Three-of-a-Kind is sixth on the list of poker hand rankings. It consists of 3 cards of the same rank or denomination.
The words “Three of a Kind” should immediately have you thinking that it consists of some combination of 3 cards – this is what makes it a very easy hand to recognise. However, it can get a little confusing when it comes to distinguishing between a Set and Trips, which are both types of 3-of-a-Kind hands.
Let’s look at the definition of a Set and then what’s commonly referred to as Trips:
A Set is when you have a pair in your hand, like 9♦9♣, matched with another 9♥ on the board.
Trips happen when there is a pair on the board, like 10♥10♦5♠, and you hold another 10♣ in your starting hand.
Here are a few examples of 3-of-a-Kind hands:
When rating one 3-of-a-Kind hand over the next, it’s the hand rank or denomination that’s important. In that vein, the best 3-of-a-Kind hand is 3 Aces, whether that’s a Set of Aces or Trip Aces.
How Does a 3-of-a-Kind Hand Rank?
In a 52-card deck, there are 54,912 possible 3-of-a-Kind hand combinations and 858 distinct ranks of 3-of-a-Kind hands. Each Three-of-a-Kind is rated by its 3 cards of the same rank, then by rank of its first kicker and then the second kicker comes into play.
Here are a few more examples of 3-of-a-Kind hands:
Can you tell which hand ranks highest?
Keep in mind that the suits are irrelevant and that the kickers determine which 3-of-a-Kind hand is best.
How Does a 3-of-a-Kind Hand Match Up?
Three-of-a-Kind is the 6th best possible hand in the poker hand ranking system. The Straight ranks directly above it, with the best Straight being ace-high, also known as “Broadway”.
There are only 3 hands that rank beneath 3-of-a-Kind. The hand that ranks directly under a 3-of-a-Kind is Two Pair. The best Two Pair hand is Aces and Kings with a Queen kicker.