What is Two Pair in Poker?

A Two Pair hand is a combination of five cards, where two are of the same rank, and another two are of another rank. The fifth card is not important (unless used as a "kicker" - a tiebreaker between two hands with the same two pairs). It is one of the most frequent winning poker hands.

Two Pair

Two Pair

What Does Two Pair Look Like?

As the name suggests, the hand is made out of two pairs. Here are a few examples of Two Pair:

  1. Aicon-suit-spade, Aicon-suit-diamond, Qicon-suit-club, Qicon-suit-diamond, 5icon-suit-heart

  2. Jicon-suit-club, Jicon-suit-heart, 8icon-suit-spade, 8icon-suit-diamond, Aicon-suit-club

  3. 9icon-suit-heart, 9icon-suit-diamond, 5icon-suit-diamond, 5icon-suit-club, Kicon-suit-diamond

  4. 6icon-suit-club, 6icon-suit-heart, 2icon-suit-diamond, 2icon-suit-club, 10icon-suit-club

How Does Two Pair Rank?

Although a Two Pair hand is found in the lower part of the poker hand rankings, it is one of the most frequent combinations for winning in Texas Hold'em. It ranks under Three of a Kind and above One Pair.

What Beats a Two 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

A Two Pair hand is ranked based on the value of the highest pair in the hand. For example, J-J-2-2-5 beats 10-10-9-9-A. In case two or more players have the same high pair, the tie is broken by the rank of the second pair. If this is still a tie, the fifth card (the "kicker") determines the winning hand.

How Should You Play Two Pair in Hold’em?

A Two Pair is a good opportunity to win some chips if you play it well, but every situation is likely to be different so you need to keep your wits about you.

Two pair is never going to be the best possible hand - also known as "the nuts" - because if anyone has a pocket pair a set is always possible, and Three of a Kind beats Two Pair every time.

However, on many boards Two Pair is likely to be a strong hand, especially if there are no Straight or Flush possibilities. One thing to watch out for is that when you hold two low pairs, you may be vulnerable to the board pairing.

For example, imagine you have 7-5 on a board of 7-5-9-J, and are up against A-A. If a J or a 9 were to fall on the river, you would lose to a higher Two Pair.

Two Pair Probabilities

Two Pair is a hand comes up frequently in Texas Hold'em, and often wins pots. The probability is higher than the cumulative probability of a stronger hand being formed. As a result, Two Pair can be very valuable.

Number of ways to make the hand

(not including different suits)

Number of ways to make the hand

(including different suits)

Odds of getting Two Pair

Probability of getting Two Pair

858

123,552

1 / 20.0

4.7539%

The odds of being dealt Two 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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