Does a Full House Beat a Straight in Poker & Why?
For experienced players, the rules of Texas Hold’em are pretty intuitive and most of the time they know if they are winning or losing before the cards are even turned over.
But, if you are just starting out and trying to figure out what beats what in Texas Hold’em it can be difficult to determine if you have a winning hand even when you see your opponent’s cards.
While in most cases there are obvious differences between hand strengths (such as one pair vs. straight), there are also some hand combinations that look similar and can keep you wondering.
For example, does a full house beat a straight, or does a straight beat a full house?
For those just looking for a simple answer: yes, a full house always beats a straight in poker!
If you often find yourself in these situations, don’t worry we got you covered, in this text you will find everything you need to know about these two hand combinations.
By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know now only that a full house beats a straight in Texas Hold’em, but also understand why this is the case.
What Is a Full House in Poker?
Before we jump into the full house vs. straight debate, we will first answer the question of what is a full house in poker.
In poker, a five-hand combination that consists of three cards of the same rank + two cards of a different rank is called a full house. This hand represents a combination of trips and a pair.
The original name for the full house was “full hand,” but nowadays a common term for this combination is a boat.
With that said, below are examples of a full house
The name of this full house combination is queens full of jacks.
And this full house combination is called jacks full of queens.
Now, when it comes to the way full houses are ranked, there are two rules:
- We first look at the three cards with the same rank
- If the rank of the three cards is the same in both combinations we then use the rank of the pair
This is why full house combinations with the same cards but different numbers of each card have different names (like in the examples above).
If we apply the rule of ranking full houses to our previous examples, the results are the following:
The queens full of jacks (Q♠Q♦Q♣J♠J♦) full house combination is stronger than the jacks full of queens (J♠J♥J♦Q♠Q♦) combination because the rank of the three cards in the first full house (Q) is higher than the rank of the three cards in the second full house (J).
Because each full house, in this case, has trips of a different ranking, we will not use the second part of the full house (the two cards of the same rank) to determine the strength of the full house.
However, you will also find yourself in situations where both you and your opponent hold a full house with three cards of the same rank.
This can happen when both you have a card of the same rank in your hole cards and use the same community cards to make your full house combination.
Imagine a situation in which:
- You have K♠Q♦ as your hole cards.
- Your opponent has K♦J♠ as his or her hole cards.
- And the community cards are K♥K♣Q♠J♦7♠.
This makes your final hand K♠K♥K♣Q♦Q♠ and your opponent’s final hand K♦K♥K♣J♠J♦.
In this situation, you are holding kings full of queens while your opponent is holding kings full of jacks.
Because the first part of the full house is the same in both of your hands (three kings), to determine whose hand is stronger we need to look at the second part of the combination (the pair).
Since your pair of queens (Q♦Q♠) outranks your opponent’s pair of jacks (J♠J♦), your full house also outranks his.
The Number of Full House Combinations in Texas Hold’em
In Texas Hold’em, there are 156 different ranks of full houses without suits. With suits included there are 24 combinations of each individual full house.
Q Q Q J J (queens full of jacks) represents the rank of the full house, and Q♠Q♦Q♣J♠J♦ represents the individual combination of the full house
If we combine the number of different ranks and the number of individual full house combinations we will get the total number of full house combinations.
- 156 x 24 = 3744
In Texas Hold’em, there are 3744 possible full house combinations.
What Is a Straight in Poker?
A straight in poker represents a five-card combination that consists out of five cards of sequential ranks of which at least one card is of a different suit.
Below are two examples of straight combinations.
If all cards in the straight combination are of the same suit then the combination is called a straight flush.
Below are two examples of a straight flush combination.
Finally, if the straight combination contains an ace as the highest card and a ten as the lowest card and all cards in the combination are of the same suit then the combination is called a royal flush.
Below are two examples of a royal flush combination.
The strength of each straight in poker is based on the rank of the highest card. The higher the rank of the highest card, the stronger the straight.
- 9♠8♠7♦6♦5♦ is stronger than 7♥6♥5♥4♣3♣.
- K♠Q♦J♥10♣9♣ is stronger than Q♣J♣10♥9♥8♠.
It is very important that you know the difference between the three types of straights because although they all represent straight combinations, each of them ranks differently in Texas Hold’em.
The royal flush is the strongest hand in Texas Hold’em poker and outranks other straight combinations and every other hand in poker, while the straight flush is second only to the royal flush.
“Ordinary” straights are much lower in the hand ranking hierarchy and we will see why in the next part of the text.
The Number of Straight Combinations in Texas Hold’em
Texas Hold’em poker is played with a 52-card deck that contains thirteen different card ranks (A, K, Q, J, T, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2) divided into four different suits (hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs).
This means that there are:
- 10,200 possible five-card straight combinations
- 36 possible five-card straight flush combinations (9 for each suit)
- 4 possible royal flush combinations (1 for each suit)
The main rule when it comes to the strength of the hand in Texas Hold’em poker is the harder it is to compile a combination, the stronger it is.
As you can see there are many more five-card straight combinations than there are straight flush and royal flush combinations and this is why the five-card straight ranks much lower in the Texas Hold’em hand rankings.
Does s Full House Beat A Straight in Poker?
To find out does a full house beat a straight in poker, we will take a look at the number of possible combinations for these two hands and all other hands in Texas Hold’em.
|Four of a Kind
|Three of a Kind
In this table, you can see one more time why the royal flush is the strongest hand in poker – because there are only four possible combinations of this hand and at 649,739-to-1, the chance of getting a royal flush is the lowest of all other hand combinations in poker.
Likewise, with 35, a straight flush is in second place, and the chances of getting one of those are also very slim 72,192-to-1.
With 1.37-to-1, one pair is the most likely paired hand in Texas Hold’em.
Now if we use the same principles to determine does a straight beat a full house, the results are the following:
There are 3,744 possible combinations of a full house, and the chances of getting one of those are 693-to-1.
On the other hand, there are 10,200 possible straight combinations and on average you will compile a straight once every 254 hands.
You are much more likely to get a straight than a full house in poker and that is why, in the full house vs. straight battle, the full house beats a straight in poker!