What Are The Best Starting Hands In Poker

Poker is one of the world’s most popular card games, combining both strategy and luck to create something that’s played by millions of people.

While there are many different versions of poker, Texas Hold ‘Em remains the most popular option. The bigger poker events in the world, such as the World Series of Poker, mostly feature Texas Hold ‘Em tables. The game is fairly simple to learn if you haven’t played before, but it can be difficult to master. After learning the basic rules and hand rankings, the next most important things to learn are the best starting hands.

Your starting hand is the first two cards you’re dealt, and this will affect how you choose to proceed in the next betting round. Having a bad hand means you should normally fold, while a good hand will lead you to check or raise the bet. It’s difficult to know which hands will be good at the end of the game because the community cards will come into play. However, some starting hands are much stronger than others. If you’re just starting to play poker online, you can make a note of the best poker hands using this poker cheat sheet


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A pair of aces is the strongest starting hand in poker and one that you should never be folding. This combination will come up roughly every 221 hands, so it’s fairly rare. While it’s strong, it’s not unbeatable. It’s already a high pair, but it can also lead to a three of a kind, four of a kind, or a full house.


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After the pocket aces, a pair of kings is the next strongest starting hand. Sometimes known as cowboys or king kong, you have a great chance of winning with this hand. However, if an ace shows in the flop, you could be in trouble, and there are other opportunities for players to beat you.


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The pair of queens is sometimes known as ladies and is a great sign that you could be on to a winner. Seeing a King or Ace on the flop is a bad sign, but you always have a chance to pull off a strong four of a kind, three of a kind, or full house.

Ace-King Suited

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If you have an ace and king in the same suit, you have a decent hand. However, you don’t really have anything at all until you start developing a flush or a straight on the flop. You could also land a high pair, but your options are limited. Other hands will beat this, but the potential for a flush or straight means it’s a strong hand.

Ace-Queen Suited

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Like the ace-king hand, you don’t have a winner here unless you get lucky on the flop. Still, the chance of landing a flush, royal flush, or straight means you have a strong hand and shouldn’t usually need to fold.


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The pair of jacks is a good hand to start out with, as you have a decent pair right off the bat. That said, you can easily be beaten by other hands, such as the ace-ace, king-king, or queen-queen. For that reason, it’s important to play cautiously.

King-Queen Suited

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The king-queen suited hand gives you a good chance of success in poker, considering you can make a straight or a flush. You won’t be able to land the royal flush unless an ace of the same suit appears, so this is something to consider. A lot of other hands also beat you unless the flop goes your way, so you can fold if it doesn’t.

Ace-Jack Suited

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Like the king-queen suited hand, you’ll be able to make a straight, flush, or royal flush if the circumstances are right, but as the jack is lower-ranking, this hand isn’t as valuable. Known as the blackjack, you could also find a high pair later in the game if things don’t go your way on the flop.


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The unsuited ace-king hand is strong, although considerably less so than the hands above. While you can still create a straight or high pair, there’s less chance of a flush or royal flush. You have a high-ranking hand but you unless things go your way, you’ll lose to lower-ranked hands.


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The only non-royal hand in the top ten, the pair of tens, is strong due to being a relatively high pair. It has value by itself, but not necessarily with the community cards. Because of this, the hands above can all lead to a better chance of a win. 


iGaming expert - with over 10 years of experience in the retail market in Italy and knowledge of global online gaming. In the past he has worked with the largest national gambling companies and he managed some land-based shops on their behalf. Entrepreneur, investor and enthusiast of difficult challenges, in 2015 he founded The Betting Coach Group, an international news and social marketing agency geared towards sports, esports and gambling companies. He is currently the C.E.O of The Betting Coach and is a consultant for Mr. Dragone collaborates with providers (game developers) and event organizers with the aim of helping them develop networks and business across continents. Passionate about journalism, he is the creator and promoter of iGaming Cafè, the first talk show in Italy, dedicated to companies and delegates from the gaming world.