What is Three of a Kind in Poker?

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

Three of a Kind consists of three cards that have the same rank, as well as any two non-paired cards. The denomination of the three cards determines the winner in the event that two or more players each have Three of a Kind. If multiple players have the same ranked Three of a Kind, the highest kicker wins.

What Does Three of a Kind Look Like?

The name should be more than enough to give players an idea of what the hand looks like. You can find several examples right here:

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

How Does Three of a Kind Rank?

Three of a Kind is in the bottom half of all poker hand rankings. It is under a Straight and above Two Pairs. If two or more players have Three of a Kind in the same hand, they are ranked based on the denomination of the three matching cards, with three Aces representing the strongest Three of a Kind poker hand.

What Beats Three of a Kind?

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.

Note that if the Three of a Kind is made with a pocket pair and one community card, it is called a “set”. If the player only uses one hole card and two community cards, the hand is known as “trips”.

How Should You Play Three of a Kind in Hold’em?

Three of a Kind on the flop can be a strong hand, so you should consider getting on the front foot. Potential Flushes or Straights are what you’ll need to watch out for, so if there are any obvious draws on the board you should consider betting or raising to protect your hand.

Generally speaking, having a “set” (i.e. using your paired hole cards in combination with one board card) is stronger than having “trips” as it is a more unexpected hand. However, it’s still not going to beat a Straight or Flush, so if there is obvious danger on the board it may be time to slow right down.

If it becomes clear that the other players in the hand have very little, then you will need to try and get them to commit chips to the pot without improving to a hand that can beat you. Figure out their odds to improve, and make sure they overpay for their draws!

Three of a Kind Probabilities

We calculated the poker hand odds and probability of getting Three of a Kind while playing Texas Hold’em. These figures are based on having five available cards – your two hole cards and three community cards.

Number of ways to make the hand
(not including different suits)
Number of ways to make the hand
(including different suits)
Odds of getting
Three of a Kind
Probability of getting Three of a Kind
85854,9121 / 46.332.1128%

The odds of being dealt Three of a Kind 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 Three of a Kind in poker?

A Three of a Kind hand in poker refers to a combination of five cards where three of them share the same denomination, also known as rank. The remaining two cards are of two different ranks. A hand of 5-5-5-A-J is Three of a Kind.

Does a Three of a Kind beat a Straight?

No, Three of a Kind does not beat a Straight. Three of a Kind only beats a High Card, One Pair and Two Pair.

Does Three of a Kind beat a Two Pair?

Yes, Three of a Kind beats any Two Pair.

What beats Three of a Kind?

Straight beats Three of a Kind and of course, so do the higher-ranking poker hands such as a Flush, Full House, Four of a Kind and Straight Flush.

What can Three of a Kind beat?

Three of a Kind can beat Two Pair, One Pair or a High Card. Three of a Kind can also beat another Three of a Kind hand with a lower ranking, e.g. K-K-K-8-6 beats Q-Q-Q-A-J.

Can you win with Three of a Kind?

Although it is not one of the best winning poker hands, Three of a Kind can definitely win you the pot in many situations. It is important to consider the possibility of the opponents making better hands with the available community cards.

Which Three of a Kind is strongest?

The strongest Three of a Kind, or trips, hand that a player can make consists of three Aces. Three Kings is the second strongest Three of a Kind, with three Queens being the third strongest, and so on.