Top Texas Holdem Starting Hands

Starting Hands - A More Concise List

Determining whether or not to play your hole cards is the most important decision you will make in each hand. Strong starting hands tend to stay strong and get stronger. Weak starting hands tend to stay weak and lose you money. I have provided a list of playable starting hands. Generally speaking, the later you are in position, the weaker the hand you can play, while you need premium hands to play in early position. Also, the more aggressive the betting is, the stronger hand you will need to play. Finally, hand strength is always relative to your opponents. If you are at a table full of conservative players, you may want a very strong hand to tangle in a big pot. On the other hand, I have seen tables at well known fishy sites like, where hands in the "playable" list are actually much better than what most of the other players are starting with! Keep these factors in mind when choosing your starting hand and in creating your own starting hand list.

"s" = suited
"o" = unsuited

Premium Starting Hands


Strong Starting Hands

AQs, AJs, A10s



Pair of 10's

KJs, QJs, J10s

AQo, AJo

Pair of 9's


K10s, Q10s

Playable Starting Hands

Pair of 8's

Jack-9s, 10-9s

Pair of 7's

9-8s, 8-7s

Ace and any other suited card

KJo, QJo, J10o

Barely Playable Starting Hands

Small pairs, 66 and under

Small suited connectors, 45s and up

A10o, K10o, Q10o

K9s, Q9s