Poker Hand Ranking Mnemonic

Are you constantly asking yourself what beats what in terms of poker hands? Does a flush beat a straight or is it the other way around?

The best way to remember poker hand ranking is visual learning i.e., the association of images to the concepts you are learning. For poker hand ranks, we will associate images of increasing sizes to hand types of increasing rank.

The first four poker hands are easy and don't need any kind of visual: 0, 1, 2, 3 -- for High Card (or zero pair), One Pair, Two Pair and Three of a Kind.

For the next five hands, bring in mind a scene set up in a San Francisco home:

Straight (ex.: 5♣ 6♥ 7♦ 8♣ 9♠): Five cards in sequence, no matter their suit. Think of Streptococcus, a bacteria whose name derives from its way of growing in chains.


Flush (ex.: 5♥ K♥ A♥ 8♥ 2♥): Five cards of the same suit. To help you remember, notice that Flush and suit both have the letter U. And for the picture... it'll have to be a flush toilet. And one with a few Streptococcus bacteria on it.

Full House (ex.: 6♠ 6♦ Q♠ Q♦ Q♣): Three cards of matching rank and two cards of a different matching rank. You certainly remember the Full House house from the homonymous American sitcom (inside which you can imagine the aforementioned flush toilet).

Full House

Quads (or Four of a Kind or, in French, Carré, which means square; ex.: A♥ A♣ A♦ A♠ 6♠): Four cards of matching rank and one side card. The Full House house is in the Alamo Square neighborhood in San Francisco.

Alamo Square

Straight Flush (ex.: 9♠ 10♠ J♠ Q♠ K♠): Five cards in sequence of the same suit. Same initials as San Francisco.


When you wonder which of two hands is the highest-ranked, figure out which one has the biggest object associated with it and you're done.

So next time you wonder if a straight beats a flush, visualize a Streptococcus bacteria and a flush toilet; the answer will be obvious and instantaneous!