texas hold'em starting hands

When it comes to your starting hands in Texas Holdem, what can I say? You got to know when to Texas holdem and know when to Texas fold'em. You also gotta know when to walk away. If you know and understand these aspects of your Texas Holdem starting hands, you won't have to know when to run!

Starting Hand Articles

What is the most important thing I can tell you about any Texas Holdem starting hands? Here's the deal: the vast majority of them are losers; and out of a possible 169 Texas Holdem hands, half of them essentially just cannot be played! When you believe without any reasonable doubt that you have been dealt a losing hand--Texas fold'em! Forget about your foolish pride--after all, there's nothing to be proud about when you play losing hands and watch your chips get scooped away from you! Besides, poker includes a very large element of pure luck. Is it your fault that you were dealt junk? Of course not. Don't think that you can play with junk, either; at least not most of the time. If you're in a late position you just MIGHT be able to deduce that you could go for the Squeeze Play IF you are very experienced and highly skilled. But seriously, people: fold, fold, and fold some more. When you play Texas Holdem, you are going to fold far more than you're going to call or raise. Far, far more.


Think about this: in baseball, we make stars out of players who are OUT 70% of the time! If they are out a mere 65% of the time, they will probably wind up enshrined in Cooperstown! You need to get it into your head right now that when you're at the Texas Hold'em table you are going to fold two out of three times on the flop, and even 80% of the time (four out of five) pre-flop. Are you starting to get it? This is poker, my friends. You cannot turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. But you can lose your bankroll very quickly if you are not willing to fold the majority of the time.

You want to be "tight-aggressive" with your Texas Holdem starting hands. Going back to stats-talk, what are a successful player's stats? Take a look:

  • 19-23% of the flop seen.
  • 6-8% of all hands won.
  • 30% when seeing the flop.
  • 80-95% showdowns won.

Most top online poker rooms provide stats, so be sure to visit the stats section of your account.

When do you walk away? When you've maxed out your texas holdem bankroll, which I've written about elsewhere.



It's very simple, as I've written elsewhere. There are positions of power in poker, and they are late. The later you're dealt your starting hand, the later you need to decide whether to call, raise, or fold'em. What this means for you is that in "L" positions you get to watch other players first. You might be able to figure out that everyone's got junk this hand, so you might be able to use that to your winning advantage. But don't think that's the norm!

In early position, only play the top poker starting hands, especially if there are many aggressive players to follow you afterwards. Early position gives the player an information disadvantage.

Late poker position gives the player the advantage, since he can view how his opponents will act before playing a hand. Late position gives the player an information advantage.


Below, I have charted the best Texas Hold em starting hands and the best positions to be in to play--or not to play--a given hand.

Texas Hold'em Starting Hands

A = Ace, K = King, Q = Queen, J = Jack, T = Ten, 2-9 = Card value,
x = Unknown card, s = Suited

Pocket Pair - These have high pair, trips (set), full house, or four of a kind possibilities. Raise and reraise with high pairs.

AA KK QQ JJ TT 99 88 77 66 55 44 33 22

Ax, Kx, Qx, Jx, and Tx Suited
- These have high pair, trips, flush, straight and straight flush possibilities. Any Ace, King or Queen suited can be played for flush possibilities, depending on position.
AKs AQs AJs ATs A9s A8s A7s A6s A5s A4s A3s A2s
KQs KJs KTs K9s K8s K7s K6s K5s K4s K3s K2s
QJs QTs Q9s Q8s Q7s Q6s Q5s Q4s Q3s Q2s
JTs J9s J8s J7s J6s J5s
T9s T8s T7s T6s

Ax, Kx, Qx, Jx, Tx Unsuited
- These have high pair or straight possibilities. Generally, only play unsuited cards with a combined value of 21 or higher.

9x and Lower Suited
- Two suited cards that are consecutive (suited connectors) or one-gapped can potentially be played. These have mostly flush or straight possibilities.
98s 97s 96s
87s 86s 85s
76s 75s
65s 64s
54s 53s
Bold = Raise and reraise. Green = Call early, raise middle and late. Red = Call middle and late. Black = Call late only.


Any of the Texas Hold em starting hands in poker not listed above should be folded. There are couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Patience which is key to winning should be a part of your strategies for Texas holdem poker.
  • Any of the Texas Hold em starting hands can be beaten.
  • Fold if the hand does not improve and another player represents a better hand.

Exit Texas Hold em Starting Hands » Learn Texas Holdem Poker

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