Whether you’re a veteran who’s competed in the highest echelons of poker tournaments or a newcomer who’s about to start playing online poker, understand the potential of a three of a kind hand is absolutely crucial.
Although far from the highest ranking poker hand, three of a kind poker hands are potentially superb tools to claim the pot.
In this blog, we at LV BET have explored the strength, probability and effectiveness of the three of a kind poker hand in the context of multiple poker variants, especially Texas hold’em.
THREE OF A KIND IN POKER HAND RANKINGS
Although three of a kind poker hands are ranked lower than most hands, it can beat many ordinary hand combinations.
If you want to find out more about traditional poker hand rankings, feel free to check out our dedicated blog.
The hierarchy of poker rankings typically follows this order in Texas hold’em poker games:
- Royal Flush: Ace, king, queen, jack, ten, all in the same suit. For example, ace, K, Q, J and 10 is called a royal flush. The royal flush is the best hand that sits at the top of the hand rankings.
- Straight Flush: The straight flush are made up of five consecutive cards of the same suit, but not the highest-ranking ones.
- Four of a Kind: Also called quads, this hand includes four cards ranked equally.
- Full House: A full house comprises three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.
- Flush: Five cards of the same suit, not in consecutive order. An ace, 10, 6, 3 and 2 of spades make an ace-high flush, since the A is the highest-ranking card in the hand. A king high flush would be K, Q, J, 8 and 3 of clubs, for example.
- Straight: Five consecutive cards of different suits. (3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 makes a seven high straight). A to five makes an ace-high straight. A Broadway Straight refers to a 10 to A straight.
- Three of a Kind: Three cards of equal rank make a three of a kind. An example of a three of a kind is three aces.
- Two Pair: Two sets of pairs is called a two pair.
- One Pair: Two cards of the same value make a one pair hand. For example, two 10s make a pair. Pair hands lose to all poker hands except high card hands.
- High Card: The high card hand is the highest card in your hand when no other combinations are present.
HOW IS THREE OF A KIND STRUCTURED?
Three of a kind, as the name suggests, is a poker hand in which three of the cards share the same rank, while the other two unrelated cards are of different ranks.
This hand comprises a trio of cards of one rank and two unrelated side cards.
The strength of your three of a kind hand is primarily determined by the rank of the set of three cards.
FIVE-CARD HAND IN WHICH THREE OF THE CARDS ARE THE SAME RANK
Three of a kind is part of the broader category of poker hands known as “three of a kind or better.”
This category includes three of a kind, four of a kind, and a full house.
Three of a kind is the lowest-ranking hand within this category, but it’s still a powerful hand, especially when compared to other common poker hands like two pairs or a single pair.
In the hierarchy of poker hands, the three of a kind rank is better than that of high cards, one pair, and two pair hands, making it a formidable hand that can secure substantial wins in various poker games.
WHAT BEATS THREE OF A KIND ON THE POKER TABLE?
One glance at the poker hand rankings chart shows that certain poker hands beat the three of a kind hand.
The poker hands are: royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush and straight.
Such hands will always have the better of three of a kind poker hands, which is why it is important to consider what other players can make of the five community cards on the board.
DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THREE OF A KIND AND FOUR OF A KIND
Let’s take a moment to explore the key differences and similarities between three of a kind and four of a kind.
- Number of Matching Cards: Three of a kind consists of a trio of cards of the same rank, while four of a kind requires all four same-ranked cards.
- Strength: Four of a kind is a much stronger hand than three of a kind. It is harder to obtain and will always win over three of a kind poker hand.
- Occurrence: Three of a kind occurs more frequently in poker games compared to four of a kind. This makes it a more common hand but with a lower ranking.
- Both Contain a Set of Matching Cards: Both hands involve a set of cards of the same rank. The primary difference is the number of cards in that set.
- Ranking: Both hands are part of the same category of poker hands, known as “three of a kind or better.” They are ranked based on the strength of the matching cards.
PROBABILITY OF HITTING THREE OF A KIND IN POKER
Calculating the three of a kind odds must take into consideration the following:
- Scenario a (pair in hole cards): There are 13 ranks to choose from, and for each rank, you have 6 possible combinations (4 different suits for the first card and 3 suits for the second card; 4 x 3 = 12). So, you have 13 ranks x 6 combinations per rank = 78 combinations.
- Scenario b (one hole card and two comm. cards): You have 13 ranks to choose from, and for each rank, there are 4 possible combinations (4 suits for the hole card and 1 suit for each of the community cards). So, you have 13 ranks x 4 combinations per rank = 52 combinations.
To find the total number of combinations that result in a three of a kind, simply add the combinations from both scenarios:
78 (scenario a) + 52 (scenario b) = 130 total combinations that can make a three of a kind.
Now, to determine the odds, divide the number of successful combinations (130) by the total number of combinations (1,326):
Therefore, the Texas hold’em probability of making a three of a kind is 9.8% (130/1,326).
THREE OF A KIND EXAMPLES IN POKER GAME
As we’ve mentioned above, there are many combinations of a three of a kind in a 52-card deck, let alone games where more decks are used.
Our first Hold’em example sees a pocket pair of 9 of clubs, 9 of diamonds as hole cards, whereas the cards on the board are: nine of spades, two of hearts, six of diamonds and a jack of hearts.
Seeing as the third card necessary to complete a three of a kind is there, the five-card poker hand is a three of a kind (9s) with a jack and a six as kickers, with your pocket pair instrumental to completing the three of a kind poker hand.
The second scenario in Omaha is 7 of spades, 7 of diamonds, 5 of clubs and 5 of spades as hole cards. On the board, we have 7 of hearts, six of spades, four of diamonds, 3 of clubs and a jack of spades.
In this case, you have three sevens as your cards, and you can combine them with two of the community cards to form your three of a kind.
Unlike Texas Hold’em poker, you must use exactly two of your own cards and three community cards in the Omaha poker game.
HOW TO PLAY THREE OF A KIND IN TEXAS HOLD’EM AND OMAHA POKER
In both Hold’em and Omaha poker, the concept of a three of a kind poker hand remains consistent: it’s a powerful trio of cards of the same rank, potentially leading to significant victories.
THREE OF A KIND IN TEXAS HOLD’EM
- Starting Hand: Look for a starting poker hand that contains a pair. A pocket pair (e.g., two 7s) increases your chances of making three of a kind.
- Use Community Cards: Pay close attention to the community cards (flop, turn, and river). If one of them matches the rank of your pair, you’ve got your three of a kind.
- Betting Strategy: Depending on the strength of your three of a kind, consider your betting strategy. A strong three of a kind might warrant aggressive betting to maximise your winnings, while a weaker one may call for more cautious play.
THREE OF A KIND IN OMAHA
- Consider Your Options: With four different cards to choose from, you have more potential combinations to create a three of a kind. Evaluate which pair to use based on the comm. cards and the strength of your opponents’ hands.
- Community Cards Matter: Keep an eye on the comm. cards and the possible combinations they can create with your cards. Your goal is to form the best three of a kind poker hand from your two different cards and the comm. cards.
CONCLUSION – LEARN THE HIDDEN VALUES OF THREE-OF-A-KIND POKER HANDS
Three of a kind, also known as “trips,” is a formidable poker hand that can significantly influence the outcome of games.
While it may not be the best possible hand in the game, it’s more common and still holds substantial value.
✅ WHEN DOES THREE OF A KIND WIN?
Three of a kind wins in poker when it has a higher rank than the opponent’s hand. It can be defeated by stronger hands such as a straight or better.
✅ WHAT IF TWO PLAYERS IN THE SAME HAND HAVE A THREE OF A KIND?
If two or more players have three of a kind in the same hand, the winner is determined by the rank of the set of three cards.
The player with the best-ranking set of three cards wins.
If there is a tie, the value of the kickers is compared to determine the winner.
✅ WHAT IS THE VALUE OF ACES IN THREE OF A KIND?
The highest card in the game, aces can be used as the best-ranking card or the lowest-ranking card, depending on the context of the poker hand.
In a three of a kind poker hand, aces can have a high value when they are part of the set of three cards, or they can have a low value when they are used as side cards.
Do note that you can also use them to form a powerful three of a kind in the high hand and contribute to a strong low hand in games like Omaha High/Low Split poker and Seven Card Stud High/Low.