The Best Starting Hands in Poker and How to Play Them?

In this post you will see

A suggestion for a book by Phil Helmeuth that will give any beginner a huge boost in their overall game.

The Top 5 Starting hands in Poker and strategies on how to almost always win with them!

In Texas Hold Em Poker there are 169 unique starting hands you can have.

With so many different hands out there it is important to understand what the best hands are and how you can play them to ensure that you are winning in these opportune moments when you are dealt one of these hands.

Without waiting any longer lets go over the Top 5 hands

AA (Also known as pocket rockets or American Airlines)


Easily regarded as the best starting poker hand there is. With this hand you are already in front of all your opponents with the top pair out there and you should play it that way. Whenever you see this hand make sure you are raising pre-flop or re-raising your opponents. Your chances of getting this hand are about 220 to 1 so make the most of every chance you get with this hand.

Be aware of how to play this hand well, you want to be raising your opponents with this hand to where you get in a one on one situation with them on the flop but not over raising so that everyone folds before the flop. Maximize the value of this hand by keeping your opponent in while burying him on a board that doesn’t put you in danger.

It is important to note that when you are playing in a large group of players that the value of AA decreases if you do not get everyone out pre-flop. With many hands in on the flop it becomes difficult for AA to hold up against a numerous amount of hands that can hit draws on the board.


KK (King Kong)

Again this obviously the second best hand in poker. A lot of the advice I gave about (AA) holds true here with pocket Kings. This is a very fun hand to have and should almost ensure you victory every time you see it.

The only difference I see between this and pocket (AA) is that you should be even more aggressive pre-flop because of the likely hood that someone is going to try to see the board if they have an Ace in their hand.

Make sure you are really testing your opponents with this hand before the flop to ensure that your opponent is ether playing a really strong hand or folding his weak ace.

QQ (Four Tits)

Now is when ranking the hands gets a little more controversial. Although some would argue for (AK) I personally would still rather have pocket Queens. When you’re playing with Queens you still want to be very aggressive like you would be with (KK) now the only difference is that you’re going to have to dodge Aces and Kings if you happen to get in a situation where you’re playing the board.

If you play this hand aggressive enough like you do with Kings, you will be in great shape to take pots pre-flop. If your opponent survives the pre-flop action you have to know that you are now looking at the strong possibility of him holding a higher card than the queen. It’s okay if your opponent has gotten to see the board with you but rest assured that if there are no Aces or Kings on the board do not mess around and wait for them to come. Take down the pot as quickly as you can and take your free wins when you get them.


AK (Big Slick)

Time to the talk about the hand we all love to see and hate to lose with. Yes, when you see that your hand is Ace/King you feel a sense of empowerment as you should it is one of the best hands in poker. Your odds of getting this hand are 82/1 or about 1.2%.

But remember if someone out there is holding any kind of pocket pair your chances of winning the pot are about 50/50.

When holding Big Slick your chances of hitting the board are 2.1/1 and you have a lot of opportunities for top kickers, straights and flushes. Try not to get too crazy with this hand pre-flop in case your opponents are holding huge pocket pair but other than that make sure you are taking full advantage of this strong hand.


JJ (Fish Hooks)

The hand that everyone loves to hate. Despite a lot of negativity with the fish hooks you still have to respect the fact that this a pretty powerful starting hand. Although they are a tricky play with the right strategy this hand can still bring in good wins for you.

Play this hand like you would any of the other high pocket pairs and try to take down the pot pre-flop. If that doesn’t work, see what the board gives you and make your decision from there. If your unfortunate and those over cards do come out it is okay to dump your hooks and live to fight another day. Your odds for fish hooks holding up all the way to the river is only 48% so keep that in mind when you play them.

Now that we’ve talked about the Top 5 hands I want you consider checking out the book. This book is a big reason why I started out very strongly when I first started playing poker.

Play Poker Like A Pro

This book is mainly crafted for beginners but it was written by the great Phil Hellmuth and it gives you a chance to look inside the mind of one of the greatest poker players to ever live. He gives more detailed tips about how to play strong starting hands listing his Top 10 and it definitely improved my game.

Looking for even more to help improve your game? Check out this great list of statistics that are sure to help you improve your poker game!

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