An ace-high straight flush, commonly known as a royal flush, is the best possible hand in many variants of poker. In poker, players form sets of five playing cards, called hands, according to the rules of the game. Each hand has a rank, which is compared against the ranks of other hands participating in the showdown to decide who wins the pot. Poker Starting Hands - Comprehensive guide to which poker hands you should play, including a 2021 Texas Hold'em poker starting hands chart.
The Top Texas Holdem Poker Starting Hands
Every Poker player knows that you don’t play every hand you’re dealt. But, how do you know which hands to play and which to fold?
Best Starting Hands in Texas Holdem Poker to Play
How do you know which starting hands to play?
This is a question that every poker player, amateur or professional, should always be prepared for at the start of every hand, fundamental to poker strategy. You do not want to play every hand, you must know when to fold. If you know which starting hands to play, you can conduct the game in your favour.
Learn Texas Holdem Poker
Here are the Top 10 Best Starting Hands in Texas Hold’em Poker-
- AA – Pocket Aces or Bullets is the strongest starting hand in poker. Play Strongly, But bear in mind – even though it’s is the best starting hand, you will be left with only one pair if the board doesn’t improve.
- KK – Pocket Kings or Cowboys – The second-best starting hand after Aces. But if an Ace turns up post-flop, you will lose to anyone holding a single Ace in their starting hand.
- QQ – Pocket Queens or Ladies – the third best starting hand with a winning probability of 80% pre-fop.
- JJ – Pocket Jacks or Fishhooks – Pre-flop, it has a 78% chance of winning and is still a still a very strong hand. Be mindful of opponents.
- AKs – Big Slick – Ace King suited is the top unpaired starting hand to have in a game of poker. Also called Anna Kournikova or Kalashnikov (AK rifle) by recreational players
- Ts – TNT or Tension. The nickname for Pocket Tens is because having a pair of tens pre-flop is tense because of the high chance of overcards.
- AQs – Big Chick – Ace Queen suited is another hand with the potential to win the pot.
- AKo – Big Slick – Ace King off-suits also rank high in the chart and is capable of winning at least 40% of the time against any other hand (except aces or kings).
- AJs – Armani Jeans – Ace and Jack suited is better than most other hands. However, if an opponent raises from early position, proceed with caution.
- KQs – Marriage – King and Queen suited is a strong hand that can end up a making Royal Flush.
Other Possible Hands–
- Suited Connectors (98s, 76s, T9s)
- Offsuit Connectors (T9o, 98o, 54o, JTo)
- Suited Gappers (97s, T8s, KJs)
*s refers to suited cards (of the same suit)
*o refers to off-suited cards (of different suits)
There are a possible 169 non-equivalent starting hands (ignoring specific suits) in a standard 52-card deck in Texas Hold’em Poker. So, here’s a chart with detailing the win percentage of Texas Holdem starting hands-
Top Texas Holdem Starting Hands You Should Pray For
- Every player is dealt two cards face down
- Five community cards are placed on the table (whose value is shown as the round progresses).
- All players try to make the best five-card combination from among the board and personal cards and bet on the same.
- Best hand at the end of the round is declared the winner(s) and wins the pot.
It’s only by knowing how to master the basics do you become a poker player who is taken very seriously by his/her opponents. Learn more about the basics of poker-
Poker Diaries: Online Poker vs Offline Poker – The Similarities, The Differences
Poker Diaries: When To Bet & When To Fold With The PreFlop Range Chart
Poker Diaries: Different Types of Poker Playing Styles & Personality
Poker Diaries: Importance of Playing in Position
Poker Diaries: What Are Outs & How To Calculate Them?
Poker Diaries: What are Pot Odds and Equity?
Table Of Contents
Do you want to know what beats what in poker? Use the official poker hands rankings chart and seem them from best to worst!
Whether you play live at your local casino or card room, you have your home game going, or you prefer the online action at websites like PokerStars, 888Poker, or partypoker, you need to learn the order of poker hands from best to worse.
Use the list of poker hands below to know what beats what in poker.
Commit this poker hands ranking list to memory today and print it if you need it (there's a button for it at the bottom). Knowing the correct poker hands rank is key to start making winning poker hands.
Poker Hands From Best To Worst
Poker Hands From Best To Worst
|1. Royal Flush||10JQKA||The best possible hand in Texas hold'em is the combination of ten, jack, queen, king, ace, all of the same suit|
|2. Straight Flush||56789||Five cards of the same suit in sequential order|
|3. Four of a kind||3333K||Any four numerically matching cards|
|4. Full house||JJJKK||Combination of three of a kind and a pair in the same hand|
|5. Flush||2459K||Five cards of the same suit, in any order|
|6. Straight||A2345||Five cards of any suit, in sequential order|
|7. Three of a kind||77745||Any three numerically matching cards|
|8. Two pair||99KK4||Two different pairs in the same hand|
|9. One pair||10103QK||Any two numerically matching cards|
|10. High card||K248Q||The highest ranked card in your hand with an ace being the highest and two being the lowest|
Not Sure What Beats What in Poker?
Many consider poker less of a gambling game than other casino games. For that to be true, players need to improve their understanding of game play and the strategy required to be a winning player.
The first step toward learning how to play poker is to learn the poker hand rankings.
Most poker players have these rankings memorized, which allows them to think about other things at the table when deciding the best way to play their hands.
The good news is these hand rankings tend to be the same among a wide variety of poker variants, whether it is Texas Hold'em, Omaha, seven-card stud, or other games.
All of those games use the same traditional poker hand rankings that were first developed way back in the 19th century when five-card draw first started to be played.
On this page, you find a complete list of poker hand rankings going from the highest possible hand (the Royal Flush), down to the lowest hand in which there is no pair among the five cards.
Hand rankings in poker correspond to the likelihood of making such hands.
A royal flush, consisting of the cards ranked ace through ten all being the same suit, is extremely rare — in fact, some players go their entire lives without making a royal flush.
A regular straight flush with any five consecutive cards of the same suit is a little less rare, four of a kind occurs slightly more frequently, and so on.
Notice that a full house is ranked higher than a flush.
That's because a full house comes just a little less frequently than a flush, thereby making it the higher-ranked hand of the two.
Additional readings for beginners:
- Poker Tips: A collection of tips 'to bring your game from 'meh' to amazing' created to help beginners become better players.
- Texas Hold'em Strategy: a complete manual to read as soon as you start to remember what beats what in poker.
- Poker starting hands chart: the only article you need to read to learn how to use your cards to the fullest.
Understanding Winning Poker Hands
Players new to the game of Texas hold'em often struggle, at least at first, with what the best poker hands are.
Once they have read this easy-to-digest guide that will no longer be the case.
The aim of Texas hold'em is to make the best five-card poker hand at showdown.
You can win without having to show your cards if you force someone to fold before the river. Nonetheless, for the purpose of this article, we'll pretend that we've gone to showdown and need to know what beats what in poker.
Winning Poker Hands: What Are The Best Hands In Poker?
First up is the weakest possible holding you can make in poker, a hand that can still win you the pot, although the likelihood of that happening decreases in a pot involving multiple players.
We are of course talking about high card.
As the name suggests, you don't even hold a pair here and instead are using the highest card among the five you are playing.
You have and the board has come .
Your best five-card hand would be where you would hold queen-high.
Next up is one pair, one of the more common Texas hold'em hands and one that will win you plenty of pots.
You have and the board comes .
Your five-card hand is — you have a pair of aces. Nice poker hand!
One place higher up on the poker hands chart is two pair.
You have and the five community cards are .
Your best five-card hand at showdown is or two pair, tens and nines.
One note of warning on this specific poker hand: if you are verbally declaring your hand, try to announce the higher pair first as to help avoid confusion.
Good Poker Hands
Now we're getting into the realm of the best poker hands because once you make three-of-a-kind (sometimes called a set or trips), you are much more likely to win the pot than with any of the previously mentioned hands.
Your five-card poker hand is — you have three-of-a-kind kings, often a very powerful hand in hold'em.
To beat three-of-a-kind you're going to need at least a straight.
A straight is five consecutive cards where at least one of them is a different suit from the others.
Should your hand read you would hold a six-high straight.
If someone held a seven-high straight, then that player would win the hand.
There are two straights that have nicknames that are worth remembering.
A wheel is a straight that runs from ace-to-five, and a Broadway straight — the strongest straight — runs from ten-to-ace.
A flush is one of the most powerful Texas hold'em hands because it is only beaten by a handful of others.
Any hand that that has five cards of the same suit is a flush.
Aces are always high when it comes to flushes, which means a hand such as beats .
There are few hands that can beat a flush — one that does is a full house. Also called a 'boat,' a full house is when your five-card hand is made up of three of a kind plus a pair.
With you have kings full of deuces, while is fives full of queens.
When it comes to full houses, the higher three of a kind determines which hand wins, so in this case 'kings full' would beat 'fives full.'
The Stronger Hands in Poker
The next three holdings are so rare that if you hold them, you can almost guarantee that they are winning poker hands.
Four of a kind is the minimum holding you'll need to beat someone with a full house.
Again, as the name suggests, four of a kind means having four cards of the same rank.
is four-of-a-kind tens and an extremely powerful holding.
Your only way to beat four of a kind, or 'quads' as they are often called, is to hold either a straight flush or a Royal Flush.
The former is five consecutive cards all of the same suit, so would be an eight-high straight flush and practically unbeatable.
If you manage to make (or the same holding in any of the other three suits), you have a Royal Flush and the only way to lose the hand would be to fold by accident!
Poker Hands Probability
If you are into numbers (most poker players are), you might be wondering about the probability of poker hands.
We said that she platers might go entire lives without ever getting the highest hand in poker but, looking at the numbers, what are the odds of a Royal Flush?
In this section of our complete analysis of the poker hand ranking and what beats what in poker, you get a clear overview of the probability of poker hands.
How to calculate the probability of poker hands?
When you know that there are 52 cards in play and 2,598,960 possible combinations, the calculation is easy.
You just need to divide the number of possibilities to build a specific poker hand by the number of total poker hands.
Let's run a few examples:
What are the odds of a Royal Flush? 0.000,001,539
What are the odds of a Straight Flush? 0.000,015,39
Use the table below to calculate the probabilities of all poker hands.
|Poker Hand||No. Ways||Probability|
Absolute Value vs. Relative Value of Poker Hands
It should be noted also that while poker hand rankings never change, sometimes circumstances can make a good hand less valuable and a poor hand more valuable.
In other words, when it comes to poker hands there's a difference between absolute value (reflected in the list of poker hands above) and relative value.
For instance, in a game of Texas hold'em, if you have two pair that might seem like a good hand.
But if your opponent keeps betting into you and it's possible he could have a straight or flush, your two pair is no longer looking so good.
Meanwhile, if you have just one pair but your opponent keeps checking to give you a free play at the pot, you might well have the strongest hand and should bet your hand.
The 'absolute' value of your hand may not be great, but in that case the 'relative' value very well could be.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that in some games like razz, deuce-to-seven triple draw, Badugi, and others you might encounter when playing online poker, the hand rankings listed below do not apply.
These hand rankings are for regular or 'high-card' games, not 'lowball' games with alternate hand rankings.
Poker Hand Rankings F.A.Q.
What is the order of poker hands?
As shown in the poker hand rankings chart, the order of poker rankings (from the highest to the lowest) is: Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, Two Pair, One Pair, High Card.
What is the best hand in poker?
The Royal Flush is the best hand in poker. To have a Royal Flush, you need an Ace, a King, a Queen, a Jack, and a 10. All the cards that compose the hand need to be of the same suit.
What beats what in poker?
As you can see in our poker hand rankings chart, the hands in poker follow a clear hierarchy.
In a game of poker, the hand rankings work as follows:
- a pair beats a high card;
- a two pair beats a one pair;
- a three-of-a-kind beats a two pair;
- a straight beats a three-of-a-kind;
- a flush beats a straight;
- a full house beats a flush;
- a four-of-a-kind beats a full house;
- a straight flush beats a four-of-a-kind;
- a Royal Flush beats a straight flush.
The Royal Flush is the best hand in poker, so no one other hands beat this one.
What is a straight in poker?
You have a straight when all the five cards that compose your poker hand are consecutive ones. E.g. 5-6-7-8-9.
If the cards are of the same suit, you have a straight flush, which is a considerably stronger hand compare d to the simple straight.
What beats a straight in poker?
Although many see the straight as a stronger hand, there are many other poker hands that beat it.
The list of hands that beat a straight includes:
- a flush;
- a full house;
- a four-of-a-kind;
- a straight flush;
- a Royal Flush.
What beats a flush in poker?
The list of hands that beat a flush includes:
- a full house;
- a four-of-a-kind;
- a straight flush;
- a Royal Flush.
What beats a full house in poker?
The list of hands that beat a full house includes:
- a four-of-a-kind;
- a straight flush;
- a Royal Flush.
What is the highest suit in poker?
All the suits in poker have the same value. In some games, different suits can be assigned different values.
When that happens, the value is as follow (from the lowest to the highest): clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades. In that case, spades is the highest suit.
How many poker hands are there?
The total number of poker hands in a game of poker is 2,598,960. Since a game of poker uses a 52-card deck of French cards, there are 2,598,960 different possible combinations (aka. poker hands).
What hands to play in poker?
The type of hands to play in a poker game depends on the game you play and other factors like your position in the hand, your stack, and the action at the table.
In a famous poker strategy article, professional player Jonathan Little shared which hands to play in poker and how to play marginal hands.
Can you make three pairs?
Although it is possible to hold a pair in your hand and then have another two pair appear among the five community cards, you can only use a total of five cards to make your poker hand, so you don't win anything for three pairs.
Which is better, a set or trips?
They are both essentially the same hand because they are both three of a kind.
The terminology 'set' is used when you have a pair as your hole cards and then catch another one of those cards on the board.
'Trips' is when there is a pair on the board and you have another of those cards as one of your hole cards.
Sets are easier to disguise than trips so many consider them to be a better hand, although they both rank the same.
What is a chopped or split pot?
If you and an opponent have the same five-card poker hand, then the pot is divided equally between you.
Best Hands In Texas Hold'em
Say you have and your opponent has , and the board comes .
You both would be playing the same five-card hands in terms of their value (A-J-T-8-3), and so would split the pot.
If there is four of a kind on the board, who wins?Where to bet on xfl championship.
Because the aim is to make a five-card poker hand, whoever has the highest fifth card in this case wins.
If the board reads and you have in your hand and your opponent has , then you win because you hand is 7-7-7-7-A and your opponent's is 7-7-7-7-K.
You would also win even if your opponent holding was in this example.
Are the suits ranked in Texas hold'em?
No, they are not. Some poker variants have different ranks for suits, but hold'em is not one of them.
Why did my 4-4-4-T-T lose to my opponent's 7-7-7-8-8?
As mentioned earlier, it is the three-of-a-kind element of a full house that dictates the winner.
If you're new to the game and want a reference of all of Texas hold'em hands, you can keep this page open or you could always download and print our poker hands ranking chart and keep it next to you while you're playing poker.
Useful Poker Tools
Hands To Play In Poker
- Poker Odds Calculator: Add your cards to the calculator to discover your chances to win the hand.
- How to use PokerStars Tools to Your Advantage: As a beginner, this article can save your life! Let us show you how you can use all the tools available on the PokerStars client to become an outstanding poker player!
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