Have you noticed that professional players pay particular attention to the choice of their starting hands in poker? In doing so, the pros who play so few hands during a game greatly increase their chances of winning.

They rely on statistical principles and probabilities. Their decisions are guided by mathematical and not hazardous choices. This is why poker is classified as a game of “semi-chance” and not pure chance.

How else could the same player win the World Championships several times? But that’s what Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar and Johnny Chan…

Poker starting hands: preamble

Choose your starting hands carefully to increase your chances of victory and winnings at the end of the game. We advise you to throw 80% of your starting hands. Some professional players go even further and recommend playing only 5% of the hands that are served to you!

In the preamble, let’s make a quick reminder on two technical terms: matching cards and mismatched cards.

In Texas hold’em, we say 7 ♥ D ♥ they are matched because they are both the same color (Heart).

However, 7 ♥ D ♦ are mismatched because they are of different colors (Heart and Diamond, remember that poker “color” means “symbol”).

In addition, we use the English initial of the cards to designate them. Here is their translation:

A = Ace
K = King
Q = Queen
J = Jack
T = Ten

1. The premium starting hands

The big difficulty with these hands is to keep calm when you receive them. Indeed, we quickly feel the excitement rise when we are served a pair of aces.

With a strong hand at the start (pre-flop), you will have a good chance of winning the pot. In these cases, it is therefore advisable to follow (to attract pigeons) or raise to scare the lucky ones who could have a stronger hand thereafter.

2. Potential starting hands

Other starting hands are also solid and you can follow with them … but avoid any raise before making sure that these cards are in your favor.

3. The starting hands traps

Then come many hands much more risky. For example, 9 ♥ -8 ♥ (so matching) is one, just like a small pair like 4 ♣ -4 ♦ would be too. The novice player is often happy to get such a hand and sometimes wins on the board.

But let’s be realistic, the improvement statistics of such hands are really low. And, by the way, the risks in the face (another player with J-J for example) are much higher. So, follow if the bet is weak but otherwise go your way.

4. The hands starting trash cans

Finally, everything else is to be considered as sleeping as soon as we receive them. Unless of course we are big blind and have already paid, so it does not cost anything to see the flop. And, who knows, maybe a miracle will come true…