In Texas Hold’em, you each start with two-hole cards. These are referred to as your ‘starting hand’ and from here you can decide which hand to play. Knowing which hands to play is important if you want to succeed in Texas Hold‘em. Before starting the game, it’s important to remain patient and not worry about folding. The more you play poker, the better you’ll get. It’s also important to raise or re-raise with strong starting hands to be in with the best chance of winning. If you prefer, you can start with a lower starting hand although be prepared to fold early if your opponent re-raises.
In this article, we explore the top 10 starting hands to give you an insight into the best hands to use when starting out. These hands can be used in both land-based and online casinos. The first five hands are referred to as ‘Premium Hands’. These can be played from any position and help to avoid mistakes being made. With this in mind, beginners may benefit from sticking to the Premium Hands. While hands 6-10 are still strong, their strength may depend on how many people are playing the game. This makes them a little harder to use effectively.
The first hand is AA. This is known as Pocket Aces, Pocket Rockets, or American Airlines. Most players consider this to be the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold’em as it offers 4:1 odds over most other hands. However, the chances of winning with this hand are lowered if a large number of people are playing.
The second hand is KK. Known as Pocket Kings, Cowboys, or King Kong, this hand is the next best after Pocket Aces. Unless an opponent has the better starting hand, Pocket Kings should work well.
The third hand is QQ. This is known as Pocket Queens or Pocket Ladies and should be played strongly. If you have this hand, you can raise and re-raise from almost any position without the fear of losing.
The fourth hand is AK suited. Known as Ace-King Suited, Big Slick, or Anna Kournikova, this hand will win against all pocket pairs apart from Pocket Aces and Pocket Kings. While this hand can be great to start, you’re likely to be left with an Ace High if you can’t make a pair of Aces or Kings at the flop. With this in mind, this hand can look good to start with but often doesn’t win.
The fifth hand is JJ. Known as Pocket Jacks or Fish Hooks, this hand is another great one to start with. However, it’s important to consider how your opponents are playing before committing to this hand. If they are playing tight, they may well be holding Kings, Queens, or Aces – all hands you need to watch out for if you plan to win!
The sixth hand is 10 10. Known as Pocket Tens, TNT, or Dynamite, experienced players enjoy starting with this hand. The best thing about Pocket Tens is that you don’t need to draw a third on the flop to keep playing. That being said, if there has been a lot of action before you or your opponents are playing tightly, it is likely that they have Jacks or higher. If this is the case, you may want to consider folding before the flop to avoid embarrassment.
The seventh hand is AQ. Known as Ace-Queen Suited or Little Slick, this is a great starting hand. Generally, this hand will win 20% of the time when suited.
The eighth hand is AK unsuited. Known is Ace-King Offsuit or Big Slick, this hand has a 40% chance of winning against other hands bar Pocket Aces and Pocket Kings. However, AK unsuited is weaker than AK suited as you are less likely to hit a flush.
The ninth hand is AJ suited. Known as Ace-Jack Suited or Ajax, this hand is effective if played carefully. However, be cautious if your opponent has raised early in the game. Though it is possible to hit a royal flush with this hand, you are likely to get beaten if your opponents have Ace-Queen Suited or Ace-King Offsuit.
The tenth hand is KQ suited. Known as King-Queen Suited, A Couple, or A Marriage, there are a variety of options if you start with this hand. For instance, you have the chance to make straights, flushes, and even a pair. It is a strong starting hand but be sure to watch the pace of the game before making your decision.
Whether you’re an avid gambler or you’re just starting out, use the starting hands above to succeed in Texas Hold’em Poker. As mentioned previously, beginners may find it easier to use the first 5 hands. Often referred to as Premium Hands, these starting hands can be played from any position. With this in mind, beginners can use these hands without the worry of making a mistake. As always, it’s important to consider your financial situation before using a land-based or online casino. However, if you have some spare time and disposable income, try the starting hands above during your next game of Texas Hold’em.