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Poker-Hand Rankings: Which Cards Help You Win?

  • When choosing a poker hand one wants to have the highest possible combination of five cards
  • However, there are many scenarios in the game
  • In this article, we will look at the poker-hand rankings that will help you win
poker-hand rankings

The main goal when choosing a poker hand is to make the highest possible combination of five cards. This is the way you aim to win the pot when the cards are revealed and the showdown comes. Another way to win is by bluffing. However, in this case, it is useful to correctly assess the strength of your opponent’s hand. So what shall be done? In this article, we will look at the poker-hand rankings that will help you win.

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Two Best Starting Scenarios 

Two starting hands in poker greatly outperform all other starters in terms of expected returns. Besides, you can easily verify this by analyzing your database. After analyzing the multi-million dollar hand base of a poker pro, we concluded that about half of all the profit comes from AA and KK. However, despite the sheer profitability of these starters, there is one problem that newbies experience when they get these hands. This is a problem of not understanding the mathematical background of the game and part of a psychological nature. The fact of the matter is that players who receive these starters expect them to win with them every time. This is extremely unwise! Even the weakest starting poker hand (72o) has 13% equity against AA preflop!

If you add a few more suited hands against pocket aces, you will find that your equity drops to 50%. This will be a virtual coin flip! Thus, gamblers are interested in reducing the number of players in the hand with these hands. Indeed, the fewer ranges against our aces and kings, the better our chances of winning. We would also like to note that AA and KK have excellent chances to play the cooler against the second-best hands – QQ and JJ. Therefore, pocket aces and kings are mathematically the best starting hands in online poker sites in the USA. Learn more about What Were the Best Poker Hands of the Decade from our article.

Poker-Hand Rankings: Next Three Profitable Combinations

The next most profitable starters after AA and KK are QQ, JJ, and AK. Again, this we can say based on the analysis of the massive databases from the professional poker players. Regardless of what some gamblers may think of QQ and JJ, in reality, these hands are extremely easy to play and some of the best starting hands you can get. As with AA and KK, your chances of losing in a multi-way pot with QQ and JJ are pretty high. However, in one-on-one confrontations, the likelihood that you will cool someone or hit an over pair will also matter.

poker-hand rankings
Picture Source: Pixabay

AK is also a great hand. While it is true that you will only be paired with this hand one out of three times, you must remember that when this happens, you will be winning a big pot. This is especially true in situations where your opponents will have dominant hands such as AQ, AJ, or AT. All of these hands have huge problems against AK when an ace hits the flop. Therefore, it is important to learn to disregard short-term results with these hands. Sometimes you will lose big pots with QQ, JJ, and AK several times in a row. Yes, it hurts. However, despite this, these starters are extremely profitable in the long run in Intertops Poker.

5 More Poker-Hand Rankings

TT, 99, 88, 77, and AQ are the next most profitable starting hands in poker. As you can see, pocket pairs are king in No-Limit Hold’em. This is a fact and, as always, you can verify it by analyzing your database. If you are a winning player, then you will most certainly be showing profits with each of these hands. Of course, you will be losing pots with these hands a lot more often than with the hands we talked about in the first two paragraphs of this article. In fact, with 77 or 88 you will experience flop texture frustration about 50% of the time. For this reason, you will often need to check-fold these hands. And really, what can we do, for example, with pocket eights, when the flop comes, say, AQT, and our opponent starts betting or raising?

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However, all of these hands (TT, 99, 88, 77) pay off when you manage to flop a set. Imagine what happens when you hit 88 on an A83 flop against a weak player holding AK? That’s right: you will take his stack! Finally, AQ is also a very strong hand that will make you money in the long run through its potential to hit a strong top pair. It’s also important to understand that with many of the hands we’ve reviewed, we’ll be raising or re-raising preflop. Thus, we can often c-bet the pot on the flop without ever hitting the desired hand. This is the advantage of playing initiative poker! Suited connectors are bad starters, but you still have to play with them. 

More Tips

As you can see, everyone’s favorite suited connectors (e.g. 65s, 76s, 87s, 98s, T9s, JTs) didn’t make it to the top 10 starter ratings. Why? Simply because these hands are unprofitable! Launch Holdem Manager or Poker Tracker and see for yourself. Indeed, if you are a winning player, you still lose with all suited connectors. The reason for this is that these hands can only win big pots when you hit the board well (two pairs, straight, flush), which is pretty rare. The problem with these hands is also that many micro-limiters are hitting. However, as paradoxical as it sounds, you shouldn’t stop playing these hands! These poker-hand rankings have one extremely important function. They give your starting range depth, making it difficult for your opponent to read your range!

poker-hand rankings
Picture Source: Hippopx

In other words, if you only play the ten most profitable hands listed above, then it will be a recipe for disaster! Why? Because these hands will come to us so rarely that even the most notorious fish will understand that we are at the table waiting for the nuts, and will stop paying us! This way, when you play suited connectors (and other speculative hands), you can be sure that you will get paid for the best starting hands that we discussed above. This scenario will bring you the long-desired victory in the online poker sites in the USA.

Should You Have Poker-Hand Rankings?

How about having your favorite starting hand or combination? Some players would swear that they always win with some ridiculous holding like 85. Complete nonsense! Having a good hand in a mathematical game like poker is a bad idea. Whether you are Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey, you will be losing in the long run with the 85s. This is why when people ask what the favorite starting hand is, we always tell them it’s pocket aces. But as a winning player, you should be able to show a profit with many other hands that we haven’t talked about in this article: small pocket pairs, medium and weak aces, and so on. 

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To be able to bring these hands to a profit, you must be able to play them in the right positions and the right situations, but this is a topic for another article, so we will talk about this shortly. Our advice if you are planning to play a type of poker called Texas Hold’em: try to make a straight and/or flush, because these hands are very deceiving and capable of making big pots, which often makes them the best possible hand. If you don’t know the ranking of poker hands by heart yet, learn them before you sit down to play – and you will save a lot of time. We have already prepared a Poker Hands Cheat Sheet for you. Do not forget to use it in the Intertops Poker.

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