Poker – Starting Hands

In the previous blogs of our online casino, we have spoken a few times about the quality of the starting hand and its varying importance in the tournament phases and cash game. In this blog, we only explain the starting hands of the most popular poker variants without going into the probabilities. The basics of probability calculation in poker will be the topic of the next blogs of

Poker hands

The values of the poker hands as a repetition:

  • Royal Flush: the best possible hand in Poker => Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace in one suit (suited)
  • Straight Flush: the cards of the hand in a row (for example: 5,6,7,8,9) and one suit
  • Four of a Kind or Poker: Four cards of equal value
  • Full House: Three cards of equal value and a pair
  • Flush: five cards of the same suit
  • Straight or Straight: Five cards in a row but different suits.
  • Three of a Kind or Triplet: Three cards of the same value
  • Two Pairs or Two Pairs: Two cards of equal value, twice in the hand
  • One Pair: Two cards of equal value
  • High Card : The higher card wins if at least one pair is not turned up at the show down.

In all forms of poker, a poker hand always consists of five cards and the suit (Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades) has no meaning.

Five Card Draw Poker Starting Hands

Of course all “served” starting hands are played. A poker hand that is already served is called a served hand, for example: a Full House. Other hands that should be played:

  • High Pairs (Many players set the jacks or max. a pair of tens as a limit)
  • Double pairs
  • Triplet
  • Draws

Seven Card Stud

The best starting hand is a triplet, the higher the better. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll meet another in the starting hand with a triplet, so the odds are almost always on your side. Often, three of a kind is enough to win the pot, so even without improving your hand, you have a pretty good chance of winning.

The other starting hands depend on the number of players at the table, since short handed means that more hands can be played with fewer players at the table.

Poker starting hands by number of players

Eight players

  • High pair to max. ladies
  • medium pairs with Ace or King as extra card
  • three cards of the same suit, again the higher the better

Four players

  • Each pair
  • three cards of the same suit
  • Connected Cards (“connected” cards e.g.: Queen, Jack, Ten) and AK, AD

For other numbers of players, it is important to find the middle ground between the hands for eight and four players and act accordingly.

Open cards at the table

Since in Seven Card Stud you also see your opponents’ cards face up, this information should influence your playing behavior even at the starting hands. For example, if you have a pair of eights in your hand and one or even both of the other eights are up, this weakens your hand significantly and makes small pairs unplayable.

Texas Hold’em Poker Starting Hands

The best hands in Texas Holdem Poker are:

A,A ; K,K ; D,D ; AKs ; (Ace King suited also in the same suit) J,J ; T,T; AQs; A,K ; A,Js and K,Qs

Of course, in the Hold’em variants, the position is very important and the number of players must not be neglected.

Early Position

The “early positions”, i.e. the players to the left of the dealer who must post the blinds, have the worst position in the game. Only pairs from A,A to about 8.8 should be played on these seats. In suited hands, of course, from A,K but K,J should be the limit. Offsuited from about A,J or K,Q

Middle position

In my opinion the pairs can be played up to 4.4. With the suited hands up to J,T and offsuited A,K to Q,J

Late position

Pressure is exerted from these positions and simply folded when aggressive action is taken. In late position I play all pairs (when I have learnt to assess my opponents to some extent). The suits up to T,9 and the offsuited cards up to J,T

As always, this lineup is all about probabilities, which should increase the chances of winning if the strategy fits the starting hand.

Starting Hands Omaha Hold ’em

With twice as many cards face down before the flop – compared to Texas hold’em – it is very tempting to play many more hands. Due to the complex mathematics of Omaha hold’em, especially in the high – low games, this can be fatal. Two separate Texas hold’em starting hands are not good Omaha hold’em hands. It is important that the cards e.g.: “double suited” are two times two suits and straight draws should result in e.g: A, K in hearts and K, Q in spades.

The best starting hands (always double suited) for Omaha Pot Limit High are

  • A,A,K,K
  • A,A,J,T
  • A,A,Q,Q
  • A,A,J,J
  • A,A,T,T

Omaha, however, is a very flop-like game where even hands like J,T,9,8 (doublesuited) can become monsters after the flop. But more on probabilities and strategies in the next few blogs.

Conclusion Poker Starting Hands

The enumeration of good starting hands is only a small help. The playability of the hands depends on the variants, the limit structures and the number of players at the table. Since strategy and tactics also play an important role in the way starting hands are played, we will be looking at the probabilities of how starting hands can develop in the next few blogs.

Until then, use the offer on and stay curious !