As part of Poker.org’s cards chart and poker hands series, we bring you a full rundown of the royal flush, including the definition, probability, ranking, hands that beat it (nothing) and examples.
There are only four ways to make a Royal Flush from a 52-card poker deck:
A♠K♠Q♠J♠T♠, A♥K♥Q♥J♥T♥ , A♣K♣Q♣J♣T♣, A♦K♦Q♦J♦T♦
What is a Royal Flush?
The royal flush represents the strongest possible hand you can make in a game of poker. Royal flushes top all other hands in the poker hand rankings and are mathematically the rarest made hands that you can draw from a 52-card poker deck.
A royal flush consists of a ten-to-ace straight with all five cards of matching suits. A standard poker deck yields only four ways to make a royal flush, as the royal flush stands as the rarest of poker hands.
The hand occurs so infrequently, in fact, that you could play thousands of poker hands and never make a royal flush.
The Royal Flush Explained
Only four ways to make a royal flush exist in a standard 52-card poker deck. You can make an ace-to-ten straight in any of the four suits, (spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs), but all five cards must be the same suit for the hand to qualify as a royal flush.
The royal flush stands as the best possible straight flush you can make. A straight flush is made of five sequential cards that are all the same suit.
The royal flush sits on the top end of the spectrum of straight flushes you can make and sits atop all other hands in the poker hand rankings.
What Beats a Royal Flush?
No other made hand beats a royal flush in games that use the standard poker hand rankings. Royal flushes mark the best possible hand in games like Texas Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha Hi, Stud, Short Deck Hold’em, and many others.
In games with a hi-lo split, it’s possible for the best qualifying low hand to chop the pot with a royal flush. Games that use hi-lo split rules include Omaha Eight or Better, Stud Eight or Better, and a few other poker variants.
The royal flush is always an unbeatable high hand, however. In Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha, it’s impossible for two players to use their hole cards to make a royal flush in the same hand.
Does a Five of a Kind Beat a Royal Flush?
Five of a kind doesn’t occur in games that use a standard 52-card deck. The Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha games played in casinos around the world don’t use jokers or any kind of wild cards that would make five-of-a-kind possible.
Any poker game that includes five-of-a-kind as a possibility isn’t using a standard poker deck.
Do Four Aces Beat a Royal Flush?
Four aces make a very strong hand, but not strong enough to beat a royal flush. Four aces stand as the strongest possible four-of-a-kind you can possibly make, but all four-of-a-kind hands lose to the royal flush. All hands below four-of-a-kind in the poker hand rankings also lose to the royal flush.
Probability of a Royal Flush
A standard poker deck yields only one distinct way to draw a royal flush. Multiplying that by the four suits, there are four total possible ways to make a royal flush.
If you drew five random cards from a 52-card deck, you’d have an 0.000154% chance of making a royal flush. This probability can also be expressed as 649,739-to-1 odds against drawing a royal flush.
In Texas Hold’em, you’re tasked with making the best possible five-card hand out of seven total cards (two hole cards plus five community cards). In a game of Texas Hold’em, you have a 0.0032% chance of making a royal flush (30,939-to-1 odds against).
Examples of a Royal Flush
Examples of a royal flush include A♠K♠Q♠J♠T♠, A♥K♥Q♥J♥T♥, A♣K♣Q♣J♣T♣, and A♦K♦Q♦J♦T♦.
The standard versions of flushes and straights include many different ways to make those hands. The royal flush only gives you one distinct way to make the hand, however and four overall ways.
A royal flush can only be made as a ten-to-ace straight of all the same suit. Any suit can be used to make a royal flush, but only a ten-to-ace straight with all cards of the same suit qualifies as a royal flush.