Poker hands that will make you win

Tips For Poker Hands

Poker Starting Hands: How Not to Be A Fish

Now that you understand the position concept we are going to expand on that by looking at the subject of which starting hands to play and which to throw in the muck.

This is the area where inexperienced players become fish, simply by not having the ability to fold weak hands before the flop. You can save a lot of money at this stage of the hand just by simply choosing not to play.

The Importance of Starting Hand Selection

As you know Poker is a game of maths and probability. It is therefore possible to know which starting hands are most probable to win a hand and this has been statistically proven in many studies. These studies have been able to rank starting hands according to how likely they are to win the hand against a random selection of opponent’s starting hands.

Starting hand

By Starting Hand we mean the two hole cards which are dealt to you at the start of each hand.

Since we now know which are the best starting hands in poker then we can apply this knowledge to our strategy. Remember, when we play a hand, we want to play with the odds in our favour, and by selectively choosing which starting hands we play we can ensure this.

Of course if we just waited for the two or three best poker starting hands then we wouldn’t actually play many hands as the probability of these cards being dealt is only once in a while.

So we combine the position concept with our starting hand concept, to allow us to only play a narrow starting hand selection when out of position and to play a wider range of starting hands when we are in position. Therefore the benefit of playing in position makes up for the weaker starting hands we may play.

Starting Hand Groups

You could look at all the statistical information and studies, but we’ve taken all the work out of it for you. The following section is a key part of your strategy and you should practise choosing the right action before the flop using the poker starting hands chart below.

We have chosen 46 different hands that we will play depending on the position and situation we are in. Those 46 hands have been separated into 8 groups named Group A to H. Group A are the strongest hands in poker based on the statistics and group H are the weakest hands that we are willing to play. Of course there are many more hand combinations weaker than the hands in Group H, but we are not interested in playing with these and they will be folded into the muck straight away.

Group A

AA

KK

AKs

Group B

AK

QQ

Group C

JJ

TT

Group D

AQs

AQ

AJs

99

88

Group E

AJ

ATs

KQs

77

66

55

Group F

AT

KQ

KJs

QJs

44

33

22

Group G

A9s to A2s

KTs

QTs

JTs

J9s

T9s

98s

Group H

KJ

KT

QJ

J8s

T8s

87s

76s

The ‘s’ next to some of the hands stands for Suited, so two cards of the same suit. ‘AJs’ could stand for Aclubs Jclubs whereas ‘AJ’ could stand for Adiamonds Jspades

Take a minute just to browse the hands in each group, you don’t need to memorise these, as you can use the chart to refer to, and once you have used it for a while, you will start to remember which hands are in which groups.

Poker Starting Hand Charts

Ok, so now we have our selection of 46 hands, and have split them into 8 groups based on strength, now what? Well we won’t just automatically play any of those 46 hands when they are dealt to us, we will make a decision based on the position we are in, and the situation we are faced with at the table.

When we are in position we will play a wider range of groups and out of position we will only play the stronger groups. Similarly when opponents have shown strength at the table by raising we will only play the better cards against them.

There are three charts, UNRAISED, RAISED and BLINDS. These are our Action charts, and show us what action to take when we have a hand in one of the starting hand groups.

The three charts are:

  • UNRAISED – When everybody acting before you has either folded or called the big blind.
  • RAISED – When somebody acting before you has raised.
  • BLINDS – When you are in either the small blind or the big blind position and somebody acting before you has raised
UNRAISED
Everybody acting before you has either Folded or Called the Big Blind
Action Early Position Mid Position Late Position
Opening Raise A B C D A B C D E A B C D E F
Call a Re-Raise B C C C D
Raise a Re-Raise A A B A B
Call the Big Blind (if Multiway Pot) F G G H
RAISED
Someone acting before you has Raised already
Action Early Position Mid Position Late Position
Re-Raise A B A B A B
Call C C C D
BLINDS
After a Raise and You are in the Blinds
Action Raised from Early Position Raise from Mid Position Raised from Late Position
Unraised Blinds – Play as if you were in Late Position in the Unraised chart
Re-Raise A A B C A B C D
Call B C D D E E F

To use the charts, just follow these steps:

  1. What group is your starting hand in? if it isn’t in any group then you Fold.
  2. What Situation are you in? Choose one of the three action charts relevant to the situation you are in.
  3. What Position are you in? Look at the column in the chart for the position you are in.
  4. Starting Hand Group not shown? If your starting hand group is not shown in that column, then you Fold.
  5. Starting Hand Group Shown? If your starting hand group letter is shown then take the action the chart is showing you.

The different actions in each of the charts are:

  • Opening Raise – Make the first Raise
  • Call –  Just Call when a person has Raised
  • Re-Raise – Re-Raise a person who has Raised
  • Call a Re-Raise –  Call when someone Re-Raises your original Raise
  • Raise a Re-Raise – Re-Raise when somebody has Re-Raised your original Raise
  • Call the Big Blind – Just call the big blind amount (also known as ‘limping in’)