Have you been playing poker for a while? Well, you would already be familiar be the critical poker hands rankings that help you to determine the strength of the hand that you possess. There is a long list of such hands and ‘full house’ is one such hand that is quite powerful. But, how powerful is the full house in poker? To put things in perspective, there are just two other possible hands (straight flush and four-of-a-kind) that can beat a ‘full house’. So, it is literally very powerful and can help you win bets / games in different poker game variations.
So, what exactly does the full house in poker indicate? How can you identify full house cards while playing in poker tournaments? Let us know more details about the same here.
Basic Rules of Full House in Poker
How do you make a full house in poker? You simply have to form it by combining three cards of the same rank with two cards of another rank. In other words, you combine ‘three of a kind’ with ‘a pair’ to make the full house with a five-card poker hand. These full house cards are also known as boats or full boats.
Let us understand full house as per poker rules, with examples below:
This hand represents the best possible full house or strongest full house. It comprises of three aces of the same rank along with two kings of another rank. In terms of full house language, such a hand is called as ‘Aces Full of Kings’ as per the convention ‘ full of ’.
Do remember that ‘Aces Full of Kings’ is the strongest full house hand possible which can beat any other full house hand. As the naming convention used for full house talks about the three cards first and then the pair, it will always be ‘Aces Full’ (or ‘Aces Over’) of ‘Kings’ for the strongest full house hand.
Please note that the most important criteria here is the rank / denomination. There is no relevance for the order of the suits. So, you will always have ‘Aces Full’ beat ‘Kings Full’ or ‘Queens Full’ in a full house.
Let us consider another example to get more clarity about how to understand the rank of a full house hand. Say you are playing poker with another player and both of you manage to get a full house as under:
You (Player 1) – KKKQQ
Opponent (Player 2) – QQQAA
Who do you think has the stronger full house hand? It is you. How? The ‘Kings Full’ always beats the ‘Queens full’, i.e. the stronger ‘three of a kind’ gives you the edge even though the opponent has a pair of aces. So, it is always the ‘three of a kind’ that is considered first, followed by the ‘pair’.
In cases where both the players have same ‘three of a kind’ in the full house, then, the ‘pair’ will become the deciding factor. Such situations can arise when you are playing any poker variant with two decks of 52-cards. Let us understand this with the same example as above with a different set of combinations for the full house hand:
You (Player 1) – AAA99
Opponent (Player 2) – AAA88
In the above situation, both you and the opponent would feel fairly confident of winning the bet with your full house hand because both of you have the strongest possible ‘three of a kind’ in your full house. But, here the winner will be decided by who has the strongest possible ‘pair’ since it’s a tie for the ‘three of a kind’. As your pair of 9s is higher than the opponent’s pair of 8s, you will be the winner here!
Probability of Full House in Popular Poker Variants
It is comparatively harder to make a full house in Texas Hold’em Poker than in Omaha Poker. So, a full house is comparatively a stronger hand in Hold’em than in Omaha. This means that the strength of the full house does depend on the poker variant that you are playing.
Probability of Full House in Different Betting Rounds
You start with the following betting rounds (sequentially) in the game of poker:
As you only receive the hole cards in the pre-flop round and are yet to receive the community cards, the chances of creating a full house here is minimal. With the flop round, your probability of creating the full house hand increases (as compared to pre-flop) because you get few community cards to play with. This probability increases further in the turn round and finally reaches the highest in the river round, as you get one additional community card in each of these rounds.
You need to be careful with placing bet on a full house. While it is a strong hand in several poker variants because it can potentially lose to only two other hands – four of a kind and straight flush, but, there are chances of your full house hand losing to other stronger full houses managed by your opponents. This makes it critical for you to be cautious if the risks and bets involved are high. You should target having the strongest possible ‘three of a kind’ in your full house.
Making a full house could put you in a strong position in several games of poker. However, you need to consider that there are just two stronger hands possible than a full house. At the same time, there are many full house combinations that can possibly be higher than yours – so you could potentially lose to them. Thus, your aim should always be to create the strongest possible full house in poker by following the various poker full house rules discussed here.
You can practise achieving the goal of creating a full house hand in poker by playing online at Spartan Poker. Just download the Spartan Poker app and start playing poker online.