How to play Full House in Poker?

How to play Full House in Poker?

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If you are even remotely familiar with poker then you must have heard the term “full house”. A full house is a 5-card hand in poker that is made up of three-of-a-kind and a pair. This poker hand ranking is one of the most powerful ones that often help players win different poker variants. Now, in this in-depth guide, we have detailed every bit of information that you would probably require for learning how to play full house card game. We have covered right from the working example of a full house to the full house strategy to the probability of making a full house in different poker variants in this article. So, let’s dive in.

What is a full house in poker?

When it comes to how to play full house card game, the full house is described as any three cards that are of the same face value or number combined with any two cards that are of the same number or face value. In other words, a full house (also known as boats) is made using three cards that are of one rank and two cards that are of another rank.

Let us understand how to play full house card game with an example. Suppose, a player is playing a game of Texas Holdem and he holds a hand Ace, Ace, Ace, King, King. This hand represents the best and the strongest 5 card full house possible in any game of poker. With regards to traditional poker language, this hand is known as “Aces full of kings”.

Additionally, in how to play full house card game, the most important criterion is the rank/denomination. Therefore, as per standard poker rules, an Aces full hand will always beat a Kings full or Queens full in a full house.

Now, let’s understand the above concept of how to play full house card game using two short examples:

Example 1: Player 1 – King, King, King, Queen, Queen

Player 2 – Queen, Queen, Queen, Ace, Ace

As per poker rules, the kings full always beats the queens full. So, in the above example player 1 will be declared the winner even if player 2 holds a pair of aces. Because, when it comes to full house, the one with the highest three-of-a-kind is usually declared the winner. However, if it so happens that you and your opponent hold the same three-of-a-kind. Then, the winner is decided based on who holds a higher pair. In a rare scenario where more than one deck of cards is used, if you and your opponent both hold the same three-of-a-kind and a pair, then you likely have to split the pot.

Now, let’s understand the concept of how to play full house card game using another short example:

Player 1 – Ace, Ace, Ace, 7, 7

Player 2 – Ace, Ace, Ace, 8, 8

In this example, both the opponents hold the same three-of-a-kind. But, while player 1 holds a pair of 7s. player 2 holds a pair of 8s. As player 2’s 8s hold a higher value than opponent 1’s 7s, player 2 will be declared the winner in this hand.

How to play full house card game – A working example

If you are looking to learn how to play full house card game, then, it is imperative for you to understand how two full houses usually rank against each other. To illustrate the same, in this section, we have detailed a working example of how to play full house card game.

Let us assume two poker players by the name Mike and Laura are playing a game of Texas Holdem. Here, five community cards (4 of hearts, 8 of diamonds, 9 of diamonds, jack of spades and 4 of clubs) are on the table. Community cards are basically those cards that are dealt face up during a game of poker and are shared by all players.

Now, Laura has been dealt a hand of 4 of spades and Jack of hearts. With the 2 cards in her hand and the 5 community cards on the table, Laura has a total of 7 cards that she can use to make the best full house poker hand possible. So, let’s assume she doesn’t use the 8 and the 9. Instead, she makes a full house consisting of – 4 of spades, 4 of hearts, 4 of clubs, Jack of hearts and Jack of spades.

Mike, on the other hand, has been dealt a hand comprising of 8 of hearts and 8 of clubs. He doesn’t use the 9 of diamonds and Jack of spades. Instead, he makes his best 5-card hand combination using the 8 of hearts, 8 of clubs, 8 of diamonds, 4 of hearts and 4 of clubs.

In the example above, Mike’s 8 of hearts, 8 of clubs, 8 of diamonds wins from Laura’s 4 of spades, 4 of hearts and 4 of clubs. Why? Because when it comes to full house the suit does not make a difference. Instead, the comparison is done based on the value of three-of-a-kind, and since 8>4, Mike wins.

Additionally, as mentioned before, the right way of expressing the full house is by using the three-of-a-kind first, followed by the pairs. So, in the above example while Laura’s full house would be described as fours full of Jacks. Mike’s full house will be called eights full of fours.

How to play full house card game as a part of poker strategy?

By now, we are assuming you have developed a pretty clear understanding of what is a full house and how it is compared. Moving forward, in this section, we are going to discuss, how to play full house card game in Texas Hold'em and Omaha. The full house generally assumes incredible importance in both these games because the winner is usually decided based on who holds the best 5-card hand combination.

However, before we jump on to explaining how to play full house card game. It is important for you to be familiar with the rules of both Texas Hold'em and Omaha.

Texas Holdem

First on the line is Texas Hold'em, which is by far the most popular and straight-forward poker variant ever introduced to the poker world. In this game, two cards are allotted face down to each player and a dealer is designated at the beginning of the game. Thereafter, 5 community cards are opened on the board face up. Three at once during flop, then one during turn and one at the last during river. The players are usually expected to make the best 5 card hand combination using the face down or hole cards and the 5 community cards. Before and after each community card is revealed, players generally take turns to bet. Thereafter, whoever is able to make the best 5-card hand combination (hole cards + community cards) generally wins the round.

In Texas Hold'em, it is important to remember that a player has the freedom to use a combination of any 7 cards. A player can choose to combine the hole cards with the community cards, or leave the hole cards altogether. For instance – a player can choose to use 4 community cards with one hole card or combine 3 community cards with two of his own cards.

Thanks to modern pop culture, a full house is generally considered the strongest hand in poker. However, it is a myth. Even though a full house is a fairly strong hand in poker, it still ranks lower than a royal flush, straight flush and four-of-a-kind. A royal flush is generally described as 5 cards namely – a ten, jack, queen, king and an ace that are of the same suit. A straight flush is a poker hand that involves any 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. Finally, the four-of-a-kind involves 4 cards all of which must have the same face value. Here, it is imperative to understand that hitting a full house during flop is quite rare. The better probability will be of you hitting a three-of-a-kind or a pair. Thereafter, you must aim to procure more cards during the turn or river rounds.

Therefore, one of the best ways to learn how to play full house card game is to limp towards the pot. To limp in poker essentially means betting the smallest amount possible that is needed to stay in the game. You can then be aggressive as you reach the river and turn rounds. This is because when it comes to poker there are close to 3,744 ways in which a player can make a full house. So, even if you are not allotted the 2 best hole cards. Be patient, in the beginning as there is a slight chance you might be served the highest value cards during flop, turn and river.

Omaha

Having learnt how to play full house card game in Texas Hold'em, let us now dart our attention towards Omaha, another fun and easy variation of the Texas Hold'em. In the beginning of this game, each player is dealt 4 cards as opposed to the usual 2 cards allotted in Texas Hold'em. Thereafter, akin to Texas Hold'em, 5 community cards are dealt face up on the board. Now, here’s the catch. In Omaha, unlike Texas Hold'em, a player is required to choose 2 cards out of the 4. Then as per Omaha rules, the player is compelled to use these 2 cards when making the ultimate 5 card poker hand. This, as you might have noticed, is starkly different from Texas Hold'em. Where the player had the option of leaving his 2 hole cards altogether. The rest of the rules followed in Omaha are broadly similar to Texas Hold'em. In this game also the player who holds the best 5 card hand combination is declared the winner. Since a player must necessarily use 2 out of his 4 hole cards in Omaha, it becomes important to learn how to play full house card game.

Let us understand how to play full house card game in Omaha using a short example:

Suppose, the 3 community cards have been dealt on the board – Jack, Queen, Queen

Player 1 have been dealt a hand – Jack, Queen, King, Ace

Player 2 have been dealt a hand – 7,8, Queen, Jack

By taking a look at the cards, it is quite clear both the players can make the strongest full house possible (Queen full of Jacks). But, take a second look at the cards and you will realise that opponent 1 still holds a better chance of winning. Why? Because Player 1 has the option of making a better full house. Yes, since Player 1 already holds a king and ace even if one more ace or king is dealt during the turn round. Then, there is a high probability that Player 2 will score a better hand. Here, with regards to how to play full house card game it is important to remember that when it comes to Omaha, even the strongest full house is never truly the strongest.

Oh! Speaking of probabilities. In the next section we have covered how to play full house card game probabilities relative to different rounds of Texas Hold'em and Omaha to give you a better understanding of how to use the full house in such games.

Full house poker hand probabilities

When it comes to poker, while a full house is nearly always strong, the strength usually varies depending on the poker variant you are playing. For instance – it is far more difficult to make a full house in Texas Hold'em as compared to Omaha. It is because in Omaha players are allotted 4 hole cards in the beginning so the ways in which a player can make a full house automatically increases. Vital to this, a full house in Texas Hold'em usually has a higher value as compared to Omaha.

Moving forward, in both Texas Hold'em and Omaha there are 4 major rounds:

1)    Pre-flop – As the name suggests, the pre-flop is the betting round before the flop round.

2)    Flop – This is the round where 3 community cards are dealt face up on the board.

3)    Turn – This round begins after the flop round where 1 community card is dealt face up.

4)    River – This is the last betting round where the last community card is dealt.

When you are learning how to play full house card game, it is important to consider the 4 rounds described above. In the pre-flop round, players are generally allotted only 2 hole cards. Since they are yet to receive the community cards, the possibility of creating a full house here is near to impossible. However, the probability of creating a full house in the flop round slightly increases because you have 3 more cards to play with. The probability of making a full house steadily increases through the turn round. Finally, it reaches its best position during the river round. Let’s take a look at the how to play full house card game for both Texas Hold'em and Omaha

How to play full house card game – Omaha Probability

Round

Probability

Pre-flop

0.14%

Flop

0.65%

Turn

13.33%

River

20.45%

How to play full house card game – Texas Holdem Probability

Round

Probability

Pre-flop

0.14%

Flop

0.09%

Turn

12.77%

River

19.57%

Conclusion

We have finally reached the end of our discussion about how to play full house card game. To sum it up, making a full house in poker can undoubtedly put you in a strong position. However, it is still important to remember 2 things. Firstly, 3 other hands are usually ranked higher than a full house and there are many full house combinations that can be ranked higher than yours in any poker variant. Therefore, while looking to create a full house, always make it a point to create the strongest full house possible in a particular game of poker.

So, you have finally learnt how to play full house card game so it is time to practice it online on the GetMega Poker App.

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