Texas Hold'em Poker Starting Hands

Odds are calculated as soon as enough cards are in play. The amounts of both blinds should be specified in advance. CardsChat is an online poker community of , members in countries. We will also focus on raising, rather than calling. Generally the minimum bet is double the first two rounds of betting.

Guide to Texas Hold'em Starting Hands

With Folds or Calls in Front

Calling is a weak play that leaves you vulnerable and allows people to enter the pot cheaply after you have acted. A single raise may win you the pot outright. Before we look at the starting hand recommendations, let's review poker hand notation. There are some new symbols used to describe ranges of hands. The annotations "s" and "o" are pretty straightforward. The "s" refers to suited cards of the same suit. The "o" refers to two cards that are off-suit.

If both the "s" and "o" are missing, then it does not matter if the hand is suited or off-suit. The only pairs excluded would be 22, 33 and Many advanced players will argue that position is the single most important factor in playing Texas Hold'em, even more than the cards you hold.

The image below displays the positions at a typical full ring table. For 10 players simply add an additional middle position player. Meanings of the abbreviations are as follows:. The chart below will give you a basic guide on which hands can be played from which position. The default chart shows paired hands and suited hands.

Click the button to switch to off-suit hands. Pairs always look great, but often in one-on-ones you may be no more than a shot to win the hand. Premium pairs should always be raised pre-flop, but 'set mining' with smaller pairs in Early Position EP can be good if the pots are small.

When facing limpers in middle position, late position, or the blinds, you're usually going to want to over-limp, rather than raise.

This is because one raise will usually not fold everyone out of the pot, and it's difficult to flop any kind of hand with a small pocket pair if you don't flop a set. Small pairs also usually tend to be second, third, or even fourth pair on the flop, so they will be in bad shape against most hands that have connected with the flop.

When there is already a single raise, small pocket pairs will usually be good hands to fold against good players. Again, they just don't hit the flop often enough to play very well. Hitting the flop isn't everything in poker, but good poker hands are ones that connect with a lot of flops, or make up for not connecting by already being strong on their own. Small pocket pairs do neither.

However, if there is a single raise and a couple callers, you can often call with these hands, hoping to flop a set and win a big pot. With more players in you have better pot odds, and a better chance that someone will flop something they will put money in with against your set. But if you're ever facing a 3-bet with a small pocket pair, you're usually going to be better off just folding.

You should follow a lot of the same guidelines with mid pairs as you do with small pairs. The goal a lot of the time will be to hit a set, and you usually won't be able to play a big pot post flop if you don't hit one, but mid pairs have a lot more flexibility. Mid pairs inherently have a lot more strength than small pocket pairs, because they effectively gain another way that they win the pot at showdown: This alone means you can play mid pocket pairs from any position, and you'll want to be coming in for a raise with them if you're opening the pot.

In most cases these hands will play themselves before the flop. In most games you'll want to raise with these hands regardless of what the poker rankings are pre-flop, and be willing to put your stack all in before the flop if you're able to assuming big blind or smaller effective stacks. There are tighter games, and especially online you won't always want to get all in with QQ pre-flop, and in many live games, people won't be 3betting very wide, so you won't necessarily want to keep re-raising it.

But most of the time, 4betting or 5betting all of these hands will be the best play. You can sometimes trap with AA pre-flop, by not 4betting when normally you would, but it's usually better not to do that with KK or worse. Everyone knows that Aces are Bullets and Kings are Cowboys, but there are more hands with strange names than you might think! You can read more about hand nicknames and poker rankings in our guide. Jacks play well pre-flop but if you get out-drawn on the flop they can be tricky.

Play them strongly in LP, and - depending on your table - re-raise in EP too. However, don't be afraid to let them go post flop against pressure with overcards on the board. In a full-ring game, A2 plays almost the same as something like A9. If they are suited, even better, as they can provide semi-bluffing opportunities.

Making a flush draw is usually enough to allow you to continue far into a pot - especially if you use your ace as a blocker - and making a flush often means a decent payoff. So you'll want to see flops with this hand for relatively cheap.

If you have something like AJs or ATs, these hands will often be dominated when facing 3bets, so without reads it will usually be best to fold them to a lot of aggression. It's also important to keep in mind that when playing these hands after the flop, the top pair that you make will not usually be the best one pair hand possible, so occasionally you will have to be willing to give up your top pair good kicker. A lot of people, meanwhile, overplay Ax offsuit.

They are terrible hands unless you 3-bet bluff them pre-flop. Always pay attention to your table dynamic before doing this, though. Often, Ax hands won't make strong ace pairs on the flop and you may well end up being outdrawn. We advise a fold in most spots, especially to tight players who are playing more premium hands. The most common situation with suited connectors, aside from flopping absolutely nothing, will be flopping some sort of small piece like a pair or a gutshot.

After that comes the chances of flopping some sort of stronger draw like an open-ended straight draw or a flush draw. Significantly behind that are the chances of flopping a big hand such as two-pair or better. Another consideration is that you will occasionally have reverse implied odds with this hand, when you make the bottom end of a straight or a weak flush draw. It's hard to fold that kind of hand, but sometimes you'll have to do it if you want to be able to play these hands profitably.

But for the most part, when you make your hand with a suited connector, you will be good to go, and often have a fairly disguised hand. Because of the above considerations, suited connectors are fairly constrained by the immediate odds you are getting before the flop. For example, you are almost never going to be able to stand a 3-bet with this kind of hand unless the effective stacks are fairly deep, and you think you will have a decent edge on your opponent.

Suited connectors also play much better in position than out of position, so while it makes sense to open-raise them from late position, you will likely want to muck them from early position. And even though they can be raised first into the pot, you'll usually want to flat-call or over-limp if there is action in front of you. Some players love to play connected cards, hoping for that miracle straight. That's great if it's disguised on the flop, but this happens so rarely comparatively that you will be counting the cost long before it pays off.

We advise a range of JToin late position if there has been one raise and no other callers. You can sometimes semi-bluff them strongly, especially if there is a draw on the board or you hit top pair. If you hit second pair, carry on for showdown value. Some pros advise a LP raise with unsuited connectors like 87obut they should be added to your range against weak tables, not used as premium holdings. Suited one-gappers can be nice hands to play post-flop, and are generally good for a pre-flop raise for all positions in a soft game.

After the flop, bet them for value. What to hold, what to fold, and when to raise are all key things to learn as you improve as a Hold'em player. But every table is different. You might be a tight-ish player who discovers his table is also very tight. If this is the case, you can start expanding your hand ranges. Conversely, if you are a tight-ish player on a very loose table, tighten up even further and watch out for getting six callers to your raise.

You will not only have to change your starting hand selection but also the size of your raises. In a typical tight tournament, where there may be a lot of folds in a hand, you can exploit your position at the table by opening up your range. While we recommend suited 1-gappers in some spots, some pros advocate adding suited 2-gappers or 3-gappers to your starting hand range which can add value on some flops.

To add to your starting hand range tight table: This first chart below is going to represent the hands that you should be raising when you are folded to in a full handed game in consideration with where you are sitting at the table:. So does all of that make sense? Can you see how we are adding more hands as we occupy a later position? We aren't always in a position where we want to raise.

When someone raises ahead of you, you definitely don't want to raise with the same hands we just listed. You also don't want to call with all of them, either.

The player that ran out of money is not eligible to win the second pot. If more than one player runs out of money then multiple separate pots can be created. In formal games players may not bet with cash or buy chips with cash in the middle of a hand. There are numerous rules of etiquette, which I won't get into.

There house may set the betting rules. There are three main types. A "structured" game features raises of specified amounts. There is usually a limit to the number of raises a player may make, typically three. A "pot limit" game has structured minimum raises but the maximum raise may be anything up to the amount in the pot at the time the raise is made.

A "no limit" game also has structured minimum raises but there is no maximum raise. J , 6 Player 2: Both have an ace high flush, so the second highest card is considered.

Player 1's jack beats player 2's 7. The only way to have a flush tie is if the flush is entirely on the board and no hole cards are higher than the lowest card on the board in the same suit. Both have a pair of jacks so the singletons are considered. High highet singleton in both hands is an ace so the second highest singleton is considered. Player 1's second highest singleton is a 7, compared to player 2's A 10 beats a 7 so player 2 wins.

Q , J Player 2: Both have a two pair of aces and queens, with a king singleton. Only the top five cards matter. The jacks and deuce are irrelevant. One of the most important aspects of Texas Hold'em is the value of each two-card hand before the flop. The decision of how to play your first two cards is something you face every hand, and the value of your first two cards is highly correlated to your probability of winning.

The following table shows my power rating for each initial 2-card hand in a player game. The numbers are on a 0 to 40 scale. Basically, you should only play hands that are dark green, blue, or purple. Of course you should be more be more liberal in late position and picky in early position. If forced I would say you should need 10 points in late position and 19 points in early position to call the big blind.

If your table is loose, as if often the case online, you can play a bit looser yourself. Use the top table if you have a pair, the middle table if your cards are suited, and the bottom table if your cards are unsuited.

Except for a pair,look up your high card along the left and your low card along the top. Following are the links to my tables of the value of each intial hand according to the number of players. The player section explains the methodology for creating the table table. The following table shows the probability of making various hands after the flop and the correct "pot odds.

This table is a good starting point the player should make mental adjustments for the probability of winning without making the hand, losing with making the hand, and expected future bets. The odds of a two pair improving to a full house are the same as those for four to an inside straight. I'm proud to present my new and improved Poker Odds Calculator. Enter any situation in Texas Hold 'Em, and it will tell you the probability of each possible outcome.

My Poker Tournament Calculator will determine each player's probability, for up to nine players, of finishing in each place, and his expected share of any prize pool, assuming equal skill among all players.

It produces the same results as what is known as the Independent Chip Model. Wizard of Odds uses cookies, this enables us to provide you with a personalised experience.

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The Wizard of Odds. Texas Hold'em Rules A single card deck is used. All cards count as its poker value.


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