Top 10 Starting Hands

If you find yourself sitting at a Texas Hold’em poker table and your cards have been dealt, you are already faced with a difficult decision: should you play your hand or not? Regardless of the numerous other factors such as your chip stack, blind levels, and number of players involved, there are 10 poker starting hands in Texas Hold’em with which you can confidently make a call or even a raise without thinking twice. We will present to you here the top 10 No Limit Hold’em poker starting hands and provide you with other important tips for your pre-flop game.

Additionally, if you’re a beginner, make sure to read our guide on poker rules before playing. If you’re looking for the value of poker hands, you’ve come to the right place. We also have many other helpful poker guides for you.

Now, let’s take a look at the top 10 starting hands:

  1. Pocket Aces
    As the strongest starting hand in all Hold’em variants, pocket aces are also known as “Pocket Rockets.” You are a high favorite pre-flop with pocket aces, but your chances of winning decrease with every opponent who stays in the game. Therefore, it’s recommended to raise at least three times the big blind with pocket aces as your starting hand.
  2. Pocket Kings
    Also known as “Cowboys,” pocket kings are the second-best starting hand. Only a pair of aces are stronger than this poker hand, so you should play the kings aggressively before the flop. Keep in mind that pocket kings win against a hand with an ace less than 70% of the time.
  3. Pocket Queens
    The “Pocket Queens,” a pair of queens, are the third-best starting hand in poker. The hand is extremely strong before the flop, but it falls off quickly after the flop. Any combination with an ace or a king can easily beat the queens. Therefore, it’s recommended to raise with this hand before the flop.
  4. Ace-King Suited
    The combination of an ace and a king is the best poker starting hand that doesn’t consist of a pair. Even though the hand has a reputation for looking promising but not winning very often, it’s a very strong suited hand that beats all pairs except aces and kings in around 50% of cases.
  5. Pocket Jacks
    A pair of jacks, also known as “Pocket Jacks,” is considered particularly difficult to play. Of course, the hand is a favorite over any smaller pair and beats all hands that don’t consist of two overcards in over 50% of cases. However, unlike aces, kings, or even queens, you must pay much more attention to your position and your opponents’ raises and re-raises with pocket jacks.
  6. Pocket Tens
    Similar to jacks, it’s difficult to play pocket tens correctly. If you’re in a late position and there has been plenty of action at the table with raises and re-raises, it’s likely that an opponent holds two overcards or a higher pair. Then it’s even appropriate to fold this hand. If no player has acted before you, you should try a small to medium pre-flop raise.
  7. Ace-Queen
    Suited The combination of an ace and a queen in the same suit is often the best starting hand at the table. In general, you should always play this hand and can also go along with small to medium raises before the flop without hesitation. If you don’t hit a pair or a draw on the flop, don’t hesitate to fold when an opponent bets.
  8. Ace-King Offsuit
    Due to the lower prospects of a flush, the hand is much weaker than A-K suited. However, it’s still the eighth-strongest Texas Hold’em
  9. Ace-Jack Offsuit
    While not as strong as Ace-Jack suited, Ace-Jack offsuit is still a solid starting hand in Texas Hold’em. It has the potential to make top pair or a strong straight, and can even make a flush if the right cards come up. However, be wary of higher pairs or other strong starting hands that can easily beat Ace-Jack offsuit.
  10. King-Queen offsuit
    King-Queen offsuit is the weakest of the top 10 starting hands, but it can still be playable in certain situations. It’s important to pay attention to your position and the actions of other players before deciding whether to play this hand. In general, you should only play it in later position and with fewer opponents in the pot.

Poker Hand Selection: Which Hands Should You Play?

Texas Hold’em poker is a game of patience, skill, and strategy. One of the most critical aspects of this game is selecting the right hands to play. Novices tend to make the mistake of playing too many hands in an effort to seize every opportunity to win big pots. However, a good hand selection is the key to success in Texas Hold’em poker. You should always know precisely which hands to play in any given situation and when to fold pre-flop.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing the best hands for any given situation.

Understanding Hand Rankings

In Texas Hold’em, there are 169 possible starting hands. These hands are ranked in order of their strength. The strongest hand is a royal flush, while the weakest hand is a high card. In between, there are many possible combinations of pairs, three of a kind, straights, flushes, full houses, four of a kind, and straight flushes.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Hands

When selecting which hands to play, several factors must be taken into consideration, including your position at the table, the chip stacks of your opponents, and the phase of the tournament (if playing in a tournament).


Your position at the table is a critical factor to consider when choosing hands. The later your position, the more hands you can play. The earlier your position, the fewer hands you should play. The reason for this is that players in later positions have more information available to them, which allows them to make more informed decisions.

Chip Stacks

The chip stacks of your opponents are also important when choosing which hands to play. If an opponent has a much larger stack than you, it may be wise to avoid playing hands against them, as they have more chips to bet and can potentially bully you out of the pot.

Phase of the Tournament In tournament play

The phase of the tournament is a crucial factor to consider when choosing hands. Early in the tournament, you should play conservatively and only play strong hands, as the blinds are low, and there is plenty of time to build your chip stack. As the tournament progresses, the blinds increase, and the pressure to accumulate chips grows. This is when you should start playing more aggressively and take advantage of weaker opponents.

The Top 20% of Playable Hands

Of the 169 possible starting hands in Texas Hold’em, only 20% are considered playable. This includes pairs, suited combinations with an Ace, suited connectors, and combinations with a King or Queen.

Pairs Pairs are always playable in Texas Hold’em, but it’s important to be aware of your opponents’ behavior and the board’s texture when playing these hands. Smaller pairs should be played more cautiously, as an opponent may have a higher pair or two overcards.

Suited Combinations with an Ace Any suited combination with an Ace is worth playing, but players should be cautious of small side cards that may not have a good kicker. For example, an Ace-3 suited is a weaker hand than an Ace-10 suited.

Suited Connectors Suited connectors are hands that consist of two consecutive cards of the same suit, such as 8-9 of hearts. These hands can be profitable if played correctly, but players should be cautious of high raises and only play them in later positions.

Combinations with a King or Queen Combinations with a King or Queen can be playable in certain situations, but players should be cautious and only play them with a high side card and in good position.

Hands to Avoid

There are many starting hands that should be avoided in Texas Hold’em, including any offsuit combinations that don’t include an Ace, low suited connectors, and low pairs.

Playing these hands can put you at a significant disadvantage, as they are less likely to connect with the flop or turn and can be easily dominated by stronger hands.

It’s essential to fold pre-flop if you don’t have a strong starting hand. Players who play too many hands and don’t fold when they should are more likely to lose money in the long run.


Choosing the right hands to play is one of the most critical aspects of Texas Hold’em poker. Players should consider their position, the chip stacks of their opponents, and the phase of the tournament when selecting hands to play.

Remember that playing too many hands can lead to significant losses, so it’s essential to fold pre-flop if you don’t have a strong starting hand. By following these guidelines and being patient, strategic, and selective with your hands, you can increase your chances of winning at Texas Hold’em poker.

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