The basic poker lesson is when to hold and when to fold. Knowing whether your initial deal is worth staying in the game or if you should call it a day, is one of the most important decisions to make at the beginning of the poker game. One of the most common beginner’s mistakes is holding onto the worst pair of hole cards instead of folding and protecting your money.
Therefore, if you are a novice poker player, one of the first things you should memorize is which initial hands are worth holding and which hands leaves you no choice but to fold. Since Texas Holdem is the most popular poker variation, here you can find lists of the best and the worth Holdem poker starting hands.
Best Poker Hands
If you are lucky to be dealt one of these initial hands, you are definitely having an excellent beginning:
Pair of Aces: as known as American Airlines or pocket rockets, it is the best possible Texas Holdem starting hand.
Pair of Kings: not as good as a pair of Aces but still an excellent way to open a game of Texas Holdem.
Pair of Queens: if you want to look at the bright side, you will be beaten only by Kings and Aces.
Ace and King: if they are of the same suit, your condition is even better, since you can form the nut flush at ease.
Pair of Jacks: unless the flop shows either a Queen, King or an Ace, you have decent chances of winning with this promising starting hand.
Ace and Queen: the same as Ace and King, a suited hand would increase your chances of stepping out as a winner.
King and Queen: unless the community cards contain an Ace, you are in a good shape with this starting hand and even better if it is suited
Ace and Jack: even if appears unsuited, this starting hand is still worth holding.
King and Jack: still one of the best Texas Holdem starting hands, but be careful with it, especially when unsuited.
Ace and Ten: the Ace upgrades it to a pretty good hand, although requires a cautious play since it can be beaten by any of the starting hands mentioned above.
Worst Poker Hands
These hands would suit you well if you play some of the lowball variations, but if you play traditional Texas Holdem poker, the best advice would be to fold.
2 and 7: if you are dealt this hand, especially unsuited, you cannot even make a straight. Even if suited you should be so lucky to form a low flush or the lowest pair. In one word: fold.
2 and 8: same as the previous hand; pair of 8s is still a low pair.
3 and 7: although it can beat the previous hands, it still a worthless pair of cards
3 and 8: again, hardly even a low straight.
2 and 6: only if the community cards will feature 3, 4 and 5, you will have a chance of forming a straight. However, do not count on it, especially if there are more than 3 attendances in the game.
2 and 9: thanks to the presence of the 9 you are in better shape than with the former hands, still you cannot form a straight and even a pair of 9s would be beaten by pairs of 10s, Jacks, Queens, etc.
3 and 9: the same thing: higher than 8 lower than almost any other hand.
4 and 9: as mentioned above; foldem.
2 and 10: even though Doyle Brunson had won two WSOP bracelets with this starting hand, unless you have the talent and experience of Brunson, do not hold this hand.
5 and 9: also known as Dolly Parton, this hand would get you nowhere near the final table.