These Top 8 Poker Starting Hands Have the Best Odds of Winning
In a lot of ways, poker is like life: there are no sets of starting cards that will guarantee you success. There are a few, however, that offer a distinct advantage, increasing your chances of winning in the end.
Let’s admit it; out of the 169 different starting hands in poker, most players have a favorite which they feel comfortable staking their game on. Perhaps you’re like this as well! Your heart skips a beat when you get dealt your favorite card and you brace yourself for the win… only to get beat by a bigger hand. Such is poker!
For a win, you’ll need to combine three things: skill, odds & a dash of luck. But in the absence of any or all of these, being dealt a good hand from the very beginning can still tip things in your favor. With this in mind, below are outlined the hands that have the best odds of winning, specifically in Texas Hold’Em.
1. Pocket Aces
Otherwise known as Pocket Rockets or Bullets, pocket aces comprise of 2 aces, and is the strongest starting hand in poker. Hold these two and you have a strong pre-flop advantage over any two cards on the table. Statistically, you are only going to be dealt bullets once every 221 hands, so feel free to get excited should you land these… just don’t forget to maintain your poker face the whole time!
One caveat: the likelihood of winning diminishes as the number of people who enter the pot increases. Sometimes it’s smart to steal the pot early!
2. Pocket Kings
Different corners of the pokerverse call them Ace Magnets or Cowboys. Coming in second place among the best Texas Hold’Em starting hands, pocket kings are always a welcome sight. The only downside to having them comes when there is an ace on the board, or when there are many players in the hand.
3. Pocket Queens
In massively attended tournaments like our $130 No Limit Hold’em, which take place on Tuesdays, you should keep an eye out for aces on the board even as you play your pocket queens aggressively.
In general, if you get dealt this hand, you can take a sigh of relief knowing that there are only 8 over-cards left in the deck (fewer if you get your money in against an opponent with a king, an ace, or an ace-king)
4. Ace, King Suited
There are some catchy nicknames that are given to this hand, such as Big Slick, but the funniest of all, and most insightful, is the more recent Anna Kournikova, which was coined because this particular hand looks good but seldom ever wins.
It remains a powerful hand by all means, but leaves you vulnerable to losses when you don’t connect on the flop.
5. Pocket Jacks
Popularly known as J-Birds, these are considered the strongest medium pair in hold’em. They are extremely difficult to play, given that a lot of higher cards can deal out damage to your game if you have these in hand. However, they remain a strong pair against any unpaired hand or any lower packet pair.
6. Pocket Tens
Also known as Dimes, these are a strong hand to have at the start given that they can hold their own against over-cards every other time. That said, there are far more combinations where dimes are not as strong a favorite as J-Birds. That’s why, of all the medium starting hands in the poker world, these are considered the hardest to play. Most players who show up for our tournaments at the poker room tend to find this pair easier to fold before the flop when they have a lot of action before them.
7. Ace, Queen Suited
The strength of this pair lies in its relative strength against other starting hands. In actual fact, in a face-off against an off-suit ace, king, this pair goes in as an underdog. In a situation where you completely miss the flop, this hand will keep you from falling in trouble.
8. Ace, King Off-suit
Weaker than its fourth-ranked suited cousin due to its reduced likelihood of hitting a flush, the ace, king off-suit rounds off our list of the top 8 poker starting hands. Don’t let the modest position on our list fool you though - 40% of the time this hand wins against other hands that are not aces or kings. Sometimes it makes sense to call in position before the flop with this pair in hand. This keeps the pot small, and you still get a payout if you pair one of your two hole cards.
Play Poker at the Isle®!