Being a professional poker player is all about strategy, odds and a little bit of luck. One of the first things you should do as a poker novice is to get familiar with the best and the worst poker starting hands. Every little bit of time spent doing research will go a long way at the felt table. You’ll make more conscious bets and you’ll know when to bet more aggressively or when it’s simply better to just fold your hand. Here is our list of the best poker starting hands – once you’re done with this article, head on to our best poker hand odds article and get a little more in-depth.
How to Play Poker – Good Poker Starting Hands
Pair of 10s
A pair of 10s, also called TNT is a good starting hand but definitely not one of the best poker starting hands. The odds of being dealt pocket 10s is one to 220. The pair of tens is definitely an advantage when playing at smaller tables but you should still be cautious when making bigger bets. You can play this hand more aggressively when you’re in the middle or late poker position.
Jack – Ace
Jack and Ace suited is also called a blackjack or an ajax – this is the 9 th best poker starting hands you can get in Texas Holdem. The odds of being dealt this hand are just 1 to 331, making it quite valuable. Since both cards are high and suited, you can go for a wide range of poker hands including flush, straight and high pairs.
King – Ace, off suit
King and Ace off suit is definitely a good poker hand which allows some strategic betting and aggressive gameplay. The odds of being dealt this hand are 1 to 110 so you should definitely take advantage of it when it pops up.
How to Play Poker – Great Poker Starting Hands
King – Queen, suited
King and Queen suited are also called a “couple” or “royalty”. This is the seventh strongest poker starting hand in Texas Holdem. By being suited and high cards, you can use it to create a straight, flush or other great hands such as two pairs of three of a kind.
Ace – Queen, suited
The odds of getting this hand are 1 to 331. The Ace and Queen suited is also called the little slick – this hand will usually beat KQs and AJs but it has a small chance of beating higher pocket pairs.
Pair of Jacks
The pair of Jacks is also called fish hooks – the odds of being dealt this poker starting hand are 1 to 220. Playing with a pair of jacks is definitely an advantage but be weary of opponents with better hands or even higher pairs as this can lead to high losses.
How to Play Poker – Best Poker Starting Hands
Ace – King, suited
The Ace King suited hand is also called the big slick – this is one of the best poker starting hands in Texas Holdem with an odd of just 1 to 331. You can play this hand more aggressively regardless of your poker position or opponents. Even if you do some pre-flop betting you might still be able to walk away with the blinds.
Pair of Queens
A pair of queens is also called pocket ladies – this is the third best starting poker hand in the game with an odd of just 1 to 220. This hand will usually beat AKs, JJ, AQs, KQs AK, AJs and pairs of tens most of the time.
Pair of Kings
The pair of kings will beat all the hands listed above plus pocket queens in most rounds. There’s a 1 to 220 chance of being dealt this hand in any given game. Since it’s the second-best poker starting hand, you can play it regardless of your poker position or the number of opponents.
Pair of Aces
This is the best poker starting hand which will beat all hands listed above plus a few others in any given round. The odds of being dealt a pair of aces is 1 to 220. With a pair of aces you know you’re in it to win it.