What Is a Full House in Poker?

A full house is a very strong poker hand consisting of a three of a kind and a pair, i.e., three cards of the same ranking combined with two different cards of the same ranking.

This particular poker combination is sometimes also referred to as a boat or a full boat. In most cases, a full house will be a winning combination, but there are some exceptions.

Poker HandExplanationExample
#1. Royal FlushFive highest cards of the same suitAcKcQcJcTc
#2. Straight FlushAny five consecutive cards of the same suitJcTc9c8c7c
#3. Four of a KindFour cards of the same rank4c4s4d4hJc
#4. Full HouseThree cards of one rank + two cards of another rank3c3s3d7h7c
#5. FlushFive cards of the same suitKdJd7d5d3d
#6. StraightFive consecutive cards in different suits6s5s4d3d2h
#7. Three of a KindThree cards of the same rank7c7h7d2hJ2
#8. Two PairsTwo cards of one rank + two cards of another rankQcQs2c2hJs
#9. One PairTwo cards of the same rank8h8sAcKs5d
#10. High CardAny other handAcQdJs4h3c

Examples of a Full House Poker Hand

There are many different ways to make a full house in Texas Hold’em poker, but it will always be a hand containing one three of a kind combination plus a one-pair combination. The hand is named after its three-of-a-kind part, i.e.:

  • As Ah Ad Ks Kd – Aces full of Kings (the strongest possible full house)
  • Ks Kd Kc Js Jh – Kings full of Jacks
  • 7s 7d 7h 2s 2d – Sevens full of Deuces
  • 5c 5h 5d As Ah – Fives full of Aces

When comparing full houses, the three of a kind part is always used first to determine the winner. For example, Queens full of Deuces, beats Jacks full of Aces.

When two players have the same three of a kind combo in their full house hand, the second part (the pair) is compared, and whoever has the strongest pair wins. For example, Tens full of Sevens beats Tens full of Fives because Sevens are a stronger pair than Fives.

If two exactly the same full house hands are table at a showdown, players will split the pot, and suits of cards will not be considered to determine the winner.

What Beats Full House in Poker?

A full house is a very strong poker hand that beats all flush, straight, three of a kind, two pairs, one pair, and high card combinations.

This is the fourth-strongest hand you can get in Texas Hold’em hand rankings and other high poker variations, losing only to Royal Flush, straight flush, and four of a kind (quads).

There are many instances where a full house is the absolute nuts, i.e., the best player can possibly have on a given board texture.

Full House Probabilities

The main reason why a full house is such a strong hand is that it’s not easy to come by. The odds of making a full house out of five random cards drawn from a deck of 52 cards are just 0.00144%.

In Texas Hold’em, these are your odds of making a full house on the flop with different starting hands.

Starting HandOdds
Any two cards0.14%
Any unpaired hand0.09%
Any pocket pair0.98%

Here are a few more interesting and useful stats regarding a full house in poker:

  • The odds of flopping a full house or better when holding AKo are 0.1%
  • When you flop two pairs, your odds of improving to a full house by the river are 16.%
  • After flopping a set with a pocket pair, your odds of improving to a full house or quads by the river are 33.4%

How to Play a Full House in Poker

As one of the strongest poker hands, a full house will win you many big pots. However, not all full houses were created equal so you need to evaluate the best poker strategy in each situation.

When there is a three of a kind on the board, and you make a full house by pairing one of the remaining community cards, this hand can be susceptible to quads and stronger full houses (depending on the board texture). Consider all the circumstances of the hand before losing all your chips on the account that you have a full house and should thus go broke.

Conversely, a full house made with a pocket pair can be very powerful, especially if it is the best possible full house. In this instance, your opponents will sometimes have a three-of-a-kind or even a lower full house, which will allow you to extract a lot of value from your hand.


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