In Texas Hold’em, it’s important to choose your starting hands carefully. With no limit poker, anytime you see a flop and play a hand, your entire stack is potentially at risk.
Playing strong hands — such as high pocket pairs (i.e., Queens and Kings) or other high value cards (i.e., AK or AQ suited) — means you generally have more ammunition than your opponent in a card battle. In this game, it’s important to be “well armed” because, unless you’re playing heads up, you are typically facing several opponents when you see a flop.
Aggression and Showdown Value
To take money away from adversaries who don’t want to give it up, you’ll generally need (selective) aggression and better showdown value on the river.
Yes, elite players can outplay and outmaneuver their adversaries by playing late position well, or by semi-bluffing and bluffing. But this involves sophisticated analysis — involving psychology, opponent profiling, and body language reading skills — that requires years of experience.
Most novices don’t have access to such an advanced arsenal. Novices can play stronger hands when they enter to see a flop, and therefore have a greater likelihood of flopping a monster when the community cards are revealed.
Choosing Starting Hands
Selecting your starting hands well generally means you’ll do well in this game over the long-term. Mediocre and average players typically like to chase when they’re behind in terms of winning percentage. This is where you can increase your stack size, so long as you don’t let bad beats affect you too much.
Hand value is like selecting your basketball team. You only want effective basketball players in your line-up, right? This poker hand video shows hand rankings in Texas Hold’em.
Phil Hellmuth, who has won over a dozen World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, advises players to choose these top 10 starting hands when playing no limit Texas Hold’em:
4. A-K suited
9. A-Q suited
By choosing your starting hands more carefully, you’ll have a much better chance of succeeding in Texas Hold’em. It means you’ll be playing a tighter game, and you’ll need to match this selectivity with an aggressive style so long as the community cards are in your favor.