Mastering Poker: Which Hands to Play and When to Fold

Poker has always been a game of skill that requires strategy, observation, and quick thinking to outplay your opponents at the table. But the question that often troubles even the most experienced players is “what hands to play?”. Choosing the right hands at the right time can be the difference between a huge win or a devastating loss. In this comprehensive guide, we will help you understand the key factors to consider when planning your gameplay and deciding which hands to play.

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned player, mastering the art of selecting which hands to play can significantly improve your chances of winning big in poker. From understanding the basic rules of the game to considering the psychology behind your opponent’s moves, there are several crucial elements to consider when deciding which hands to play. So, buckle up and get ready to learn everything you need to know. Whether you are planning to play online or at a physical table, we’ve got you covered with our in-depth guide. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of poker like never before!

The Importance of Starting Hands

When playing poker, the first decision a player makes is which starting hands to play. This decision can have a significant impact on the outcome of the game. The cards a player is dealt at the beginning of a hand can determine their chances of winning or losing. Therefore, it's essential to understand the importance of starting hands.

A strong starting hand, such as a pair of aces or kings, gives a player a higher chance of winning the hand. In contrast, a weak starting hand, such as 7-2 offsuit, gives a player a much lower chance of winning. Knowing which starting hands to play and which ones to fold is critical to winning at poker Mostbet.

Experienced poker players focus on playing only the strongest starting hands. By doing so, they increase their chances of winning and minimize their losses. However, it's important not to become too predictable in your play. Varying your starting hand range can keep your opponents guessing and help you win more pots.

It's crucial to note that starting hand requirements can vary depending on the game type, structure, and position at the table. For example, in a no-limit hold'em game, a player in early position may be more cautious in their starting hand selection. In contrast, a player in late position can play a wider range of hands.

Ultimately, the importance of starting hands cannot be overstated. It's one of the most critical aspects of successful poker play. Knowing which starting hands to play and which ones to fold can make the difference between winning and losing at the table.

The Top 10 Starting Hands

1. Pocket Aces

Pocket Aces, also known as "American Airlines," is the best starting hand in Texas Hold'em. It's a highly aggressive hand that players should raise with to build the pot and narrow the field of opponents.

2. Pocket Kings

Also called "King Kong," Pocket Kings is the second-best starting hand in Texas Hold'em. The player with this hand has a high likelihood of winning the pot and should raise before the flop.

3. Pocket Queens

Pocket Queens, also known as the "Ladies," is another strong starting hand in Hold'em. It's essential to raise before the flop to thin the herd of players and prevent others from catching.

4. Ace-King Suited

Ace-King Suited has the potential to become a straight, flush, or high pair. Players should be aggressive with this hand and raise before the flop to build up the pot and weed out weaker hands.

5. Pocket Jacks

Also known as "Fishhooks," Pocket Jacks is a strong starting hand that can lead to a high pair or three-of-a-kind. The player with this hand should raise before the flop to weed out weaker hands.

6. Ace-Queen Suited

Ace-Queen Suited is another strong hand that can become a straight, flush, or high pair. Players should be aggressive with this hand and raise before the flop to build up the pot and weed out weaker hands.

7. Pocket Tens

Pocket Tens are a strong starting hand that can potentially lead to a high pair or three-of-a-kind. Players should raise before the flop to weed out weaker hands and build up the pot.

8. Ace-King Offsuit

Ace-King offsuit is not as strong as Ace-King suited but still a formidable hand that can lead to a straight, flush, or high pair. Players should be aggressive with this hand and raise before the flop.

9. Ace-Jack Suited

Ace-Jack Suited is a strong hand that can become a straight, flush, or high pair. Players should be aggressive with this hand and raise before the flop to build up the pot and weed out weaker hands.

10. King-Queen Suited

King-Queen Suited is a decent starting hand that can lead to a straight, flush, or high pair. Players should raise before the flop and play aggressively.

Middle and Low Rank Hands


In poker, not all hands are created equal. Some are strong, and some are weak. Middle and low rank hands, in particular, can be challenging to play. These types of hands generally have some potential to improve, but can be easily dominated by stronger holdings.

Playing Middle Rank Hands

Middle rank hands, such as pocket pairs from 7s to Js, can be valuable if played correctly. The key is to try to flop a set, which is a very strong hand that can win big pots. However, if you don't hit a set, these hands can be tricky to play post-flop. It's important to proceed with caution and be wary of overvaluing your hand.

Playing Low Rank Hands

Low rank hands, like 4-5 suited or 9-8 offsuit, should generally be avoided. These hands have very little potential to make strong hands, and even if you do make a pair, it's likely to be a weak one. It's usually best to fold these hands pre-flop and wait for a better opportunity to play.


Middle and low rank hands can be challenging to play in poker. Middle rank hands can be valuable if played correctly, but cautious play is necessary. Low rank hands, on the other hand, should be avoided if possible. It's essential to remember that playing the right hands is just as important as playing them correctly.

Tight and Loose Play in Poker

Tight Play

Tight play in poker refers to a strategy where a player only plays premium hands and is very selective when it comes to selecting which hands to play. This strategy is often adopted by more experienced players and can be seen as a more conservative approach to the game. Tight players are less likely to lose a large amount of chips in one hand, but they may also miss out on potential opportunities when they fold weaker hands.

Loose Play

Loose play in poker refers to a strategy where a player plays more hands and takes more risks. This strategy can be seen as more aggressive and can often lead to larger, more volatile swings in a player's chip stack. However, loose play can also lead to more opportunities to accumulate chips and can put pressure on other players at the table.

It is important to note that both tight and loose play can be successful in poker, depending on the situation. It is up to the player to determine which strategy best suits their playing style and to adjust their approach as necessary. A good player will be able to switch between a tight and loose strategy as the game progresses and react to the actions of other players at the table.

Ultimately, the best strategy in poker is one that leads to the most profitable outcomes. It is not necessarily about always playing the best hands, but rather making the most out of the hands that are played. Understanding the differences between tight and loose play is important when developing a winning strategy in poker.

Position and Hands: The Key to Winning in Poker

Why Position Matters in Poker

Position is a crucial factor in deciding what hands to play in poker. The position of a player determines the order in which they act during a betting round. The later the position, the more information a player has about the other players' hands, which allows them to make more informed decisions. For example, a player in the dealer position has the advantage of acting last during a hand. This gives them the ability to make strategic bets or raises based on how the other players have acted.

Playing Hands in Early Position

When playing hands in early position, it is important to be cautious. Players in early position act before anyone else, which means they have less information about the strength of their opponents' hands. As a result, it is generally advisable to play only strong hands in early position. Examples of strong hands include pocket aces, kings, queens, and ace-king. These hands have a high probability of winning and can be played aggressively.

Playing Hands in Late Position

In late position, players have the ability to make more informed decisions since they have more information about their opponents. As a result, they can play a wider range of hands, including weaker ones. For example, if all players before a player in the dealer position have folded, they can consider playing hands like suited connectors or small pocket pairs. These hands have the potential to make strong hands like straights or three of a kind.

Adjusting to Different Positions

Good poker players adjust their strategy based on their position at the table. They understand that playing tight in early position and looser in later positions can give them an edge over their opponents. However, players should also be aware of the other factors that can affect their decisions, such as the size of their stack, their opponents' tendencies, and the stage of the tournament. By considering all factors, players can make informed decisions on what hands to play and when to play them.

Playing Pairs in Texas Hold'em


One of the most exciting moments in Texas Hold'em is when you are dealt a pocket pair. While some players might develop blind excitement and bet aggressively, good poker players know that each pocket pair requires a unique strategy. This comprehensive guide will help you make informed decisions on how to approach each pocket pair.

Small Pocket Pairs

Small pocket pairs, such as 2-2 or 3-3, have the potential of becoming a powerful set, but they require careful consideration. If your table is playing tight, it might be best to fold these pairs, as it's unlikely that they will win the pot. If the table is loose and passive, you can easily limp or make a small bet, hoping to hit a set on the flop. If you do hit a set, be cautious, as your opponents will be eagerly looking for ways to beat you.

Medium Pocket Pairs

Medium pocket pairs, such as 7-7 or 9-9, have a higher chance of winning the pot than small pocket pairs. If you're dealt a medium pocket pair, it's best to raise to eliminate players with worse hands from the pot. If you're called, you have a decent chance of hitting a set and dominating your opponents.

Big Pocket Pairs

Big pocket pairs, such as J-J or Q-Q, are the most powerful pairs in Texas Hold'em. If you're dealt a big pocket pair, your goal should be to maximize your winnings. If you're in early position, make a substantial raise to eliminate players with worse hands. If you're in late position, consider limping or making a small bet to try and lure your opponents into the pot.


Knowing how to play pairs in Texas Hold'em is crucial for becoming a successful poker player. Remember to consider the type of pocket pair you're dealt and the playing style of your opponents before making any decisions. By following the advice in this guide, you'll be able to make informed decisions on which pairs to play and how to play them.

Playing Suited Connectors and One-Gappers in Poker


Suited connectors and one-gappers are two types of starting hands that poker players love to play. However, these hands require a certain level of skill and experience to play correctly. In this article, we'll go over the basics of playing suited connectors and one-gappers, so you can use them to your advantage at the poker table.

Suited Connectors

Suited connectors are a type of starting hand that consists of two cards of the same suit, in consecutive order. For example, 8♠ 9♠ is a suited connector. These hands can be very profitable if played correctly, as they have the potential to make big hands like straight and flushes. However, they can also be very dangerous, as they can result in smaller pairs or no pairs at all.

Playing Suited Connectors:


One-gappers are starting hands that have two cards in sequential order, with a one-card gap in between them. For example, 8♥ 6♥ is a one-gapper. These hands are less common than suited connectors but can be just as profitable if played correctly.

Playing One-Gappers:


Suited connectors and one-gappers are both starting hands that have the potential to make big hands in poker. However, they should only be played in the right situations and with the right strategy. Remember to always consider position, be willing to fold if the flop doesn't help you, and don't chase your draws. By following these guidelines, you'll be able to use suited connectors and one-gappers to your advantage at the poker table.

Playing Big Suited Cards in Poker


One of the most exciting parts of playing poker is getting dealt big suited cards. These cards, such as Ace-King, Ace-Queen, and King-Queen, have the potential to make strong hands such as flushes and straight flushes. However, it's important to know how to play these hands correctly in order to maximize their potential.

Playing Pre-Flop

When you're dealt a big suited hand, it can be tempting to go all-in pre-flop. However, this is a risky move that should be reserved for certain situations. In general, it's best to play these hands cautiously pre-flop, especially if you're facing aggressive players. Consider making a standard raise or even just limping in, depending on the specific situation. This will allow you to see the flop without committing too many chips.

Playing Post-Flop

Once you've seen the flop, it's time to reassess your hand. If you hit a strong draw, such as a flush draw or straight draw, you can consider being more aggressive. However, if the board is dry and doesn't offer many possibilities, it may be best to continue playing cautiously. Remember, just because you have a big suited hand doesn't mean you have to commit all your chips to the pot.

Position and Opponents

As with any hand in poker, your position and your opponents should always be considered when playing big suited cards. If you're in early position, it may be better to play these hands more cautiously, as you don't have much information about your opponents' hands. However, if you're in late position and your opponents have already acted, you may have more information and can play your hand more aggressively.

Playing Small Suited Cards in Poker

To Play or Not to Play

Small suited cards, such as 67 suited or A2 suited, can be tricky hands to play in poker. They can be tempting to play due to their potential for making strong flushes or straights, but they can also lead to trouble if played incorrectly. When considering whether to play a small suited card, it is important to take into account the position, the action of the other players, and the size of the pot.

The Importance of Position Small suited cards should generally only be played in late position, such as on the button or in the cutoff. This gives the player more information about the other players’ hands and allows them to potentially steal the pot if no one else has shown strength. In early position, it is usually better to fold these hands as the player risk being raised and having to make a tough decision.

Taking Advantage of the Right Situation If there has already been a raise and a few players have called, a small suited card might not be worth playing as the odds of making a strong hand decrease with more players in the pot. However, if the action has folded around to the player on the button and there are only a few players left to act, a small suited card could be played as a bluff.

In conclusion, playing small suited cards can be a profitable strategy in poker, but it requires careful consideration of the situation. It is important to take into account position, the action of the other players, and the potential for making a strong hand. With practice and experience, a skilled poker player can learn to make the most of these tricky hands and turn them into a winning strategy.

Playing Offsuit Hands in Poker

Understanding the Importance of Position

When it comes to playing offsuit hands in poker, one of the most important factors to consider is your position. Generally speaking, if you are in an earlier position, you should be more conservative with your offsuit hands, and look to play more aggressively when you are in later position.

Playing Offsuit Pocket Pairs

If you are dealt an offsuit pocket pair, it can be a tricky situation to navigate. While these hands can be strong, they can also be easily beaten by stronger pairs or sets. In order to maximize your chances of winning, you should look to play these hands aggressively when you are in later position, and be more cautious when you are in earlier position.

Beware of Overplaying Weak Offsuit Hands

One common mistake that many players make when it comes to playing offsuit hands is that they overplay their weaker hands. While it can be tempting to try and bluff your way through a hand, it is important to be mindful of the strength of your hand, and to fold if necessary.

Adjusting Your Strategy Based on Table Dynamics

Another important factor to consider when playing offsuit hands is the overall dynamics of the table. If you are playing against tight players, you may need to be more aggressive in order to win pots, whereas if you are playing against looser players, you may be able to play more conservatively.

Overall, playing offsuit hands in poker requires a nuanced understanding of position, hand strength, and table dynamics. By carefully considering these factors, you can maximize your chances of success at the tables.

The Power of Ace-King


Ace-King, also known as Big Slick, is one of the most powerful starting hands in Texas Hold’em poker. It consists of an ace and a king of the same suit, which gives players great potential to make strong hands such as top pair with the best kicker, flushes, and even straight flushes. In this guide, we will explore how to play Ace-King effectively and maximize your chances of winning.


When you’re dealt Ace-King, you will need to decide how to play it. If you’re in an early position, it’s generally recommended to raise to build the pot and protect your hand. However, if you’re in a late position, you can consider a more cautious approach and call to see how the other players act. Remember, Ace-King is a strong hand, but it is not invincible, and you should always be aware of your opponents’ actions and tendencies.


After the flop, you will have a better idea of what kind of hand you have. If you have missed the flop, it’s best to play passively and check to see what your opponents do. If you have hit the flop and have top pair with the best kicker, it’s a good idea to continue betting. Remember, though, that other players may still have strong hands, and you should always consider the community cards when making your decisions.


Ace-King is a powerful starting hand that can win you big pots if played correctly. Keep in mind to be cautious and aware of your opponents when playing it. With practice and experience, you will learn to maximize its potential and become a successful poker player.

The Perils of Playing Low Aces in Poker


One of the trickiest hands to play in poker is a low ace. While it can seem like a decent starting hand, it’s important to understand the potential drawbacks and pitfalls that can come with playing this hand. In many cases, you may be better off folding and waiting for a stronger starting hand.

The Risks of Playing Low Aces

One of the biggest risks of playing a low ace is that you may end up dominated by another player with a higher ace. In other words, if you hold an ace-2, and another player has an ace-10 or ace-king, you can easily end up losing a significant amount of chips. Similarly, if there are multiple players with higher aces, you may find yourself outkicked and unable to win the pot.

Another drawback of low aces is that they can be difficult to play post-flop. If you flop an ace, you may feel good about your hand, but if there’s a lot of betting and raising, you might be unsure whether you have the best hand or not. This can lead to costly mistakes and unnecessary losses.

When to Play Low Aces

While low aces are generally a risky hand to play, there are some situations where it might be worth taking a chance. For example, if you’re playing in a loose and passive game where many players are calling raises and seeing the flop, you may be able to hit a lucky flop and win a big pot.

Similarly, if you’re in a position where you can limp in or call a small raise without risking too many chips, it may be worth seeing a flop with a low ace. This can help you keep your losses to a minimum while still giving you a chance to hit a strong hand.


In conclusion, low aces can be a tricky hand to play in poker. While they can seem like a decent starting hand, they come with significant risks and potential drawbacks. As a player, it’s important to understand these risks and make careful, calculated decisions when playing low aces. By doing so, you can minimize your losses and increase your chances of winning in the long run.

Playing Aggressively with Top Hands in Poker

Why Playing Aggressively with Top Hands is Important

Playing aggressively with top hands in poker can significantly increase your chances of winning big pots. Top hands, such as pocket aces or kings, offer a strong starting hand and can give you an edge over your opponents. By playing these hands aggressively, you can put pressure on your opponents and force them to make costly mistakes.

Examples of Aggressive Play with Top Hands One way to play aggressively with top hands is to raise preflop. By raising, you can build a bigger pot and narrow down the field, making it more likely that you’ll be up against weaker hands. Another aggressive move is to bet strongly on the flop if you’ve hit a strong hand, such as a set or a straight. This can put your opponents on the defensive and force them to fold weaker hands.

It’s important to note, however, that playing aggressively should be done with caution and not with every hand. You don’t want to become too predictable and give your opponents an advantage.

  1. Tips for Playing Aggressively with Top Hands
    • Don't overplay your hands. If the board is showing dangerous cards, such as flush draws or straight draws, be cautious with your top pair.
    • Be aware of your position at the table. Playing aggressively with top hands in early position can be risky, as you don't know what your opponents will do.
    • Make sure your bets and raises are consistent with the strength of your hand. Don't give away too much information about your hand through your betting patterns.

By playing aggressively with top hands, you can take control of the pot and force your opponents to make tough decisions. However, it’s important to exercise caution and only play aggressively when the conditions are right.

Playing Conservatively with Marginal Hands

Playing conservatively with marginal hands is a crucial part of a successful poker strategy. With marginal hands, it is important not to take unnecessary risks and to only play when the odds are in your favor. A marginal hand is one that is not strong enough to win at the showdown but has the potential to improve if the right cards come out on the flop, turn, or river.

When you have a marginal hand, it is important to consider your position at the table, the number of players in the hand, and what kind of players they are. If there are many players in the hand, the likelihood of someone having a stronger hand is higher, and it may be best to fold to avoid losing chips unnecessarily.

It is also important to avoid getting too attached to marginal hands and to be prepared to fold if the situation warrants it. In some cases, it may be beneficial to bluff with a marginal hand to try to win the pot, but this should only be done sparingly and in situations where you have a good read on your opponents and believe that they are likely to fold.