What is One Pair in Poker?

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.

One Pair

One Pair

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. Aicon-suit-club, Aicon-suit-heart, Jicon-suit-spade, 7icon-suit-club, 4icon-suit-spade

  2. Qicon-suit-diamond, Qicon-suit-heart, Kicon-suit-heart, 10icon-suit-club, 2icon-suit-diamond

  3. 8icon-suit-spade, 8icon-suit-club, Aicon-suit-diamond, Jicon-suit-diamond, 9icon-suit-diamond

  4. 2icon-suit-heart, 2icon-suit-spade, 10icon-suit-heart, 8icon-suit-club, 4icon-suit-diamond

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?

Rank

Hand Names

Example

Hand Description

1

Royal Flush

Royal Flush hand eg

10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace all in the same suit.

2

Straight Flush

straight flush hand eg

Five cards in a row, all in the same suit.

3

Four of a Kind

four of a kind hand eg

The same card in each of the four suits.

4

Full House

full house hand eg

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

5

Flush

flush hand eg

Five cards, all in one suit, but not in numerical order.

6

Straight

straight hand eg

Five cards in numerical order, but not of the same suit.

7

Three of a Kind

three of a kind hand eg

Three of one card and two non-paired cards.

8

Two Pair

two pair hand eg

Two different pairings or sets of the same card in one hand.

9

One Pair

one pair hand eg

One pairing of the same card.

10

High Card

high card hand eg

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

2,860

1,098,240

1 / 1.366

42.2569%

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.

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