The starting hands

General Poker Strategy for beginners
It is possible to rank starting hands in Texas Holdem Poker on their merits. Here we take the classification into 8 groups by David Sklansky, group 1 being the highest. However, this classification is not rigid, and it will take into account the circumstances in which you play the hand. Indeed, if you are placed in good position or if you play against a pigeon, a hand “average” can be regarded as “strong.”

1. The ranking of hands
Sklansky¬† classifies the starting hands of Texas Hold’em into eight groups. By memorizing this table, you will be able to compare the strength between different starting hands.
Group 1: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AKs (s = suited = of the same color)
Group 2: TT, AQS, AJS, KQs, AK
Group 3: 99, JTS, QJS, KJS, ATs, AQ
Group 4: T9S, KQ, 88, Qts, 98s, J9s, AJ, KTS
Group 5: 77, 87S, Q9s, T8S, KJ, QJ, JT, 76S, 97s, Axs (x = map of small value), 65s
Group 6: 66, AT, 55, 86s, KT, QT, 54s, K9s, J8s, 75s
Group 7: 44, J9, 64s, T9, 53s, 33, 98, 43s, 22, KXS, T7S, Q8s
Group 8: 87, A9, Q9, 76, 42s, 32s, 96s, 85s, J8, J7S, 65, 54, 74s, K9, T8
Note that the strength of one hand depends on three main properties:

The height of the cards
Imagine that you have in hand two cards higher than your opponent. You have King and 8, and 7 and 4. If the flop gives you each a pair (flop type K – 7 – 2 for example), you have the game stronger than the opponent. If the flop does not offer both (As – 6 – 2 for example), you also have the upper hand.

The same color
You can also see in this classification, only two hands like cards (Aces & T for example), the hand is stronger if the color of the two maps is identical. This difference may be relatively old (only one difference between AKs and AK) or look like a gap (three groups of difference between ATs and AT). Because a hand colored has an opportunity to complete an interesting draw.

The proximity cards
If two cards have a rank close then their value increases. Note that the connectors (two cards that follow as 8 and 9 for example) are in the same category as KXS. Connectors offer the greatest opportunity to achieve a result. Breaches (two cards that can be connected with a third, as J and 9 for example) are not well to neglect offering fewer opportunities.

2. The playable starting hands in early position
In poker, the player who spoke last has a considerable advantage as it takes its decision after seeing the other players take their own.
Here is an overview of playable hands when you are badly placed, i.e. in the first to speak:

  • In a game where players are neither too tight nor too aggressive, Sklansky advised to play the first 4 main groups.
  • If opponents play many hands without being too aggressive, you can add the starting hands of Group 5.
  • Against tight players, you only focus on the hands of the first three groups.

3.  The playable starting hands in middle position
The midpoint gathers places four, five and six tables together in nine or ten players. In this position, your downside is reduced and you can expand your game:

  • If the pot is not restarted, you can enter the game with any of the first 5 main groups.
  • If your opponents play many hands, you can add the starting hands of the group 6

4. The playable starting hands in late position i.e. in the last to speak
Mike Caro, poker theorist has noted that at a party, the money flowing in the clockwise shows a point of arrival for the donor. When you are placed in the button (last floor) or just before, or even two front seats, you have an advantage over your opponents. You see them act before you make your own decision. You can find their weakness and trap more easily. So you can play more starting hands.
In a classical, you can play hands until group 7 or 8 if your opponents are playing tight and you can bluff easily.

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