Does 2 Pair beat 3-of-a-kind in Poker?

Jul 12, 2023

How can three-of-a-kind beat a pair of kings? The answer to this in three words is because it can. 

Poker is a game where players wager over which hand is the best according to the specific rules of the game.

Many beginner players ask this question, “Does 2 pair beat 3-of-a-kind?” and are left baffled by the answer. Simply put, it’s all about probability and, yes, a bit of luck. So yes, three of a kind does beat two pairs, but to understand why it happens, we need to understand its mechanics.

Three of a kind in Pokers

The Mechanics of a Chance

The mechanics of poker are built on simple maths, with the main function being probability. When someone wins this game, it is because they beat the odds; simply put, the winner beats the smaller statistical probability of getting the hand. So when the battle of poker begins with two-pair vs three-of-a-kind, it all comes down to a chance.

Let’s understand this by taking the popular example of the strongest hand in hold’em poker: the royal flush!

Why is the royal flush the strongest hold? Because the chances of getting hold of this hand are 649,739:1, if you calculate the probability, it comes out to be 0.000154% compared to the chances of getting a single pair, which is 43.85%. See what I mean? 

Poker has an element of risk in it, but that’s what makes this game so interesting, challenging, and fun.

Royal Flush in Poker

All About Getting a Three-of-a-kind Pair

Many poker players wonder if 3-of-a-kind is better than 2 pair. Now let’s calculate the probability of getting a three-of-a-kind pair in poker. 

In a game of poker with a deck of 52 playing cards, a three-of-a-kind doesn’t appear much; rather, it is very rare for it to occur as the probability of getting a hold of this kind of pair is 4.83%.

To be precise, in a deck of 52 playing cards, there are 54,912 possible three-of-a-kind hand combinations. 

Variants of a Three-of-a-kind Pair

An arrangement that contains 5 cards, out of which three have an identical ranking, and two are odd, is a three-of-a-kind pair.

There are two types of variants in this hold: a set and a trip.

  • A set is about making a three-of-a-kind pair with two hole cards and one community card.
  • Trips are the opposite of sets here; you make this pair by using one hole card and two community cards. 
    Three of a kind Pair in Pokerss

Mechanics of Getting a two-of-a-kind Pair

In this section, you’ll get all the information about the answer to Does 2 pair beat 3-of-a-kind? 

This hold ranks third among the highest-ranking pairs of poker hands. 

A two-of-a-kind pair is a commonly occurring hand with a standard deck of 52 playing cards, with over 123,552 possible ways of producing this combination, which means a probability of 23.5% of getting hold of this pair. This percentage can also be expressed as a ratio of 20:1.

Tie-Breaker in Two Pair

Let’s say you have multiple pairs; in that case, who wins? In this case, the criteria for determining a winner is quite simple;

  • If multiple two pairs go against each other, the hand with the better high-pair wins.
  • If multiple hands have the same high pair, then the hand with the better low pair wins.
  • If two hands have the same two pairs, then it all comes down to the 5th card. 
    Two Pair in Poker

3-of-a-Kind Vs 2 Pair

Now drum roll for the answer to “3-of-a-kind vs 2 pair”.

It is all in the workings of probability and calculations, with the probability of getting hold of a three-of-a-pair hand being 4.83% and the probability of getting hold of a two-pair hand being 23.5%. As the rules of poker say, the best hand shall win; that is, the player who breaks the odds will be the winner. Here, the three-of-a-kind pair is deemed the winner.

So, that was all the insight about 2 pair vs 3-of-a-kind. The next time you are at your local casino, you will know you have a card up your sleeve with this piece of information.


Ans: 3-of-a-kind can be obtained by a trip or set—a hand that has three cards of the same rank and two cards of different ranks. 

Ans: It ranks in the 7th position for the best possible hand in the poker hand ranking system.  

Ans: In this scenario, the player with the highest-ranking three-of-a-kind wins.