What is Three of a Kind in Poker?

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.

Three of a Kind

Three of a Kind

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

  2. Qicon-suit-heart, Qicon-suit-diamond, Qicon-suit-spade, Aicon-suit-diamond, 8icon-suit-diamond

  3. 9icon-suit-club, 9icon-suit-spade, 9icon-suit-heart, Kicon-suit-heart, 7icon-suit-club

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

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?

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.

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

858

54,912

1 / 46.33

2.1128%

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.

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