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The Full House Hand in Poker

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The Full House is third on the list of poker hand rankings. It is made up of 3 same-ranked cards paired with 2 same-ranked cards.

However, it's not as simple to figure out what a Full House means just from its name. It's actually made up of 3 cards of the same rank paired with 2 cards of the same rank. In other words, it’s a Three-of-a-Kind hand (further down on the list) matched with a Pair (much further down on this list).

The best Full House hand is Aces full of Kings:

AAAKK

In this hand ranking, it’s the rank or the denomination that’s most important. For instance, Aces full of Kings is a Full House hand that beats any of the lower ranked Houses, like Aces full of Jacks, Kings full of Aces and so on.

Here are a few more examples of this type of hand:

JJJAA

KKKQQ

QQQ77

Can you work out which hand of the three above ranks the best? Keep in mind that the order of the suits is irrelevant – only the denominations matter. Also, the first 3 cards are considered first before the pair kickers.

How Does a Full House Hand Rank?

In a 52-card deck, there are 3,744 possible Full House hand combinations and 156 distinct ranks of Full Boats.

Full Houses are said to be “aces full” (aces over) or “jacks full” (jacks over) etc., based on the first three cards of the hand.

In this hand ranking, you need to keep in mind that it’s the rank/denomination that is the most important. Aces Full will always beat Kings Full, and Kings Over will always beat Queens Over, and so forth.

For example, hand KKK55 would rank higher than QQQAA - even though the queens full hand has a pair of aces kicker.

How Does a Full House Hand Match Up?

A Full House is the third best possible hand in the poker hand ranking system. Only a Straight Flush and 4-of-a-Kind rank above it. This makes it a very strong hand in Hold’em and is rarely beat on the river.

That said, there are still many hands that rank under it. The next best hand on the list is called a Flush.

The best Flush is the ace-high flush. Even though all the suits are considered equal in Flushes, the ranks determine which one is best.

Full House Poker Probabilities

Now, we’ll look at the pre-flop, flop, turn and river probabilities of making a Full House in both Hold’em and Omaha.

Hold'em Probabilities      
Pre-flop:   0.14% (based on 5 cards randomly drawn from a full 52-card deck)
Flop:   0.09% (when holding 3-of-a-Kind with a pocket pair)
Turn:   12.77% (from a set on the flop)
River:   19.57% (from a set on the turn)
Omaha Probabilities      
Pre-flop:   0.14% (based on 5 cards randomly drawn from a full 52-card deck)
Flop:   0.65% (when holding 3-of-a-Kind)
Turn:   13.33% (when holding 3-of-a-Kind)
River:   20.45% (when holding 3-of-a-Kind)

Visit our Full House Poker Odds article for more information.

Full House – FAQ

Question 1: What is a full house in poker?

A full house in poker is constructed with three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. Full houses are also frequently referred to as “boats”.


Question 2: Which full house is the strongest?

When two players both make a full house, the highest three of a kind creates the strongest full house; example: AAA88 beats KKK77. In scenarios where two players have the same three of a kind, the pair is then consulted to determine the winner.


Question 3: What is the correct way of describing a full house in poker?

The correct name is always “(three of a kind rank) full of (pair ranking)”. For example, 88844 would be described as “Eights full of Fours”.  


Question 4: Is a full house a good hand in poker?

While nearly always strong, it does depend on the variant and the exact full house in question. For example, full houses are typically stronger in Hold’em than they are in Omaha since it is harder to make full houses in Hold’em.


Question 5: How should we play a full house in Hold’em?

In most cases full houses are very strong holdings in Hold’em and should be played aggressively. However, it’s important to be careful when our full house is made using only one of our hole-cards, especially if there are higher full houses possible.


Now that you’ve got a better understanding of the Full House, we’ll move on to the next hand on the list. It’s called the Four-of-a-Kind.

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