In talking about the starting hands in poker, professional player Vivian Im said that there is no real significance in bluffing; it is all about the importance of reading the next move, and most importantly, timing. As you are not pros, this article aims to guide beginner players or players who know the game but can’t seem to win their play. We shall help you to the extent of focusing on the cards dealt and the winning combinations that pro players live by. So the next time you are among the cards and playing poker, don’t forget to incorporate these starting hands in your play.
1. American Airlines (Pocket Aces - AA)
More commonly known as “Bullets” in the world of poker, this hand is statistically the strongest hand in poker. Aces will always be strong and straightforward. In the poker community, nobody hates Aces. If there is, then you might just have to relearn your poker game.
2. Cowboys, King Kong, or Ace Magnets (Pocket Kings - KK)
Of course, after the best, we have the second best starting hand in poker. If you have a pair, then it’s looking like an automatic win for you, but you still need to be careful. Cowboys can stand their ground in heads-up matches; however, if there’s an ace or is outdrawn, this will lead you to a downward spiral.
3. Bitches, Siegfried and Roy, or Four Tits (Pocket Queens - QQ)
Hmm, a bit racy isn’t it? A bit of a derogatory term for pocket Queens or ladies; this is how the poker community labeled this hand. How are Queens advantageous to another player’s hand you ask? Well, because there’s only two pairs above them, this is a great starting hand. The best strategy for this hand is to play aggressively; win big or go home.
4. Big Slicks or Walking Back to Houston (Ace-King)
In an episode of World Poker Tour, Ace-KIings were labeled as Anna Kournikova, the beautiful tennis player, because WPT commentator Vince Van Patton stated that the player, just like the hand, “looks great, but never wins.” This statement is accepted because, although Ace-Kings look good in your hand, they are drawing hands. If big slicks don’t hit a draw or a pair on the board, then even lower pockets could beat them. A good way to play big slicks is to use it under the gun, a position after the big blind, so it can push your opponents to fold right in the onset.
5. Hooks or J-Birds (Pocket Jacks - JJ)
This is a face card, but don’t be fooled. This hand is very hard to play. Why are these pocket Jacks hard? Obviously, there’s a chance that there’s already three higher cards that will lead to defeat and assuming that one of your opponents has one high car that hit the board. As this is a monster card, then you should play it like one. With pocket Jacks, you should always play strong. Pro poker players treat this hand as the highest medium pair.
6. Tensions or Dimes (Pocket 10s - TT)
If pocket Jacks are the highest medium pair, this is the most difficult one to play. According to probabilities in poker, Tens are getting most people in trouble because they are in the middle, neither high nor low. They will get any player thinking that he/she might win, but only gets them into trouble. But between big slicks and Tens, Tens are preferred because it’s easier to fold.
So did you follow all of that? Although Phil Hellmuth considered ten starting hands, the six here are made for every player level. For beginners, if you’re playing an average game with your family and friends, then playing with these hands can ensure you a definite win. Once you get practice and come up with your own tactics and strategy, then you’ll own the game in no time.