Winning and losing at the poker table is often determined by the hands you choose to play. In poker, you are never forced to enter a pot that you don’t want to enter. No one is holding a gun to your head if you don’t play that 7-2. I teach poker for beginners and advanced players alike. And the one thing both types of players often have in common is they don’t know what hands to play.
Asking me what the best starting poker hands are is misleading. In Texas Holdem, you should typically play a low percentage of hands that you are dealt. The reason for that is you are less likely to flop a big hand than you are in a game such as Omaha Holdem. However, you never want to play too tight. If you play only premium hands such as Aces or Kings, you will never make any money because everyone will run for the hills the instant that you throw chips into the pot.
Poker for Beginners – Play Within Your Comfort Level
I have met many inexperienced poker players that seem to think poker is a game of bluffing. They sit down at the table and attempt to win every hand they are dealt. After all, the true skill in poker is being able to bluff, right? Well, not exactly. Yes, you do need to bluff on occasion in order to maximize your profits. But bluffing is best kept for when you become more experienced. Your first few times of playing poker for money, I advise you to stick to playing tight. Don’t call raises with hands like J-10, K-10, 9-10, pocket 7’s or lower, and weak aces.
Why should a beginner play so tight?
A beginner needs to learn the fundamentals of the game before expanding their hand selection. It’s a lot more difficult to win a hand without actually hitting something than you think. Bluffing is a skill that requires an advanced ability to read your opponents. If you play stronger starting hands, you will be in a stronger position on the flop. That means having less difficult decisions to make on the flop. For example, let’s say you called a pre-flop raise with your A9 and an ace comes on the flop. The pre-flop raiser is betting big on the flop. The more experienced you get, the easier it will be for you to lay this hand down because you are likely up against a bigger ace. An inexperienced player is more likely to call the bet and give away more money.
What are the best starting hands for a Newbie?
Always play aces, kings, queens, and jacks. Unless there are multiple raises, you should also play A-K and A-Q. Pocket 8’s, 9’s, 10’s, and K-Q should be played ONLY if you are in a late position and the pot has been raised only once OR you are in middle position and then you should raise with those hands (assuming no one else has raised). Do NOT limp in early position with any hand. Either raise or fold. You can limp in a late position with a wide range of hands, but be prepared to fold if there is a raise behind you most of the time. I hope you enjoyed this Poker for Beginners article and learned something valuable. Good luck at the tables!