Basic starting hands in Texas Hold'em Poker

In Poker, you are dealt two cards, known as hole cards. But just how important are those hole cards? As a new player to the game the hands you choose to go into battle with should be one of the most important starting factors.

As you are learning, the best way to start out is to be selective with your starting hands, choosing only premium holdings that give you the best chance of extracting the maximum number of chips from your opponents. You must learn to play solid poker first and then learn to deviate from this as your knowledge and skills grow.

Obviously there are other various factors that can affect the way you play your hole cards. Your opponent, their chipstack, your chipstack, the blinds, the board, position! Lots and lots of factors that can affect how you choose to play the cards you hold.

Top 10 Starting Hands

To start, let's outline the top ten starting hands. In poker, these starting hands give you the best chance to win more pots whilst also giving you the opportunity to learn the other aspects of the game. These hands coupled with careful analysis of your opponent's play will help you to make your critical decisions as to whether to check, fold or raise.



Pocket Aces | Pocket Kings | Pocket Queens | Ace-King Suited | Pocket Jacks


            Pocket Tens | Ace-Queen Suited | Ace-King Off Suit | Ace-Jack Suited | King-Queen Suited

Starting Hands & Position 

These two tie in very well with each other as the position in which you choose to play hands is very important. Premium hands, as shown above, are strong enough to play from any position as it doesn't necessarily matter about how your opponents react, you have a holding strong enough to go all-in with.

The table below is a guide, showing which starting hands to play from certain positions.

Early Position Middle Position Late Position
AA 77 44
KK 66 33
QQ 55 22
JJ A9s A8s
TT KJs A7s
99 KTs A6s
88 QTs A5s
Aks JTs A4s
AQs 9Ts A3s
AJs 89s A2s
ATs AJo K9s
KQs ATo K8s
AKo KQo Q9s
AQo KJo J9s

These are just examples, you can start to build confidence through playing frequently and understanding what hands you feel are strong enough to play from certain positions. But if you are just starting out, try to stick to these, as you're more likely to avoid difficult situations.

There are so many other factors that affect how you play poker, another thing to consider in conjunction with position is the action that happens before it is your turn. Do you fold queens to one raise? Do you call or re-raise? 

It is best when you are playing poker to always try and think one step ahead. If you raise, what are you going to do if you opponent re-raises? Think before investing chips into the pot that you're not willing to lose.

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