥ J♦
  • Two Pairs: This hand is made from two pairs of cards, along with a kicker card. For example: A♠ A♣ K♦ K♥ J♦
  • Pair: This hand only has a single pair of cards with the same rank. For example: A♠ A♣ Q♦ K♥ J♦
  • High Card: This poker hand does not have any combinations. In this case, the highest-ranked card is considered to be the hand rank. For example: A♠ 5♣ 3♦ 7♥ 9♦ (Ace High Card)

 

Probability of Getting a Straight Hand in Poker

A Straight is a very strong hand, especially in short-handed play, i.e., four-handed or six-handed action. Moreover, the probability of forming a Straight poker hand is double that of a Flush, its next highest hand in poker hand ranking.

In Straight poker and five-card draws, i.e., poker variants that do not have hole cards, the probability of forming a Straight (excluding the Royal Flush and Straight Flush) is around 0.3925% with 253.8:1 odds of appearing.

On the other hand, for Texas Hold’em, the most popular variation of poker, the odds of a Straight hand appearing are much higher. The probability of a Straight hand, excluding the Straight and Royal Flush, appearing is around 4.62% with 20.6:1 odds of appearing.

 

Straight Poker Probability Table

POKER HANDS FREQUENCY PROBABILITY (%) ODDS (~)
Royal Flush 4 0.000154% 1 in 649,740
Straight Flush 36 0.00139% 1 in 72,193
Four-of-a-Kind 624 0.0240% 1 in 4,165
Full House 3,744 0.1441% 1 in 694
Flush 5,108 0.1965% 1 in 509
Straight 10,200 0.3925% 1 in 255
Three-of-a-Kind 54,912 2.1128% 1 in 47
Two Pair 123,552 4.7539% 1 in 21
Pair 1,098,240 42.2569% 1 in 2.4
High Card 1,302, 540 50.1177% 1 in 2

What is a Straight Draw?

A Straight is not always the winning hand, but if you play it correctly, it can be. If you are a seasoned poker player, it would be easy for you to recognise a Straight hand forming in a combination of your hole cards and community cards.

This situation is called a Straight Draw. Simply put, a Straight Draw is when a player has four cards and needs only one more to form a Straight.

It will provide you with more betting opportunities early in the game. However, you should always be wary of another player forming a Straight Flush or even just a higher Straight.

There are two common types of straight draws:

  1. An Open-ended Straight Draw has four straight cards and can be completed at either end.
  2. The Inside Straight Draw has four outs on either end and needs the inside card for the straight.

It is more profitable to bet on an Open-ended Straight than an Inside Straight as the probability of that is more.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Wrap-around Straight?

A Wrap-around Straight combines the lower and higher Straights with an Ace card in the middle. For example, J-Q-K-A-2, K-A-2-3-4, etc. These Straights are generally not allowed in standard poker.

Is A-2-3-4-5 hand better than 2-3-4-5-6?

No. Though the A-2-3-4-5 hand contains an Ace, it is the lowest Straight. This is because the rank of a Straight is determined by its highest card, and a 6-high Straight would beat a 5-high Straight.

Why are wrap-around Straights not allowed in standard poker?

In poker, the Ace card is a corner card when part of a combination, i.e., it should occupy either a high or low position. Since the Wrap-around Straight does not follow this rule, it is not allowed in standard poker.

Do suits matter in the ranking of Straight poker?

No, Straight poker ranking is done solely based on card ranks, not their suits. However, if all the cards are of the same suit, it would be a Straight Flush, which ranks higher than a Straight poker hand.

 

Conclusion

To sum up, the Straight poker hand, consisting of five sequential cards from different suits, carries substantial weight in poker rankings. Its strength lies in its simplicity and ease of identification. 

Understanding how a Straight is ranked, recognizing its potential in various scenarios, and being mindful of draw possibilities contribute to a player's overall strategy. While a Straight may not be the pinnacle hand, its significance in the poker landscape is undeniable. 

Being adept at identifying and capitalizing on Straight draws adds an extra layer of skill to one's poker repertoire, making it a valuable asset in the game.

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