Short Deck Hand Ranking

Some poker games are played with a short deck, the lowest ranking cards have been stripped. One of the two most common alternatives is a 40 card deck where the Twos to Fours are removed. Poker with this deck is often referred to as Spanish Poker. The other common deck is a deck with 32 cards, all the Sixes to Twos are stripped from a regular deck. Such a deck is also known as a French deck. Cutting down the number of cards changes the odds of getting different hands. This is reflected in the short deck hand ranking presented here from best and downward. Most hands are no different than the regular hand ranking chart and are presented in greater in detail in a seperate article. Please refer to this for information and tie breakers within these hands. Short decks are used in some draw and stud games. One example a game where this hand ranking system is used is the stud game Americana.

All poker hands consist of five cards. The difference between short deck hand ranking and regular hand ranking for poker games with a full 52 card deck is that a flush beats a full house in short deck hand ranking.

Royal Straight Flush

An ace-high straight flush.

Straight Flush

Five cards in a sequence and all in the same suit.

Four of a Kind

Any hand containing four cards of the same rank.


All five card of the same suit.

Nota bene, a flush is ranked higher than a full house.

Full House

A three of a kind and a pair in the same hand.

Nota bene, a full house is ranked lower than a flush. With a 32 card deck there are 1344 possible five card combinations that make a full house compared to 204 that make a flush.


Five cards in a sequence make a straight.

The highest straight is the ace high straight and the lowest is the “ace low straight”. The ace counts as either the highest or the lowest card for straight purposes. Since the lowest ranked cards have been removed the ace connects differently compared to an ordinary deck. Depending on whether a 40- or 32 card deck is used the lowest straights are 8 7 6 5 A respectively T 9 8 7 A.

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same rank plus two unrelated cards.

Two Pair

Two cards of a matching rank and another two cards of a different matching rank, and one unrelated side card.

One Pair

Two cards of a matching rank and three unrelated side cards.

High Card

A hand that does not qualify to any of the categories listed above.
Added 2006-06-29 04:58:23
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