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The two cards that are dealt to you each and every hand are yours, they are only yours. These two cards commonly referred to as hole cards and how you play them are perhaps the most important decisions that you must make at the beginning of each hand. The hole cards that you choose to play will decide on whether you are a tight or loose player, they decide what table perception you portray and they decide largely on what betting strategy you will implement after the flop.
Choosing the right starting hand at the right moment can either make post flop play easier with less complicated decisions or extremely difficult with tough decisions to decide on whether to check, raise or fold. Yes it is correct that any two cards can win in poker, but it is also more profitable to reduce your starting hand range to include the hands that win more often. Basically pocket aces will beat 7-2 approximately 83% of the time.
So what are the most profitable starting hands in Texas Holdem? Well the top ten possible starting hands are:
1 - A A
2 - K K
3 - Q Q
4 - A K (suited)
5 - A Q (suited)
6 - J J
7 - K Q (suited0
8 - A J (suited)
9 - A K (off suit)
10 - 10 10
So this is a simple view of the only starting hands that you should be looking at playing early in you poker career, as your experience increases you will develop an understanding of different situations and your starting hand range will develop. Initially playing just these three hands with train you to be patient (pocket Aces only gets dealt approximately once every 220 hands) and also watch what others players starting hand range includes and how they play their hands.
Once comfortable with playing these hands and you are looking at developing your range, it now becomes important as your table position. There is a lot of information to be read on position but for know it basically means that the earlier in a hand you are forced to play the better your starting hand needs to be. So for example if you are next to the Big Blind (Under the Gun or UTG) your opening can be A K but not Q J, where as if you are sitting with the dealer button in front of you then Q J may be a suitable starting hand. The reasoning behind this is that by being in an early position you have no information or idea abut what other players yet to act have as their hole cards, you don't want to play with Q J when the player three seat around has K K and raises your bet, now you have a tough decision and probably have to fold, therefore losing valuable chips. Checkout this starting hand guide to give you a clearer understanding.
You can clearly see that the earlier you are in a hand the better the starting hand needs to be and also that some starting hands are just never profitable to play.
You are siting at a poker table with 7 other players, you are dealt K 10 offsuit, you bet and get a caller.
The flop K 9 6 comes on the board, now your excited, you have top pair with a pair of kings. You bet and the other player raises you, you have to call right? you have top pair.
The turn is a 2, you bet again and the other player calls. Your feeling good about this.
The river brings an 8 and you bet once again, the other player calls and you show you K 10 and smile proudly, the other player smiles back and shows K Q, you lose because he has a better kicker, his Q beats your 10.
Its a common error for new players, you get excited by hands that could and are easily dominated. tighten your starting hand range up and follow the chart about. Not until you are more experienced and can mix up your post flop play should you move outside the above starting hand chart.