Texas Hold’em Pre-Flop Ranking of Hands
The very best of the best starting hands. It’s viable to raise or re-raise these hands in any position.
• AKs (the s refers to both cards of the hand being the same suit, which suit doesn’t matter for this discussion)
These hands are often worth a raise if you’re the first one to enter the pot. With some of them, it will often be right to just call or fold with them if someone raised in front of you.
• AQs, AJs, ATs
• AQ, AJ
• KQs KJs, QJs, JTs
• TT, 99
• AT, KQ
• KTs, QTs
These hands should generally be limped pre-flop, and should usually be folded to a raise
• 88, 77
• J9s, T9s
• 98s, 87s
• Ace with any other card of the same suit as your Ace
• KJ, QJ, JT
These hands that are best played only in late position, usually only if there are several limpers in front of you.
• Low Pairs (66 or lower)
• Suited Connectors like 76s, 65s, 54s (don’t usually play anything lower like 32s)
• KT, QT
• K9s, J8s
Hands not mentioned are generally trash hands and should only be played in situations where you have a big advantage over your opponent. For example, when you’re trying to steal the blinds, or are up against a very weak player.
While narrowing your starting hand selection is important, doing so is just the tip of the iceberg. After choosing which hands to play, you next have to know how to play these hands, before the flop, on the flop, and further on into the hands. You have to decide whether the best play is to call, bet, raise, or fold at each stage of the hand. As you progress and learn how each of these options works best, your chance of winning the hand increases tremendously.
After you have strengthened your fundamentals through each stage of the hand, you should be looking for other ways to win hands. This could include things such as bluffing, reading your opponents, and using your table position to your advantage. Adding these tools to your arsenal will greatly improve your chances of winning hands and, eventually, the size of your bankroll.
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