Starting hands are vital in Texas Holdem. They can make or break your game. Every beginner must have a solid understanding of poker hand rankings because the best way to win in poker is to play the hands that offer the highest expected return and fold the rest.
This article shares the ten best starting hands in Texas Holdem and how you can use them to your advantage.
What does it mean when a hand “wins”?
Hand rankings are determined by what cards make up the hand and how they are arranged. The better the hand, the higher it ranks on the list.
There are ten different types of poker hands. The best hand in poker is a royal flush, followed by a straight flush. The next highest-ranking hands are four of a kind, a full house, a flush, a straight, three of a kind, two pairs, one pair and high card.
The first thing to understand is that poker has different ways to win. The most common way to win is by having the best poker hand when all the cards are shown at the end of the hand (the “showdown”). But you can also win by betting and forcing all the other players to fold their hands, either before or after the flop (the first three community cards). It is called a “folded pot.”
Many players make the error of playing too many hands, which costs them money. It is better to be selective and play based on poker hand strength.
Top 10 Best Starting Hands in Texas Hold ’em
Starting hands in poker let you know if you have a chance to win the hand before the flop. If you don’t know what a starting hand is, it’s any two cards that are dealt to you at the beginning of the hand.
Here is the list of starting hands that can help you win in Texas Hold ’em:
1. Ace-Ace (AA) – The Pocket Rockets
As they say, “aces are bullets,” and there is no better starting hand in poker than pocket aces. With aces, you have the best preflop hand in all of poker.
2. King-King (KK) – Cowboys
Unlike aces, kings are not as bulletproof. This starting hand can be beaten by ace-king, ace-queen, and even ace-jack. But if you flop a king, you will usually win the pot. Professional players like to see a flop with kings because they know they have a good chance of winning.
3. Queen-Queen (QQ) – The Ladies
Number 3 in the best starting hands list are The Ladies. They are slightly less potent than aces and kings but still a mighty starting hand that can help you win in poker.
4. Jack-Jack (JJ) – The Hooks
Two jacks are a great pair to start your hand. They are called “the hooks” because they can catch a lot of flops. A pair of jacks can often improve to two pairs, a full house, or even four of a kind on the flop.
5. Ace-King (AK) – The Big Slick
The Big Slick is a strong starting hand, but it is not as strong as aces or kings. It gives you an excellent chance to make a flush (if suited) or a straight. You will usually win the pot if you flop an ace or a king.
6. Ace-Queen (AQ) – The Little Slick
This combination is called the “little slick.” It’s not as strong as aces or kings, but it’s still an excellent starting hand. Like the Big Slick, this hand can help you make a flush (if suited) or a straight.
7. Ace-Jack (AJ) – Blackjack
Blackjack has been one of the popular terms used in poker. It is a starting hand that has a lot of potential. You can flop an ace or a jack and still have an excellent chance of winning the pot.
8. Ace-Ten (AT) – The Rounders Hand
This starting hand is called “the rounders hand” because it was made famous by the movie Rounders. It is a perfect starting hand because you can flop an ace, a king, or a queen and still have a strong hand.
9. King-Queen (KQ) – The Royal Couple or Marriage
A king-queen is not as strong as kings or queens, but it is still a great starting hand. With this combination, you can flop a king, a queen, or an ace and still have a strong hand.
10. Queen-Jack (QJ) – Maverick
A maverick refers to a player who takes risks. This starting hand can be risky because you can flop a queen or a jack and still have a good chance of winning. But if you drop an ace, king, or ace-king, you will usually lose the pot.
Remember, these are just guidelines, and it’s essential to use your judgment when playing poker. When you are dealt your starting hand, you should always look at the board to see if there is a possibility of making a Straight Flush or Royal Flush. If you have two suited cards that are connected (like J-Q or 9-10), then you have a chance of making a Straight Flush. If you have two suited cards that are not connected (like A-9 or 5-9), then you still have a shot at making a Flush. Always keep these hands in mind when playing poker.
Tips on how to get the best starting hands in poker
It would help to consider different factors when choosing starting hands in poker. Here are some tips that will help you choose the best starting hands:
1. Position – Position is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing starting hands. You should always raise the best hands from the late position and fold the worst hands from the early position.
2. Table texture – The table texture also affects your decision on which starting hands to play. You can play more marginal hands if there are several loose players at the table. If there are a lot of tight players at the table, you should only play the best starting hands.
3. Stack size – Your stack size will also affect your decision on which starting hands to play. If you have a large pile, you can afford to see more flops and play more marginal hands. You should only play the best starting hands if you have a small stack.
4. Hand selection – The final factor to consider is your hand selection. It would help if you try to play the best starting hands and avoid playing weaker hands that are likely to result in a loss.
5. Use a starting hand chart – A starting hand chart is an excellent tool when first learning the combinations in poker. A starting hand chart will tell you which hands to play from each position and how to adjust your hand selected based on the other factors mentioned above.
A good starting hand increases your win rate in poker
Plenty of combinations can make a strong hand in poker, but the ten mentioned above are some of the best starting hands you can have. If you can master hand selection, you will be well on your way to becoming a winning player.
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