What is One Pair in Poker?

  • Avatar for the CardsChat Editorial TeamWritten by  the CardsChat Editorial Team

One Pair is just what it sounds like: a pair of cards with the same rank. It’s the most common combination of all the poker hands in Texas Hold’em and accounts for almost half of all poker hands.

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:

  1. A, A, J, 7, 4
  2. Q, Q, K, 10, 2
  3. 8, 8, A, J, 9
  4. 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?

RankHand NamesExampleHand Description
1Royal FlushRoyal Flush HandHand Description 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace all in the same suit.
2Straight FlushStraight Flush HandHand Description Five cards in a row, all in the same suit.
3Four of a KindFour Of A Kind HandHand Description The same card in each of the four suits.
4Full HouseFull House HandHand Description A pair plus three of a kind in the same hand.
5FlushFlush HandHand Description Five cards, all in one suit, but not in numerical order.
6StraightStraight HandHand Description Five cards in numerical order, but not of the same suit.
7Three of a KindThree Of A Kind HandHand Description Three of one card and two non-paired cards.
8Two PairTwo Pair HandHand Description Two different pairings or sets of the same card in one hand.
9One PairOne Pair HandHand Description One pairing of the same card.
10High CardHigh Card HandHand Description 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 PairProbability of getting One Pair
2,8601,098,2401 / 1.36642.2569%

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.


What is a Pair in poker?

A Pair or ‘One Pair’ is represented by five cards where two of them are of the same rank and the other three all have different ranks. For example, K-K-7-3-2 is One Pair.

What beats One Pair?

Almost all of the other poker hands will beat One Pair. The closest one above it is a Two Pair hand, followed by Three of a Kind, a Straight, and so on. One Pair can also be beaten by another One Pair if the rank of the matching cards in the second hand is higher.

What can One Pair beat?

One Pair will beat a High Card poker hand. It will also beat a weaker pair.

Can you win with One Pair?

You can definitely win with One Pair. Since it is the most frequently seen hand in Texas Hold’em, the rank of the pair is very important. A pair of Aces will win against any other One Pair.

Which One Pair is strongest?

The strongest One Pair is a pair of Aces. If two players both possess a pair of Aces, then the next highest card in their possession acts as the decisive factor to determine the winner of the pot.

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