Top Best Hold'em Poker Hands

Edited by Adam Stemple, 2016

Here's a quick guide to the ten best Texas Hold'em poker hands. If you start with any of these ten hands during Texas Hold'em, you are usually in excellent shape, though position and the action in front of you will still have a big effect.

For more on how to play the best of the best, see The Top 5 Holdem Hands and How to Play Them.

For a more detailed guide to which hands to hold and which to fold, read Texas Hold'em Starting Hand Selection.

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Hand revealing black jack
Roy Hsu/Photolibrary/Getty Images
This is the best Hold'em poker hand you can hope to have. It's the best of the best, and will win more than any other hand. Also known as American Airlines, pocket rockets, and bullets.
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This 2nd-best hold'em hand is still incredibly strong and will win you a good chunk of change. Two kings, or "cowboys" are only dominated by aces.
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Two queens, or "ladies" are a very good hand. Sure, kings and aces will beat you, but you've got the upper hand on jacks and below.
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Ace-king is a strong but tricky hand. It is the strongest of the drawing hands, but the flop needs to work with you to give you a pair of aces or kings for it to really pay off. Suited it is slightly stronger than unsuited, as then you can also make the nut flush much more easily.
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A pair of jacks, ten-handed, will win almost 20% of the time. If the flop shows a queen, king, or ace, watch out, but otherwise, it's smooth sailing.
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Ace-queen is the second best drawing hand, and when suited, will win about 20% of the time as well.
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King-queen, especially suited, is a great drawing hand that is only afraid of an Ace falling on the board.
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Ace-jack is another great drawing hand. Suited is always better here, but unsuited is still playable.
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King-jack, especially in later positions, is a fine hand to play, but can be beat by any of the hands listed above and should be folded to big raises. Statistically, suited it will win just under 19% of the time, but unsuited that drops to just 15%.
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Ace-ten is still a good hand -- you've got the ace, and can make a straight if the miracle J-Q-K falls on the board. But be wary of playing it too strong, especially unsuited, as if all you end up with is a pair of aces, you may be out-kicked.