Now that you have started to play poker, be it for fun, or competitively, you’re most likely looking for a real easy way to improve your poker skills. Because after all poker IS a game of skill. One of the most important poker skills you can have is a good grasp on odds and probability. Even though most poker players will tell you that poker is a skill game, there is still an element of chance involved. One of the best ways to manipulate the chance in your favor is to understand odds at the poker table.\An easy mistake lots of new poker players make, is their apparent inability to lay down a hand that even they know is beat. This comes from most new poker player’s inability to pick and choose their starting hands wisely. You need to understand that poker is NOT a two card game. Take Texas Hold’em for example. It’s a very popular poker variant that is responsible for 90% of the new poker players out there. In this form of poker you are dealt two cards face down. These are your hole cards, or “pockets”. Some pocket cards or combinations of pocket cards have a greater starting value than others. For Texas Hold’em poker details you can have a look at https://koinqq.com/.
Understanding starting value in your hole cards is very important. Even though your pocket seven’s you were just dealt look very attractive, they really are just a middle pair. A middle pair is going to be “out drawn” by two higher cards a good deal of the time. For example, if you have your starting hand of sevens, and I have a starting hand of Ace-Jack, I can draw any one of the other three Jacks or Aces to beat you. That’s six cards I can catch to win, or six “outs”. You only have two sevens left in the deck to catch. A pair of sevens could make a straight, provided you get a running combination of four cards. My Ace-Jack only needs a running combination of three cards to make a straight.
Obviously there are more factors involved than what I have explained thus far, but if you begin to explore the possibilities of other starting hands as we have begun to here, you will begin to see, that there are starting hands that are statistically far and away better than others. Let’s go over the top ten starting hands in Texas Hold’em. They will be ranked from one, being the best, to ten, being the tenth best.
#1. Ace-Ace. Sometimes called “bullets”, or “weapons of mass destruction”. Mathematically the best starting hand in Hold’em poker. Aces will get cracked by two random cards only 15% of the time.
#2. King-King. Also called “cowboys”, kings will only loose to a pair of aces more often than not.
#3. Queen-Queen. Referred to as “ladies”, queens are a strong high pair and a good solid starting hand, but can be out drawn by two cards.
#4. Jack-Jack. Sometimes called “fishhooks”, it can be tough to play. Jacks will be out drawn by a lot of attractive starting hands. It’s pretty solid anyway.
#5. Ace-King suited. Also called “big slick”, it’s got two top cards to draw on, and catches a “nut flush” with any three cards of the same suit. If it doesn’t catch it’s just a high card.
#6. Ten-Ten. Referred to as “dimes”, tens look great starting out early in a hand, but loose value fast as the higher cards hit the board.
#7. Ace-King off suit. They call this one “big slick” also, and it has the same chance of making a nice high pair, but substantially lower chance of making a flush than its suited counterpart.
#8. Ace-Queen suited. Sometimes called “big chick”, it’s an attractive drawing hand, and has a lot off power in terms of making small pairs lay down.
#9. King-Queen suited. Known as the “royal couple”, two top pair makers to draw on make this hand easy to play, and it makes for a nice “second nut flush” with the addition of three cards of the same suit.
#10. Ace-Jack suited. This should bring back fond memories for you blackjack players, and is known to poker players as “ajax”. Nice to look down and see this in the pocket, even nicer if that lonely Jack hits on the flop.
There you have it, the top ten starting hands in Texas Hold’em poker. I have found that a great way to practice figuring out how your starting hands stack up is to try and work out the next ten or twenty hands on our list. Try to figure #11 through #30, I am sure you’ll be surprised to see what is and isn’t there when the dust settles.
When you play don’t solely rely on math and probability to guide your decisions, use your instincts, and trust you gut. If you loose, learn from it, and try hard to not make the same mistakes over and over. That’s the only way to really improve. After all, poker is a game of skill.
Until next time remember: A good poker player can dodge bad luck, a great poker player doesn’t have to.