In hold’em, each player is dealt two down cards as their own personal hand (holecards), and then betting begins. The flop, or simultaneous turn of three board cards, starts a new round of betting. One of the next two board cards is turned, followed by a round of betting. Any five-card combination from the board and personal cards, which are collectively known as the “board cards,” may be used by a player.
A player can even create a hand entirely off of board cards without using any of their own cards (“play the board”). There is a dealer button. Although two blinds are the standard setup, the game can also be played with one blind, several blinds, an ante, or a mix of blinds and an ante.
The solution is simple if you are pre-flop: pocket aces. Outside of those rather specific boundaries, the response is: it depends. Simply put, Hold’em has so many variables that the best hand can change frequently from the flop to the river.
Best Texas Hold’em Hands
- Pocket Aces (A-A)
- Pocket Kings (K-K)
- Pocket Queens (Q-Q)
- Pocket Jacks (J-J)
- Ace-King Suited (A-K, same suit)
- Pocket 10s (10-10)
- Ace-King Offsuit (A-K)
- Ace-Queen Suited (A-Q, same suit)
- Pocket 9s (9-9)
- Ace-Jack Suited (A-J, same suit)
How Do You Play Texas Hold’em Hands?
Each Hold’em player receives two face-down cards at the beginning of the hand. Five more community cards are then dealt to everyone in turn for use. To create the finest five-card hand combination possible, each player may use all seven available cards. As a result, you can:
•Play two cards from your hand and three cards from the community.
•Just one of your hole cards and the four cards on the board should be combined.
•Only make use of the five community cards.
The cards speak when the battle is about to begin. You’ll always play the greatest five-card hand you can when you reveal your hand. The dealer will compare all hands and declare the winner, so there are typically no issues here. The only way to play correctly, though, is to be familiar with all the hand ranks before the cards are revealed. So let’s get started.
Which Hand in Hold’em Poker Wins?
All high poker versions employ a hand rating system, including Texas Hold’em. The good news is that you don’t need to learn anything new if you already know how to play 5 Card Draw or 7 Card Stud. All of these poker variants use the exact identical hand values. But if Hold’em was your first introduction to poker, the information in the next section will help you understand anything you might not understand.
Poker hand rankings for the “Hi,” “Lo,” and “Hi-Lo” games
It’s vital to keep in mind that not all poker games determine the best hand based on the poker hand rankings’ highest-ranked hand. In one of three techniques, poker-hand rankings determine the greatest poker hand in the majority of game types.
Poker high or low
The best poker hand is determined in “Hi” games by the hand that has the greatest ranking on the above chart, which is probably the most simple application of rankings.
Examples that are frequently played are Texas Holdem and Seven-Card Stud.
Low-hand, lowball poker, or lo
The standard poker hand rankings are reversed in lowball poker, making the lowest-ranking hand the best one. Depending on whether the ace is high or low and whether straights and flushes are considered, different versions of low-hand poker may differ.
Examples that are frequently used include: Razz
Hi-lo or split-pot poker
High-low split games, which divide the pot between the player with the highest-ranking poker hand and the lowest-ranking poker hand, are the third method for determining poker hand rankings.
Examples that are frequently played include: Omaha Hi-Lo
Order of Texas Holdem Poker Hands
When playing Texas Holdem, you must first become familiar with the game’s rules and poker hand rankings. Without knowing what beats what, progress will be difficult. Therefore, taking a few minutes to review the list of poker hands in order will quickly pay for itself.
Royal Flush: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and a Ten of the same suit – A♣ K♣ Q♣ J♣ T♣
Straight Flush: five cards in a row with the same suit that is not A-high, such as – T♠ 9♠ 8♠ 7♠ 6♠
Four of a Kind: combination with 4 cards of the same rank, like 8♠ 8♥ 8♦ 8♣ 4♣
Full House: three cards of the same rank and a pair, like J♥ J♦ J♣ 5♥ 5♣
Flush: five cards of the same suit that are not in a row, like K♥ Q♥ 8♥ 5♥ 3♥
Straight: five cards in a row, like 5♥ 6♦ 7♣ 8♣ 9♦
Three of a Kind: three cards of the same rank and two cards that do not match, like 9♥ 9♠ 9♣ 6♦ 3♠
Two Pair: combination with two different pairs, like 4♣ 4♠ 7♣ 7♠ K♣
One Pair: two cards with the same rank and three random cards, like A♦ A♥ J♣ 7♦ 3♥
High Card: when all your cars are with different ranks and with no combination, like K♥ Q♠ 8♣ 3♠ 2♦
Kickers and Tie-Breakers
The extra cards are used when numerous players have the same poker hand. The term “kickers” refers to these extra cards. When this occurs, the player with the higher kicker will win the pot.
•Player A has K♥ 9♥
•Player B has A♠ K♦
•The flop, turn and river are K♠-T♣-T♦-4♠-2♣
The final five-card poker hands for the players are as follows:
•Player A: “K” “K” “T” “T” “9” for Two Pair, Kings and Tens with a Nine kicker.
•Player B: K K T T A for a pair of twos, a king and a ten, and an ace kicker.
Although both players hold a pair of kings, Player B takes home the pot because he has Player A “out-kicked.” Both players may occasionally have the same kicker in a high card or one pair hand tie-breaker. The second kicker is employed in this instance, followed by the third and so on. The pot is split equally if the best five-card poker hands of both players are the same.
How Strong Hands Are Affected by The Flop
Players with powerful hands must decide whether to play the hand slowly and offer rivals a chance to capture the proper cards or to make large bets quickly to win the pot but gather more chips.
Pocket Aces: Around 12% of the time, garbage like 7-2 may trump even the finest starting hand in Hold’em (pocket aces).
Is the best poker opening hand. You always have the best hand pre-flop when dealt pocket aces. Pocket aces have the advantage over other powerful starting hands like KK, QQ, and JJ, which increases your chances of winning a sizable prize. With this hand, you should typically bet aggressively unless you get an extremely risky board with flush or straight potential. Players frequently become overly devoted to pocket aces, so if you have strong opposition, be cautious. Additionally, when there are fewer players in a hand, pocket aces hold up better. According to statistics, you will typically only be dealt pocket aces once every 221 hands.
Nickname: Pocket rockets, bullets, and rockets
Pocket Kings: For instance, while pocket kings are a strong hand, all it takes for KK to appear weak is for the flop to include only one ace. A significant component of Hold’em’s popularity is its rollercoaster-like aspect.
Are a monster in most scenarios and the second-best Hold’em starting hand. This hand should always be bet pre-flop, and folding this hand pre-flop is generally never a wise option (unless someone accidentally turned over pocket aces). When an ace appears on the flop, pocket kings are vulnerable. Suddenly, weak aces like A-9 and even A-2 overwhelm your might. Typically, you should take your time betting and try to limit the pot amount.
Dominant Hands: That said, some hands have significantly better odds. In general, big pocket pairs like pocket aces, pocket kings, and pocket queens dominate the rest of the starting hands.
Top Hold’em Starting Hands: Below is a list of the best Texas Hold’em starting hands that should serve as a good foundation for new and seasoned poker players alike.
Are another another incredibly potent opening hand that defeats the majority of the deck before the flop. In order to determine whether their opponent is holding monsters like aces, kings, or ace-king combinations, players with pocket queens often like placing large pre-flop bets. Many hands, including JJ, A-Q, A-J, and A-T, that pocket queens control will add money to the pot. However, the flip might be a bit of a minefield for queens as both kings and aces will put you in a difficult situation right away.
One of the most difficult premium hands in poker to play. Even though the hand has a very high winning chance against any pair of random cards, pocket aces, pocket kings, and pocket queens completely destroy it. Also, the odds against ace-king are only 50/50. Due of all of these factors, you should always play pocket jacks with extreme caution. The hand is still strong enough to start a pot and is significantly superior to drawing hands like K-J, J-T, and Q-J as well as all pairs from 99 to 22. When you hit a flop consisting of risk cards like kings and aces and experience significant resistance, don’t be scared to let this one go.
Ace King Suited
The ideal hand for drawing. Poker players with experience love the ace-king suited hand because it can provide the best straights and flushes. Ace-king is also excellent for hitting aces or flops on the flop since you can almost certainly make a lot of money if any other player also holds an ace or a king. On the other hand, ace-king becomes a very poor ace-high if you completely miss the flop. You should be ready to lay that one down. Now is a good moment to point out that in Hold’em, suits are irrelevant, therefore there is no “optimal” way to play cards like ace-king suited or other double suited hands.
Nickname: Big Slick
Essentially the best beginning hand among a lower tier of hands. It’s still a pretty strong hand when up against rags, but the aforementioned AA, KK, QQ, and JJ trample it. Additionally, the ace-king draw is a coin toss. However, big pairs are still quite strong, and if the board is somewhat safe, this one can be a nice one to bet both before and after the flip (limited aces, kings, queens etc.). By hitting a set (another ten) on the board, pocket tens can edge over its more tenacious rivals. If there is a lot of betting going on in front of you, it may be wise to fold pocket tens before the flop, so pay attention to what other players are doing.
Ace King Offsuit
Compared to its suited sibling, suffers in the power rankings because it doesn’t have the same chances of making a flush. With the exception of pocket aces and pocket kings, it is still a strong drawing hand that beats all non-pairs and flips a coin against all pairs. Ace-capacity king’s to destroy all ace-x hands that are weaker is one of its strongest qualities.
Nickname: Big slick
Ace Queen Suited
Another potent drawing hand that, if it doesn’t spike at least a pair, could run out of steam on the flop. It’s interesting to note that ace-queen suits still have the highest card (the ace) in their esteemed suit, which allows them to hit the nut-flush. You still need to be cautious about pocket aces, pocket kings, and pocket queens when you have ace-queen suited. Ace-queen should avoid facing ace-king at all costs because you forfeit all of your ace outs.
Nickname: Big chick
Ace Jack Suited
Is another hand that does well against random cards but can be completely destroyed by starting hands with real power. However, instead of being at the bottom of premier pairs like pocket jacks are, it is at the bottom of drawing hands like ace-king and ace-queen. Many newcomers to poker have lost sizeable pots after flipping an ace only to have their rivals out-kick them with an ace-king or ace-queen. Playing this hand requires extreme caution.
The Best Way to Use This Information
To play the game, you obviously need to know which hands win. But if you know the dealer would always make sure the pot goes to the rightful owner, why is this knowledge so important? The issue is, this idea informs everything you do at the Hold’em table. Based on the strength of your hand and the projected strength of your opponent’s holdings, you’ll be making judgments.
You won’t chase your flush draws on a paired board as much if you know a full house beats a flush. You’ll be aware that your hand is poor when you have a strong top pair with a weak kicker, and you should exercise caution. This information might appear trivial and repetitious to someone who has played poker for any significant amount of time, yet that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The fact is, I continue to run with individuals who haven’t grasped the fundamentals and are unsure of what to do with their hands. However, they make the decision to get in on the action and wager real money. Even in a pleasant game when you’re competing for pennies, it doesn’t happen very frequently but it’s never something you’d ever desire.
Being unsure of which poker hands win may be a highly costly error in any serious game, even at the lowest stakes when it may simply humiliate you a little. It should go without saying that unless you’ve mastered these fundamentals, you can’t even start learning more advanced techniques. All poker principles, from the most basic to the most complex used by players at the highest stakes, are built around hand rankings.