The Poker.org poker hands charts and rankings series defines each variety of made hands possible in a game of poker. This article delves into the straight flush, one of the best hands you can possibly make.
Examples of straight flushes include hands like J♥T♥9♥8♥7♥, 9♣8♣7♣6♣5♣, and A♠2♠3♠4♠5♠.
Besides the royal flush, all other hands lose to a straight flush. This hand consists of five consecutive cards, all of the same suit.
The royal flush is actually just the highest possible straight flush, consisting of a ten-to-ace straight of the same suit. All other occurrences of making five sequential cards, all the same suit, fall under the category of a straight flush.
The straight flush explained
A straight flush essentially represents a hand that makes a flush and a straight at the same time. Flushes and straights are both relatively tough to make in a poker game, but making a straight flush marks an exceedingly rare occurrence.
You must put together five sequential cards of the same suit to make a straight flush. For example, a hand like J♥T♥9♥8♥7♥ would qualify as both a flush and a straight, but the rare incidence of both at the same time makes this hand a jack-high straight flush.
A♠2♠3♠4♠5♠ marks the lowest-ranking straight flush, while K♣Q♣J♣T♣9♣ represents the highest-ranking straight flush.
The suits themselves don’t affect the strength of a straight flush. For example, A♠2♠3♠4♠5♠ is the same as A♥2♥3♥4♥5♥.
What beats a straight flush?
Only a royal flush beats a straight flush, according to the standard poker hand rankings. A royal flush is actually the best possible version of a straight flush.
For example, a hand like A♣K♣Q♣J♣T♣ qualifies as a royal flush and would beat any straight flush. Note that the ace can act as both the high card of an ace-to-ten royal flush and the low card of an ace-to-five straight flush.
In a battle of two or more straight flushes, the hand with the highest-ranking high card wins. For example, K♣Q♣J♣T♣9♣ (king-high straight flush) beats J♣T♣9♣8♣7♣ (jack-high straight flush).
Does a straight flush beat four of a kind?
Yes. A straight flush beats four of a kind and all other hands below that in the poker hand rankings. The straight flush stands as the second-highest hand in the poker hand rankings, while four of a kind represents the third-highest hand.
Does a straight flush beat a full house?
Yes. Only the royal flush beats the straight flush, and the straight flush defeats all other made hands in the poker hand rankings.
Full houses, while very strong, lose to straight flushes in a head-to-head battle at showdown. Even the strongest possible full house loses to any straight flush.
Probability of a straight flush
If you drew five random cards out of a regulation 52-card poker deck, you’d have only a 0.00139% probability of making a straight flush (excluding royal flushes). That probability translates to 72,192.3-to-1 odds against drawing a straight flush.
Texas Hold’em poker probabilities calculate the chances of making a five-card hand out of seven total cards. With all five community cards on the board, you have a 0.0279% chance of making a straight flush (excluding royal flushes) in a game of Texas Hold’em.
That’s a little better than your chances of drawing a five-card random straight flush, but the odds against making a straight flush in Texas Hold’em are still 3,589.6-to-1.
Straight flush vs. straight flush
In the rare event that two or more straight flushes face each other at showdown, the hand with the strongest high card wins. For instance, K♣Q♣J♣T♣9♣ (a king-high straight flush) beats J♣T♣9♣8♣7 (a jack-high straight flush).
The ace-to-five straight flush (A♠2♠3♠4♠5♠) is the lowest possible straight flush (five-high), and the nine-to-king straight flush (K♣Q♣J♣T♣9♣) is the strongest (king-high).
Examples of a straight flush
Any hand consisting of five consecutive cards of the same suit qualifies as a straight flush. Hands like K♣Q♣J♣T♣9♣ (king-high straight flush), J♥T♥9♥8♥7♥ (jack-high straight flush), 9♣8♣7♣6♣5♣ (nine-high straight flush) and A♠2♠3♠4♠5♠ (five-high straight flush) are all examples of straight flushes.
Note that the royal flush (A♣K♣Q♣J♣T♣) is the best possible straight flush but gets ranked in its own category as the strongest possible hand you can make in a game of poker.
The ace can act as the low end of the ace-to-five straight flush (A♠2♠3♠4♠5♠), but the ten-to-ace straight flush (A♣K♣Q♣J♣T♣) qualifies as a royal flush.