The Best and Worst Texas Hold 'em Poker Starting Hands

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In Texas Hold 'em, any two cards can win. But what you really want is the two-card combo that offers the best chance to win. One of the first and most important things to learn when playing Texas Hold 'em is which starting hands are worth staying in with -- and which you should fold. 

Best Starting Hands

You're a contender if you're dealt:

  • Ace/Ace -- the strongest starting hand in the game.
  • King/King, Queen/Queen, Jack/Jack -- high pairs set you off well.
  • An Ace with a face card -- sets a good foundation, if the flop works in your favor.

The specific sequence of cards and the order in which they rank is not a minor point, so study the 10 best starting hands in Texas Hold'em.

Worst Starting Hands

Consider folding early if your two cards are:

  • A 2 or a 3, paired with a 7 or an 8 -- you can't make a straight out of them.
  • An Ace or a face card with an unsuited low card -- you're taking a risk relying on a single high card.
  • Two unmatched, unsuited low cards (like 4/7,5/8, etc.) -- you'll rarely win with these.

The strategy of what to hold, and why, takes a bit to master, so review The 10 worst starting hands in Texas Hold 'em for additional advice.

Beginner's Advice

Play only the cards in the ten-best list and always fold the hands in the worst hands list. Following this strategy may improve your results.

If you're playing No-Limit Hold 'em, learn the Top 5 No-Limit Hold 'em Hands so you understand in detail how to play them.

As your skill increases, you'll want to learn how position affects your Hold 'em starting hand decisions.

The more you learn, the more you'll realize how important your starting hands are to your bottom line. Play the good hands and fold the bad, and you'll be well on your way to becoming an expert at Hold 'em.