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So what is a good starting hand? Ace/Ace - Ace/King
Suited - King/King? There are numerous books and resources on the
internet that will give you an ANTICIPATED good starting hand along with
the win percentages for each, but here is what they don't tell you: The
strength of a good starting hand depends greatly on the number of
players left in the game AND the number of callers. If there are 10
people seated at the table, then a good starting hand will be quite
different from a good starting hand with only 3 players sitting at the
David "Einstein" Sklansky was the first author to have both ranked every 2-card starting hand and group them along with recommendations on how to play them. The top 16 ranked starting hole cards are fundamental to solid play. They constitute about 7% of all hands you will be dealt.
Table 2 - Sklansky's Group 2 hands
The overall power of Ace/King is
actually slightly greater than that of
Out of the 10 hands in these two groups
your decision to raise should
As a general rule, you should stick to the conventional best starting hand percentages when there are 8 to 10 players with 2 to 3 callers. When the field is narrowed down to 5 players or less, you should play your starting hands more aggressively.
For example, the Ace/King suited is often considered to be the second best starting hand with a full table. If there are less than 5 players left, any Ace hole card with a decent kicker can give you the same winning percentages as the Ace/King suited would have. The concept is very simple, you are playing the mathematical odds implied via the 52 cards in the deck along with the probability that fewer players will equal less chances that someone will draw an Ace.
In short, the fewer number of players holding cards at
a table, the greater your chances of winning are. If you are in a late
position at a full table and have seen one player wager a large bet, and
there are one or two callers, most often you can bet at the very least
ONE of them is holding a strong starting hand with high win percentages
(such as an Ace with a high kicker, suited sequence cards, or heavy
pocket pairs, etc).
If, at any given point of the game, you have five or
more players seeing the flop, then a good starting hand can often times
change to small sequence cards such as a five/six or a small suited
pairs. Reason? ...When over half of the players at a table call a hand,
the high cards such as Aces, Kings, and Queens are usually tied up as
hole cards thus not
Once you have mastered the basic concept of good starting hands for very scenario, you will become a better Texas Holdem player regardless of when, where, or who you play. Ready for some more?
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