I am playing around with creating a new card game, similar to poker, and I am really struggling with figuring out the math behind calculating the probability of certain hands. Heres the overview of what I am trying to do.

  • There are only 3 types of hands that are playable - Straight, Flush, Straight Flush.
  • Unlike normal poker, a 3, 4 or 5 card straight/flush/straight flush can be played.
  • Player hands are 5 cards total.

What I originally wanted to do was just put the following list of possible hands in the order of probability:

  1. Three Card Straight;
  2. Three Card Flush;
  3. Three Card Straight Flush;
  4. Four Card Straight;
  5. Four Card Flush;
  6. Four Card Straight Flush;
  7. Five Card Straight;
  8. Five Card Flush;
  9. Five Card Straight Flush;

I have this assumption that the probability of a 3 card Straight Flush is lower than say a 4 card Flush - but I'd like to understand the math behind proving that assumption right/wrong..

Now to the part that is melting my brain! The information on calculating the probability for the normal 5 card poker hands is well documented, so I can get the 5 card hand probabilities easily. Using Flush as an example, and not discounting the possible straight flushes just to make it easier:

Total Number of possible hands from a deck of 52 cards, with 5 card hands: 2,598,960

Five Card Flush Probability:

( C(13,5) x C(4,1) = 5148 (total number of 5 card flushes)

Probability: 5148 / 2598960 = 0.1981%

So I tried to do the same for a 4 card flush, I thought it would be:

( C(13,4) x C(4,1) ) = 2860

Probability: 2860 / 2598960 = 0.1100%

But clearly this isn't right as it suggests getting a 5 card flush, is more likely than a 4 card flush!

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


1 Answer 1


One at a time and you are way better off on stats.stackexchange.com
I am a mathematician but not a statistician
Straight is harder ways-to-make-a-straight-in-poker

On flush if you are playing 2 plus board best 5 you need to look at 7
Define game rules

( C(13,4) x C(4,1) ) = 2860 is wrong
the fifth card is 52-4
C(13,4) x C(4,1) x (52-4)

The above includes 5 card flush
For 4 only I think it it would be
C(13,4) x C(4,1) x 39

I can tell you right now that you are going to get some whacked out order that flop from one to the other and is not going to be embraced.

  • Thanks for the info here! I think I will go ahead and post this over on stats.stackexchange.com as that seems like a better fit!
    – Jokode
    Jul 15, 2016 at 23:36
  • Ill mark your answer as accepted as I followed your suggestion of reposting on stats.stackexchange.com/questions/224038/…
    – Jokode
    Jul 15, 2016 at 23:48
  • You could also mark it as accepted because it is and answer
    – paparazzo
    Jul 16, 2016 at 4:07

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