Texas Hold'Em Starting Hands
all Texas Hold'em games from ten-man ring games to no-limit to
short-handed play, the number one thing that will determine your
success or failure is the starting hands you play. If you routinely
play crap hands out of position in Hold'em you will get slaughtered. It
is very important to play disciplined poker and stick to a starting
hand strategy without going on tilt.
Here's a quick rundown of Texas Holdem poker starting hands ("s" denotes suited):
AA-QQ, AK, AKs: Raise and re-raise from any position.
TT-JJ, AQs, AQ, AJs:
Very solid hands, you can call a raise if you have position on the
raiser and sometimes re-raise. Consider folding when out of position
against multiple raisers.
88-99, AJ, ATs, KQs:
Getting harder to call a raise with these hands. If you're the first in
the pot by all means raise, but consider folding if raised into.
77, KQ, AT, A9s: Can't call a raise with these hands. Can't call period if in early position. Raise from late position to steal blinds.
55, 66, KJ, AXs, KTs, QJs, JTs: If you call a raise with these hands then you're going broke soon. Play late position into unraised pots only.
Suited connectors and lower pocket pairs:
Play these only in unraised pots where you have good position and at
least 3-4 other players in the pot. To win with these hands you need to
hit the flop big time with a straight or flush draw in the case of
suited connectors or trips in the case of pocket pair. This won't
happen often so you need to make sure you're getting good implied odds
to make it worth your while to stay in the pot. The more players in the
hand, the higher the implied odds of these hands. Don't call a raise
pre-flop with these hands because your implied odds will get
Usually play only for deception or blind stealing. There are a few
exceptions, of course you can play something like J9s in late position
with five players in the unraised pot. Play smart and adjust these
guidelines for the game situation.
Here are several off-site Usenet posts discussing Hold'em starting hands:
Holdem Starting Hand Formula
No-Limit Holdem Starting Hands
Short-Handed Holdem Starting Hands