What Is a Straight in Poker?

Straight Poker

Understanding what is a straight in poker and what is not is one of the first things every poker player should master. Straights are a strong hand, but they can be challenging to secure, especially in games like Texas Holdem.

You need to master the rules for making straights if you want to succeed at the best online poker sites. Otherwise, you could miss out on a great hand. Or, even worse, you could be beaten by a straight that you did not see coming.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about straights in poker. I will tell you how to make this hand, how strong it is, and the best strategies for playing it.

What Is a Poker Straight?

There are many different poker hands that players need to master to succeed at the popular card game. One of the best hands that you can hope for as a player is a straight.

A poker straight is a five-card hand that can be made up of cards of any suit. The key is that all five of the cards need to be in sequential order. Straights with higher-ranking cards are stronger than straights with lower-ranking cards.

How Do You Make a Straight in Poker?

Straights are the sixth strongest hand in most poker games. But making this hand can be easier said than done.

If you are playing Texas Holdem or Omaha Holdem, then you are going to need at least three cards from the board. Ideally, you will be able to use both cards from your starting hand. This will lower the chances of one of your opponents also having a straight.

In other forms of poker, you still need to get five cards in sequential order to get a straight. Your method for getting the cards for your straight will vary. In draw-style poker games, for instance,  you need to discard the cards that do not fit into your straight.

What Is the Difference Between a Straight and a Flush?

A straight is just below a flush in the poker hand strength rankings. Both hands require you to use all five cards in your final hand.

The difference is how the cards are related to one another. Straights require that all five cards be in sequential order. A poker flush, on the other hand, requires all five cards to be of the same suit, regardless of their order.

Each suit only has 13 cards in a standard deck of cards. So, your chances of getting five of the same suit are lower than your chances of getting five cards in numerical order.

Types of Straights in Poker

Knowing how to make a poker straight is only part of the battle. You also need to know the different types of straights that you can run into when playing poker.

What Is a Straight Flush?

A straight flush is the strongest straight that you can make. Depending on your perspective, it is either the second or the highest-ranking hand in most poker variants.

The straight flush combines the requirements for normal straights and flushes. So, the five cards in your hand need to be in sequential order and all be of the same suit. If the cards are ranked 10 through Ace, then you also have a Royal Flush.

A Royal Flush is the strongest hand you can get in most poker games. However, it is also the least likely poker hand that you can get. The only hand that beats a Royal Flush is five-of-a-kind, which requires jokers or wild cards to be in use. 

What Is a Small Straight in Poker?

As I mentioned above, the strength of a straight is determined by the cards being used. The lowest-ranking straight that you can get is called a small straight.

There are many other names for this hand, including the wheel, baby straight, or bicycle. The highest-value card in this straight is the five. To make this hand, you use the Ace as the “one,” so it has less value than normal.

Any other straight will beat the small straight. However, this hand will beat any hand that is lower ranking than a straight.

What Is a Nut Straight in Poker?

Another term that you may hear thrown around at the poker table is the concept of the nut straight. The “nuts” is a popular poker term that refers to the best hand in a given round.

Unlike the other types of straights above, this hand does not have a set combination of cards. Instead, it is the highest-value straight based on the cards on the board.

For instance, let’s say there is a 10, Jack, and Queen of different suits on the board. If you have a King and an Ace, then you have the highest possible straight. Even if another player has another kind of straight, your hand will win.

What Is a Straight Draw in Poker?

A straight draw is also a common phrase that you will hear around the poker table. This term does not refer to an actual straight though.

That is because a straight draw only consists of four cards. You have a straight draw when you have four of the five cards needed for a straight. In games like Texas Holdem, you want to get a straight draw after the flop so you have two chances to get the final card.

You should have a strategy for playing straight draws in poker because they can be challenging to manage. On one hand, you do not want to give up on your potential straight. However, you also do not want to bet too much in case your straight does not pan out, and you are left dead in the water. 

How Strong Is a Poker Straight?

A straight by itself is in the top six of the strongest poker hands in most games. It will beat most hands that you face at the best online casinos. But a straight is not invincible.

There are two questions that you need to ask yourself if you have a straight in poker:

  • How strong are the cards in your straight?
  • What other cards are on the board?

The answers to these two questions will help you determine how strong your straight is.

How Strong Are the Cards in Your Straight?

Simply put, the better the cards in your hand, the better your straight is. It will still lose to flushes and other higher-ranking hands, though.

Stronger cards will make you less likely to lose to another straight, though. Ideally, you want to have the nut straight. The further away you are from the best possible straight, the more likely you are to get beaten by a better straight.

What Other Cards Are on the Board?

The second question you need to answer to determine the strength of your straight is what other cards are on the board. This will help you determine whether you have the nut straight or not.

Also, it will help you guess what hands your opponents may have. For instance, if there are multiple cards of the same suit, then your opponent may have a flush draw. A flush is one of the few hands that can beat a straight, and it is the most likely one to occur.

Knowing what hands your opponents could be playing for will help you determine how aggressive to be with your betting. Also, it could help you guess what your opponent has based on how aggressively they are betting.

Best Online Gambling Sites for Practicing Straights in Poker

There is no better way to truly master the rules of poker straights than by actually playing poker. You can play at any time by using the top online gambling sites for poker.

Players have a lot of great online poker rooms to choose from. The one I recommend the most is Ignition Casino. This casino has everything a poker player could want from their online playing experience.

First and foremost, Ignition has a great selection of high-quality poker games to choose from. Also, there are great tournament options to choose from. So, you can practice making straights in any style of poker that you want to play.

Ignition also has great rewards for poker players. You can get extra funds for playing poker by claiming any of the great bonuses for poker players.

The Ignition Rewards program is a great resource for poker players, too. For instance, qualifying reward members can enter into weekly freeroll tournaments. This allows you to practice your poker skills for free.

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About the Author
Shaun Stack profile picture
Shaun Stack
Shaun Stack has authored dozens of casino blogs and joined our team in 2022. He enjoys playing any casino game but is particularly fond of Blackjack and Texas Hold'em. Also, he likes betting on sports, especially the NFL. Shaun is a native of Kansas City, but now lives in Pennsylvania and is an avid PA sports fan.

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