One of the keys to being a strong Texas Hold 'em poker player is to know which hands are playable and which are not. This list of the top 10 best starting hands for Texas Hold 'em is a good place to start learning. Do keep in mind, however, that there is some disagreement over which hands are the best, and it does depend in part on your skill level and style of play. Also, a great starting hand can turn bad quickly with the wrong community cards. This list reflects a consensus of the most trusted resources.
If you are new to Texas Hold 'em—or poker altogether—you may need to brush up on some of the terminology. In this type of poker game, there are cards dealt to the players, called hole cards, and cards dealt to the board, called community cards. When a player has a pair of their hole cards it is called a "pocket pair." And if the pair is made up of face cards (jack, queen, king) and their suits match, they are "suited;" if they aren't the same, then they are considered "offsuit." In addition to this lingo, there are many nicknames for cards and hands that you may encounter along the way.
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A pair of aces, also known as "pocket rockets" (and sometimes "American Airlines") is the best starting hand for Texas Hold 'em. Be wary of how many other players enter the pot, as more players increase the likelihood of someone beating your aces. Watch the flop. You have the best pocket cards, but you can still lose to two pairs of any other cards. You will see this combination once in every 221 hands, on average.
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A pair of queens, also known as "ladies," rounds out the top three best starting hands for Texas Hold 'em poker. You will hear many groans from players over this hand. It looks so pretty and it is strong, but they have often had it busted in the past. If an ace or king comes on the flop, you are probably going to be bested.
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This is where people start to disagree. A suited (both the same suit) ace-king, also known as "big slick," is arguably the fourth best starting hand for Texas Hold 'em. However, you really have nothing until you start developing a flush, straight, or pair with the flop. But you do have a lovely chance of a nut flush (a flush with ace as the high card) or a royal flush (ace, king, queen, jack, 10 in suit), not to mention a straight or high pair.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Nicknamed "blackjack" for obvious reasons, and sometimes called "Ajax," the ace-jack combo rates eighth. You have a chance for a nut flush, royal flush, straight, or high pair.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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