What is One Pair in Poker?
What Does One Pair Look Like?
A One Pair hand has five cards, of which two are the exact same denomination and the other three are of three different ranks. A Pair in poker looks like this:
- A, A, J, 7, 4
- Q, Q, K, 10, 2
- 8, 8, A, J, 9
- 2, 2, 10, 8, 4
How Does One Pair Rank?
One Pair in most variants of poker ranks under everything from a Two Pair hand and higher, and ranks above a hand with just a High Card. It is generally not a very strong hand and there are usually multiple players that make One Pair in a round.
What Beats One Pair?
10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace all in the same suit.
Five cards in a row, all in the same suit.
The same card in each of the four suits.
A pair plus three of a kind in the same hand.
Five cards, all in one suit, but not in numerical order.
Five cards in numerical order, but not of the same suit.
Three of one card and two non-paired cards.
Two different pairings or sets of the same card in one hand.
One pairing of the same card.
No matching cards
Competing One Pair hands are ranked based on the denomination of the two matching cards, with Ace being the highest and 2 being the lowest. For example, a J-J-4-3-2 hand is stronger than 10-10-A-J-7. If pairs are identical, ties are broken using the next highest kicker, then the next highest, and so on.
How Should You Play One Pair in Hold’em?
For such a common hand, it can be difficult to know how to play One Pair. The best way to play One Pair in Texas Hold’em may depend on the many variables, such as the value of the pair, the stage of the hand, the state of the board, how many players you face and how many chips you have.
With premium pocket pairs like Aces, Kings or Queens, you will often want to get your chips in preflop while you likely have an advantage over your opponents' unpaired cards. Middle-strength pairs can also be attractive, but be careful of overcards on the board - you could easily be beaten by a higher pair.
Low pocket pairs like 2-2, 4-4 or 6-6 have the potential to make Three of a Kind if a third card falls, so are often worth seeing a flop with if it's not too expensive to do so. Learn more about poker starting hands here.
But wherever you are in the hand you should remember that One Pair is not an overly strong hand and you can never have full confidence that you are ahead.
One Pair Probabilities
When playing Texas Hold'em, there is a very strong probability that someone will make at least One Pair in every hand you play. In fact, more than 40% of all hands played with seven cards available result in a player making One Pair.
Below, we’ll look at One Pair probabilities when players have their two hole cards and three community cards. Note that this includes being dealt pocket pairs.
Number of ways to make the hand
(not including different suits)
Number of ways to make the hand
(including different suits)
Odds of getting One Pair
Probability of getting One Pair
1 / 1.366
The odds of being dealt One Pair on the flop is only the tip of the iceberg. For more on odds, including the probability of winning any given hand on the flop, turn, and/or river, have a play with our poker odds calculator.