Learn poker suit rankings

Very rarely in poker will you need to know about poker suits ranking. The cards are usually ranked by value and not by suit, but sometimes it can come up.

There is no set way for poker suit rankings to be worked out. It changes from different types of poker and location. Even in the same poker variant the way the cards suit rankings are done can be different. There are two ways it is usually done:

  • Alternating colours, Diamonds are lowest valued, followed by clubs, then hearts and spades are the highest valued (used playing big two).
  • Reverse alphabetical order, clubs are lowest valued, diamonds next, hearts second highest and spades the highest valued (used playing bridge).

The most common one you will probably see for Texas hold’em is reverse alphabetical order. The reverse alphabetical order one came from what the card suits originally represented. Spades represented nobility, hearts represented the clergy, diamonds represented the merchant class and clubs represented the working class. Why does spade represent nobility? Spade doesn’t mean a spade you dig the garden with, it derived from the Spanish word espada meaning sword.

The suit rankings are only usually used for things like selecting first dealer, or when players need to move tables. Breaking ties in chip races would often use the suit rank order. In stud games it can decide the first person to act: if two players have the same lowest value card, the poker suit rankings will decide first person to act.


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