Top 10 Starting Poker Hands in Texas Hold ’em

Your starting poker hands in Texas Hold ’em refers to your two hole cards. They are dealt at the start of each poker hands and knowing which hands to play is one of the most important strategic decisions that you need to make. Here we’ve put together a list of the top 10 starting hands. You should get yourself familiar with and can keep handy when you are starting out online.

But before we get to the list here are Three Pre-flop tips to remember.

• Be patient and don’t worry about folding often
• Raise or re-raise with strong starting hands
• You can limp in with lower starting hands (low pairs, low connectors) unless you are first in from a late position, but prepare to fold if your opponent aggressively re-raises.

And now for the list, which can be split into two groups. The first is the Top 5 ‘Premium’ hands, and it would be a wise strategy for beginners to stick with these as good starting hands, that can be played from any position, to avoid mistakes and expensive showdowns.

1. Pocket Aces – ‘Pocket Rockets’ or ‘American Airlines’

AA is the strongest starting poker hand in Texas Hold ’em offering 4:1 odds over nearly any other hand. Do remember that the chances of winning with this opening hand go down the more people enter the pot.

2. Pocket Kings – ‘Cowboys’ or ‘King Kong’

This starting hand is second only to the ‘Poker Rockets’ and should make the flop in most cases.

3. Pocket Queens – ‘Pocket Ladies’

Third place in the Premiums Hands list is ‘Pocket Ladies’ which is a starting hand you should play strongly pre-flop. You can raise and re-raise from any position with a certain amount of confidence. Also knowing that some players will commit with less in their hands.

4. Ace-King Suited – ‘Big Slick’ or ‘Anna Kournikova’

This hand will win against all pocket pairs, bar ‘Pocket Rockets’ and ‘Cowboys,’ 50% of the time. It’s a great drawing hand but you are looking to make a pair of Aces or Kings at the flop, or you will be left with an Ace high. This hand is known as ‘Anna Kournikova’ because it looks good, but doesn’t win as often as it should.

5. Pocket Jacks – ‘Fish Hooks’

Having a pair of Jacks is a good starting hand but do consider your opponents and how they are playing. If they are tending to play tight, then the chances are they are holding Queens, Kings or even Aces. Do watch out for those Queens, Kings, and Aces showing at the flop.

So, those are the best, now for the rest. Opinions are split on the ordering of the following starting hands. Their relative strengths may depend on position and the number of people in the game as well as their style of play.

6. Pocket Tens – ‘TNT’ or ‘Dynamite’

Pocket Tens do represent a good starting hand, and you don’t necessarily need to draw a third on the flop to keep going. However, if you are on a table with a bunch of tight players, and there has been a lot of action before you. You may want to consider folding before the flop as it is quite likely that your opponents have Jacks or higher.

7. Ace-Queen Suited – ‘Little Slick’

In at number 7 is ‘Little Slick,’ an Ace and Queen, which is a great drawing hand and wins around 20% of the time when suited.

8. Ace-King Offsuit – ‘Big Slick’

Unsuited ‘Big Slick’ is a good starting poker hands that has a 40% chance of winning vs. any other hands apart from ‘Pocket Rockets’ or ‘Cowboys.’ It is, however, weaker than the suited counterpart because you are less likely to hit a flush.

If you are in position, you might want to consider calling before the flop, as you may have a chance of pairing one of your hole cards and getting paid a modest pot.

9. Ace-Jack Suited – ‘Ajax’

‘Ajax’ represents a great drawing hand but play with caution, especially if an opponent has raised from an early position. As with suited ‘Big Slick’ and ‘Little Slick,’ there is a chance of hitting a royal flush, but you can still get beaten by either of those two starting hands.

10. King-Queen Suited – ‘A couple’ or ‘Marriage.’

If you have a ‘Couple’ in your starting hand, you have the chance of making straights and flushes as well as a pair so it could go well on the flop. It is a solid drawing hand but do be sure to watch the action that goes before you to assess the strength of your opponents’ hands before you decide whether to flop or fold.

Honourable mentions

Just missing the Top 10 but a poker hands worth consideration, especially if they suit, and you are in a late position, is King-Jack, but fold in the face of large raises. And finally, Ace-Ten could be the starting hand for a straight. However, do beware of playing it too strong and ending up with only a pair of Aces.

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