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Texas Hold ‘Em Starting Hands Ranked

Texas Hold ‘Em Starting Hands Ranked

Texas Hold ‘Em is one of the most popular types of poker played in the world. Whether you’re playing casually or competing in high-stakes tournaments, understanding which hands to play is crucial for success. In this guide, we’ll get into the intricacies of hand selection in Texas Hold ‘Em to help you make informed decisions while playing poker at the table.

What is Texas Hold’ Em

Texas Hold ‘Em is a variant of poker and a community card game where players aim to make the best possible five-card hand using a combination of their own hole cards and the communal cards on the table. Each player is dealt two private cards, known as “hole cards,” which are dealt face down. The game revolves around four betting rounds: pre-flop, flop, turn, and river.

Importance of Starting Hands

Starting hands play a pivotal role in Texas Hold ‘Em as they lay the foundation for your entire strategy. A strong starting hand increases your chances of winning the pot, while a weak hand can lead to costly mistakes. Understanding the relative strength of different hand combinations is essential for making profitable decisions.

Understanding the Best Starting Hands in Texas Hold ‘Em

Hand strength is determined by various factors, including card rank, suit, and potential for improvement. While some hands are inherently strong, others may require favorable community cards to become competitive. It’s crucial to assess the strength of your starting hand relative to your position at the table and the actions of your opponents.

Texas Hold’ Em Starting Hands Ranked

Looking to know “what hands to play in Texas Hold ‘Em?” Premium hands are the strongest starting hands in Texas Hold ‘Em, offering a high probability of winning the pot. These hands are typically played aggressively and can often dominate opponents.

Best Hands in Texas Hold ‘Em

Pocket Aces (AA)

Pocket Aces, also known as “bullets,” are the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold ‘Em. With two Aces, you have the highest pair possible, making it extremely difficult for opponents to outdraw you.

Pocket Kings (KK)

Pocket Kings, or “cowboys,” are the second-best starting hand in Texas Hold ‘Em. While not as invincible as Aces, Kings are still highly favored against most opponents.

Pocket Queens (QQ)

Pocket Queens, also referred to as “ladies,” are another formidable starting hand. While vulnerable to higher pairs, Queens are strong enough to warrant aggressive play in most situations.

Ace-King (AK)

Ace-King, commonly known as “big slick,” is a powerful starting hand that combines the potential for high pairs and strong suited connectors. While not as secure as pocket pairs, Ace-King holds significant value in both pre-flop and post-flop scenarios.

Strong Hands in Texas Hold ‘Em

In addition to premium hands, there are several strong starting hands that offer favorable odds of winning the pot.

Pocket Jacks (JJ)

Pocket Jacks, or “hooks,” are considered strong starting hands, but they can be vulnerable to higher pairs. Properly assessing the table dynamics is crucial when playing Jacks to avoid costly confrontations.

Ace-Queen (AQ)

Ace-Queen is a strong starting hand that offers the potential for high pairs, straight draws, and flush draws. While not as dominant as premium hands, Ace-Queen can still win sizable pots when played aggressively.

Pocket Tens (TT)

Pocket Tens are solid starting hands that hold up well against most opponents. While not as powerful as higher pairs, Tens can still win significant pots if played strategically.

Marginal Hands in Texas Hold’em

Playing marginal hands in Texas Hold ’Em are those with moderate strength that may require favorable community cards to improve your odds at winning.

King-Queen (KQ)

King-Queen is a marginal starting hand that offers the potential for straight draws and flush draws. While it can be tempting to play aggressively with KQ, caution is advised, especially in early positions.

Ace-Jack (AJ)

Ace-Jack is another marginal starting hand that can be tricky to play. While it offers the potential for high pairs and straight draws, it can easily be dominated by higher-ranking hands.

The Worst Hands in Texas Hold ‘Em

While certain hands hold promise, others are best avoided due to their limited potential and high likelihood of being dominated by stronger holdings.

7-2 Offsuit (The “Absolute Worst”)

Often referred to as the “hammer” or the “worst hand in poker,” 7-2 offsuit holds little to no value in Texas Hold ‘Em. With no possibility of forming a straight or a flush and minimal potential for pairs, playing this hand is generally considered a recipe for disaster.

3-2 Offsuit (The “Dreadful Duo”)

Similar to 7-2 offsuit, 3-2 offsuit lacks connectivity and offers little hope of improvement post-flop. While it’s technically possible to form a straight with this hand, the odds of doing so are exceedingly slim, making it one of the weakest starting hands in Hold ‘Em.

4-2 Offsuit (The “Four-Deuce Curse”)

4-2 offsuit suffers from the same shortcomings as other offsuit hands with minimal potential for strong combinations. While it’s tempting to play speculative hands in hopes of catching a miracle flop, investing chips in such weak holdings is rarely justified in the long run.

5-3 Offsuit (The “Five-Trey Tragedy”)

With little potential for forming strong hands and limited opportunities for improvement, 5-3 offsuit is best avoided in Texas Hold ‘Em. While suited connectors offer some flexibility, offsuit combinations lack the necessary firepower to compete effectively against stronger holdings.

6-2 Offsuit (The “Six-Deuce Disaster”)

6-2 offsuit is another hand devoid of meaningful potential, offering little hope of winning sizable pots. While it’s essential to maintain a balanced range of hands, including speculative holdings, investing chips in such weak combinations should be done sparingly, if at all.

Playing Position and Its Impact

The position at the poker table can significantly influence what hands to play in Texas Hold ‘Em. Players in late position have the advantage of acting after their opponents, allowing them to make more informed decisions based on their opponents’ actions. Your starting position in Texas Hold ‘Em, it might make or break a hand in Texas Hold ‘Em.

Adjusting Based on Game Dynamics

Adapting to changing game dynamics is essential for success in Texas Hold’ Em. Factors such as table image, opponent tendencies, and stack sizes should all influence your hand selection and playing style.

Hand Selection in Different Stages of the Game

The optimal hand selection varies depending on your position at the table and the stage of the game.

Early Position

In early position, it’s advisable to play cautiously and stick to premium hands that have strong preflop equity.

Middle Position

In the middle position, you can afford to widen your range slightly and include strong hands as well as some speculative holdings.

Late Position

In late position, you have the advantage of acting last, allowing you to play a wider range of hands, including marginal holdings and speculative hands.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Despite knowing which hands to play, many players still fall victim to common mistakes that can prove costly in the long run. Avoid these pitfalls to maximize your chances of success:

  • Overvaluing marginal hands
  • Playing too passively with premium hands
  • Failing to adjust to changing game dynamics
  • Ignoring position-based considerations
  • Chasing draws without proper pot odds

Test Your Texas Hold ‘Em Knowledge at WinStar

Mastering hand selection is a fundamental aspect of becoming a successful Texas Hold ‘Em player. By understanding the relative strength of different starting hands and adjusting your strategy based on position and game dynamics, you can increase your chances of winning pots and maximizing profits at the poker table. Bring your hand knowledge and test your strategy at the Texas Hold’em tables at WinStar Casino.


Can I win with any starting hand in Texas Hold ‘Em?

  • While it’s technically possible to win with any starting hand, certain hands offer better odds of success than others. By focusing on premium and strong starting hands, you can increase your chances of winning pots consistently.

How important is position in Texas Hold ‘Em?

  • Position is crucial in Texas Hold ‘Em as it determines the order of betting and allows players to make more informed decisions based on their opponents’ actions. Players in late positions have a significant advantage over those in early positions.

Should I always raise with the best Texas Hold ’Em hands?

  • While raising with premium hands is generally advisable, there may be situations where a different approach is warranted based on table dynamics and opponent tendencies. It’s essential to consider various factors before deciding on your course of action.

What is the best starting hand in Texas Hold ‘Em?

  • The best starting hand in Texas Hold ‘Em is pocket Aces (AA), followed by pocket Kings (KK) and pocket Queens (QQ). These premium hands offer the highest probability of winning the pot.

How can I improve my hand selection skills in Texas Hold ‘Em?

  • Improving your hand selection skills requires practice, observation, and study. Analyze your gameplay, learn from experienced players, and familiarize yourself with hand rankings and probabilities to enhance your decision-making abilities.