Why Does a Straight Flush Beat Four of a Kind (Explained)

Why Does a Straight Flush Beat Four of a Kind

One of the most popular and well-liked gambling games of all time is poker. A poker hand hierarchy consists of ten possible outcomes. In the world of cards, the lowest score is known as a High Card, while the highest is known as a Royal Flush. In order of importance, Straight Flush and Four of a Kind are positioned right after the highest poker hands.

Using mathematical probability, poker hand rankings rank different hand combinations, with the rarest hands at the top. A straight flush and four-of-a-kind are two of the best poker hands. In spite of the fact that both hands are exceptionally strong, the straight flush ranks higher due to its greater statistical likelihood.


Various five-card poker hands are ranked based on their strength and rarity. Due to the probabilities associated with different card combinations in poker, a hand that is less likely than another holds more value. Thus, royal flushes are the best possible hands, while high card hands rank the lowest.

Based on historical precedents and mathematical analysis of poker odds, hand rankings are derived. Using universal hand valuations, they enable standardised gameplay rules and strategy. To gain an edge, players need to understand hand rankings to make better betting decisions.

Also Read: Does A Full House Beat A Flush Or A Straight In Poker?

The Straight Flush

A straight flush contains five consecutive cards of the same suit, such as 5♠ 6♠ 7♠ 8♠ 9♠. Drawing a random five-card poker hand from a 52-card deck, you have a 0.00139% chance of getting dealt a straight flush. This rarity translates to odds of 72,192 to 1 against making a straight flush.

In Texas Hold’em, where players use seven cards to make the best five-card hand, the probability rises slightly to 0.0279% if all cards are in play. But straight flushes remain exceedingly uncommon occurrences. Their elusiveness ranks them just below royal flushes as the second strongest type of poker hand possible.

Four of a Kind

As the name suggests, four of a kind means getting dealt four cards of matching rank in your five-card poker hand, such as 5♥ 5♠ 5♦ 5♣ 9♥. You have 156 potential ways to make four of a kind from the 52 cards in a deck, leading to 0.024% odds or 4,165 to 1 against randomly being dealt this hand.

In Texas Hold’em, four-of-a-kind hands occur just 0.199% of the time when leveraging the five community cards with your two-hole cards. Despite better chances in this poker variant, four-of-a-kind situations remain statistical anomalies that instantly give you a monumental advantage.


The poker hand rankings place straight flushes above four-of-a-kind hands because the former rarely occurs mathematically. The approximate 0.00139% chance of getting a straight flush compared to 0.024% odds for four-of-a-kind means straight flushes take precedence despite both being incredibly strong.

Poker traditions further cement straight flushes as second to royal flushes in hand rankings. But it ultimately comes down to the extreme improbability of consecutively landing all five suited cards. These long odds against straight flushes make them more valuable than four of a kind’s slightly less remote probabilities when they go head-to-head.



Rankings of poker hands determine the relative strength of different combinations, which has significant strategic implications that can influence your success rate. By understanding rankings, you can shape betting patterns and maximise value by categorising your hand and your opponent’s.

Impact on Bet Sizing

In poker hand rankings, high equity hands, like straight flushes or four of a kind, are ranked higher than lower equity hands. Capitalising on the hand strength edge allows you to bet more aggressively for value, apply pressure with larger sizings, and extract more from opponents.

A significant response from others, on the other hand, indicates that they have more vital positions higher on the ladder. It might be best to avoid further confrontation and cut losses if you do not have comparable holdings. As a result of hand rankings, ideal bet sizings can be determined based on equity positions.

Psychological and Bluffing Considerations

Rare poker hands carry psychological weight beyond their mathematical probability. You gain confidence in your play when you start with premium holdings such as straight flushes or four-of-a-kind. When you have strong draws to powerhouse hands, you are more likely to be able to bluff through semi-bluffs.

Meanwhile, opponents are also trepiduous about potential monsters. Placing large bets can represent stronger hands than you actually hold. Bluffing and pressure situations are improved when you understand your advantage over the rankings.

Also Read: What Beats What In Poker? Poker Hand Rankings Explained


Hand rankings categorise your starting hand options into tiers of strength. Analysing opponent tendencies will reveal potential holdings based on these tiers – for instance, tight players rarely stray from highly-priced premium pairs. This allows you to tailor starting hand requirements and post-flop play based on likely opponent ranges organised by the rankings hierarchy.

Poker Hand RankingsExample Card Combinations
Royal FlushA♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10♥
Straight Flush7♦ 8♦ 9♦ 10♦ J♦
Four of a KindA♣ A♠ A♥ A♦ 5♣
Full House10♠ 10♣ 10♥ 8♠ 8♣
Flush5♥ 7♥ 9♥ J♥ Q♥
Straight6♣ 7♦ 8♠ 9♥ 10♠
Three-of-a-KindQ♠ Q♣ Q♥ 8♦ 2♥
Two Pair9♣ 9♠ 5♣ 5♦ K♥
One PairA♥ A♣ K� diamondclubsuit 7♠
High CardQ♥ J♠ 10♦ 9♣ 7♣

By decoding opponent ranges through poker hand rankings, as illustrated above, you gain critical insight into profitable situations for extracting value using controlled aggression and optimal bet sizing relative to equity.


In the poker hand rankings hierarchy, straight flushes outrank four of a kind because the odds against forming the suited and connected five-card straight remain astronomically higher. These long mathematical probabilities ultimately set the precedents for ordering poker hands based on the rarity of the different combinations.

Internalising poker’s standardised hand rankings allows players to make better betting decisions and play more strategically. Whether holding or facing a premium hand, the probabilities dictate the amount of value on the line. So, a sharp comprehension of the hierarchy provides a leg up on opponents at the table.

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