Archive for the ‘Ranking of Poker Hands’ Category

After its buy-in was slashed from $10,000 to $5,000, the 2010 installment of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker attracted 462 players. Last year, a total of 279 entered, meaning that the field grew by 66%. However, the total prize pool of the marquee WPT event dipped from $2.63 million to $2.15 million, a fall of 18%.

The top 45 poker players will finish in the money, with the top spot scheduled to pay out $750,000. Last year, poker rapper Prahlad Friedman banked a little over $1 million after besting World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event November Niner Kevin Schaffel heads-up. Todd Terry, Toto Leonidas, Sam “KingKobeMVP” Stein, and Mike Krescanko also made the final table in 2009.

Nearly 300 players – including 16 former WPT champs – took to the felts on Saturday for the second of two starting days in the Legends of Poker, which emanates from the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. The day began with WPT officials honoring Kathy Liebert, who was playing in her 100th WPT tournament. According to the WPT’s website, Liebert is the female record-holder for most final tables made with six, most cashes logged with 15, and most money won with $1.75 million. However, she lacks a WPT title.

Despite the fanfare, Liebert was eliminated late in the day, as was Lock Poker’s Matt “All In At 420” Stout. The internet player dropped his stack with A-J of diamonds against Shawn Buchanan’s pocket sevens to hit the rails. UB.com pro Phil Hellmuth, meanwhile, took a three-hour dinner break on Saturday and returned to chat it up with fans rather than play cards. He finished the day with a stack of 66,850, or 167 big blinds, good for the 50th largest tally in the room entering Day 2.

PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu lodged a particularly memorable Day 1B. Negreanu dropped to 10,000 in chips after running into a royal flush and eventually hit the rails after his A-J fell to 8-2. On the latter hand, the flop came A-2-3, giving his opponent bottom pair, but another deuce on the turn and an eight on the river didn’t help matters.

Joe Sebok and stepfather Barry Greenstein have both made waves in the WPT Legends of Poker, entering Day 2 in 17th and 19th places, respectively. Also vaulting up the leaderboard on Saturday was Allen Cunningham, who tripled up to 90,000 after cracking pocket aces and pocket kings by flopping a boat. Cunningham candidly Tweeted following the monster pot, “Holy Macintosh, I just flopped a full house vs AA and KK to triple from 30K to 90K.”

Here are the top 10 players in the WPT Legends of Poker entering Day 2 on Sunday:

1. Manuel Reyes – 205,350
2. Vinny Vinh – 180,000
3. Raymond Dolan – 165,500
4. Justin Young – 138,950
5. Max Casal – 138,500
6. Micah Raskin – 135,000
7. Philip Stark – 132,575
8. Ari Goott – 129,000
9. Ken Michelman – 125,200
10. C. Zadfar – 125,000

Other players remaining in the top 50, including their chip counts, include:

17. Joe Sebok – 108,650
19. Barry Greenstein – 100,675
32. Jonathan “FatalError” Aguiar – 78,125
33. Soi Nguyen – 77,250
36. Allen Cunningham – 76,500
37. Tom “Kingsofcards” Marchese – 76,350
39. Marco “CrazyMarco” Johnson – 75,225
45. Jeff Madsen – 70,800
47. J.J. Liu – 70,700
50. Phil Hellmuth – 66,850

Day 2 kicks off at 1:00pm PT on Sunday from The Bike, with 241 players remaining in the hunt for the WPT title. The Legends of Poker will crown a winner on Wednesday.

After a two-month long public voting period, Harrah’s officials unveiled the top 10 vote getters for the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2010 on Wednesday. Now, the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council will review the list and axe anyone deemed not eligible to enter.

Four criteria are required for a person to be considered for the prestigious Poker Hall of Fame: “A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition; played for high stakes; played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers; stood the test of time; or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.”

Each of the 10 finalists appears to foot the bill. Last year, no women were among the final ten. This year, two are up for consideration, Linda Johnson and Jennifer Harman. Johnson, a Guest Columnist here on Poker News Daily, was an inaugural inductee of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame. Harman, meanwhile, will be enshrined on Friday as part of its Class of 2010. Johnson and Harman have taken up a considerable amount of charitable work and been responsible for the growth of the game among women.

Four former World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champions will be considered as well. Full Tilt Poker’s Chris Ferguson (2000), Dan Harrington (1995), Tom McEvoy (1983), and Scotty Nguyen (1998) may find themselves as the center of attention at the Poker Hall of Fame’s induction during the November Nine weekend at the Rio in Las Vegas.

ESPN.com Poker Editor Andrew Feldman, who will join this author on the 17-member media panel that will vote for the Class of 2010, told Poker News Daily, “The nominees this year show the amazing diversity that we have in the industry and there are definitely some names that stick out above the rest. Every player on the list will definitely deserve some credit.”

Several younger players also grace the top 10, including Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey. The two are a combined 70 years old, nearly the same age as both McEvoy and Harrington. Ivey has eight WSOP bracelets, tied for the fifth most overall with fellow nominee Erik Seidel. Rounding out the list of 10 finalists for the Poker Hall of Fame is Barry Greenstein, whose generosity off the felts has not gone unnoticed.

WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla shared many of Feldman’s sentiments, telling Poker News Daily on Wednesday, “I can’t imagine a better or more qualified group of 10 nominees than this. The only question I see on each of these names is not if they will make it into the Poker Hall of Fame because in the long-run most of them will inevitably be inducted. The real question is which one or two candidates will be inducted this year. The best thing about this list is there’s no question that he or she will be most deserving.”

A total of 102 “valid unique names” received nominations, 44 of which garnered multiple votes. On September 13th, the 16 living Hall of Fame members and 17 members of the media will receive a final ballot. The group of 33 will rank who they deem worthy of admission and the top two vote getters will be inducted in November. Each of the two finalists must have received at least 50% of the vote. Last year, World Poker Tour host Mike Sexton was the Poker Hall of Fame’s lone inductee; the threshold for enshrinement in 2009 was 75% of the vote.

Here are the 10 nominees for the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2010 following the two-month public voting period:

Chris Ferguson
Barry Greenstein
Jennifer Harman
Dan Harrington
Phil Ivey
Linda Johnson
Tom McEvoy
Daniel Negreanu
Scotty Nguyen
Erik Seidel

Home poker games can have any rules they want, but casino rules and poker hand rankings are consistent. Poker games are normally played with a fifty-two card deck. A joker is sometimes used when playing Draw games. A joker is not used when playing “flop games” like Texas Holdem, nor is it used in Stud-style games. (See Texas Holdem Rules and Stud Poker Rules.)
Cards are ranked with the Ace the highest card, followed by the King, Queen, Jack, Ten, Nine, Eight and so on down to the Two, known as a Deuce. In most games, an Ace can also play below a Deuce for straights (see below) or as the lowest card in Lowball style games.
All poker hands, even if you are playing a game like Seven Card Stud, consist only of the best five cards available. Sixth cards are never used to break ties. Suits are not used to break ties (spades are not better than clubs). After all betting rounds are complete all players remaining in the hand show their cards (or discard them if they see a better hand has them beat). The poker hand rankings are, in order.

1. If a joker or wild cards are used, Five of a Kind is the best hand, with five aces (the four natural Aces plus the joker) the best possible hand.

2. If there is no joker in play, the best possible hand is a Straight Flush: five consecutive cards of the same suit. (“Suits” are spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds.) The highest possible straight flush is a Royal Flush. A Royal Flush includes the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten of the same suit.

3. Four of a Kind. Four cards of the same rank, for example four kings, plus any fifth card. As always, higher ranks are better — four tens would beat four sixes.

4. Full House. Three cards of the same rank, with a pair of another rank. For example, KKK33. The higher ranking three cards determines which full house beats another — 77766 beats 222AA.

5. Flush. Five cards of the same suit. For example, the Ace, Queen, Nine, Seven and Three of clubs. When comparing flushes, they are ranked from the top card on down. A9732 defeats KQJ85, while a QJ987 flush defeats a QJ983 one. If two flushes have exactly the same cards, like AJ976 of spades versus AJ976 of hearts, this is a tie and a pot would be split.

6. Straight. Five sequential cards of different suits. For example, 98765. When two straights are shown, the highest card determines the winner — KQJT9 defeats 87654. An Ace can be used to make either a “Broadway” straight of AKQJT or a “wheel” straight of 5432A. “Around the corner” straights like 32AKQ are not allowed.

7. Three of a Kind. Three cards of the same rank, like 888 with two unpaired cards. As always, a higher ranked three of a kind defeats a lower ranked three of a kind — 99932 beats 666AK. In flop games it is possible for both players to have the same three of a kind, in which case the two unrelated “kicker” cards would determine the winner — QQQ92 would defeat QQQ87. If the two hands are identical, the pot is split.

8. Two Pair. Two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank and a kicker of a third rank. For example JJ882. KK332 defeats QQJJ9. 99554 defeats 9933A. 7766A defeats 7766Q. Two hands of the same ranks, like KKQQ5 versus KKQQ5 split the pot.

9. One Pair. Two cards of the same rank, and three unrelated cards. For example, JJK73. A higher pair defeats a lower pair. When players have the same pair, the unrelated “kicker” cards are valued in order, so 99Q32 defeats 99765.

10. No Pair, High Card. Poker hands with no pair or any of the other ranking values listed above. When comparing no pair hands, the highest card determines the winner, using each card in order if necessary, so AKQ94 defeats AKQ85.