Texas Holdem Starting Hands
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One of the most important skills you need to learn in any poker game is starting hand selection - which hands to play and which to fold. Focusing on Texas Holdem, statistically there are many more starting hands that will not normally be worth playing compared to those that are.
The best hands (and those that will make you a profit in the long term if played correctly) are those that have a positive 'Expected Value'. This is a term that's given to the number of big bets a player would expect to win playing specific starting hands over a long period of time. Normally you would be best to play only hands that have a positive expected value, though note that when there are a lesser number of players involved then hands with a negative value can become potential winners - with fewer opponents in a hand the chances of an opponent having a stronger hand become less. Of course, pocket aces are a great example of these types of hands.
The easiest way to understand which starting hands to play is to read up on the 10 best and 10 worst Texas Holdem starting hands.
Once you understand the basic concepts of which starting hands to play, you can then begin to consider how position affects your decision on whether to play a starting hand.
When you move up to advanced poker strategy, you'll see that there are times when folding extremely strong hands (even a pair of aces) is the right strategy to follow.
You can read more on starting hands and how to play them in our guide to playing pairs.
Starting Hands in Texas Holdem - Additional Resources.
There is a great descriptive article on the Wikipedia starting hands page which covers our subject in depth.