New Players - Basic starting hand selections

Basic starting hand selection.

Top tier starting hands - top 2% of starting hands.

Good Texas Holdem starting hands are typically hands like big pocket pairs and big connecting cards. So some of the top starting hands would be:

The little ’s’ indicates that the cards are suited. This will increase the value of your hand because it creates the opportunity to make a flush compared to if the cards were not suited.

This is obviously the top tier when it comes to starting hands, and if we were to only ever dealt these starting hands we would be making a ton of money. In fact, if we folded every hand that we were dealt and only played these hands, there is a fair chance that we would be winning money in the long run. But this would only work at the lower limits where other players probably wouldn’t be aware that we only play premium hands.

Second tier starting hands.

If we only ever played with this elite group of cards, we would be folding numerous hands along the way and missing out on other opportunities to win chips. Even though these are the cream of the crop when it comes to starting hands, there are still other great hands out there that can win us a lot of money in the long run if we play them.

Such hands are:

This gives us another 6 starting hands that we can play with, increasing the number of pots that we will be entering. Although these are not as good as the first set of premium hands mentioned, they are still great starting hands that should help us to win money.

Top 10 Texas Hold’em starting hands.

Now if we stick with this set of 10 starting hands we should definitely be on the right track to winning some chips at Replay Poker. So for any player new to the game, try your best to stick to the top 10 hands list (also throwing in some of top 20 hands if you have good position):

As Ac
Kh Kd
Qd Qs
Ah Kh (suited)
Ac Qc (suited)
Js Jd
Ks Qs (suited)
Ad Jd (suited)
Ad Kc
Tc Th
As your game improves, you can look to open up your starting hand requirements and require more marginal hands like suited connectors. However, if you’re new to the game you are better off sticking with the big cards that hit bigger flops and make post-flop play a heck of a lot easier for you… :sunglasses:


Great post Walt! I’m sure this post will help a lot of new Poker players!

1 Like


1 Like

This is great advice for real poker and horrendous advice for free chip poker.

This is great advice for beginning players in free chip poker (ring games). If you stay tight and then play these hands aggressively (but not too aggressively), you will crush the competition on Replay.

If you want to play more competitive poker, you will need to play a much wider range of hands and consider your position when selecting a hand to play, but this is a great place to start.

1 Like

you probably mean the other way around :wink:

1 Like

no yiazmat, I have it correct. I began playing here just as the topic suggests and I can assure you that if you or anyone else here plays just those hands they will lose money over an extended period of time at this site… Try it for yourself. Play just those hands at MTT and Ring games and discover what I’m saying is the truth. Just those hands and no others for 3 months.

I think he was being funny. Did you notice the wink ? :wink:

i think i made an unclear comment but lemme explain:

i was being serious, but not in the way that it looks like right now.
i don’t think it’s a good strategy at all to play like a huge nit. what i should have explained was that i was also referring to the fact that this thread is meant for the newest of players and actually thought eddie meant this too, and accidently mixed the two up in his story (guess i was wrong :slight_smile:.).
in these lowest stakes here people often like to raise to 20BB’s and even more. quite often also a all-in bingo is fairly common. and as railbird explained this nitty strategy is very easy and really good against these players. of course there are also other cards that can be used. but since this is meant to give a really easy base to the newest of players, things like setmining or positional bluffs and value hands, or the amount of implied odds from low pairs and suited connectors aren’t really helpful at this point. right now knowing that 59s isn’t a great hand to shove 100BB’s with because it’s suited is way more important.

long story short: i meant in general i agree that being a nit isn’t a good strategy. but in the lowest stakes it’s easy and profitable for the newest of players.

apologies for the misunderstanding.


If you wait around to play just those hands in SNG or the MTT games you will lose money. Others good luck will eat into some of those hands and the blinds will get you as you wait to catch just those hands. I’m considering that you fold in all positions if you have not caught one of the hands mentioned.

Eddie is right.

Greetings Eddie
I certainly understand the frustrations as all of us try to somehow master this amazing & wonderful journey into such a strategically driven, and mathematically complex war of Kings. Then the icing on the cake if you will, is the incredibly intricate psychology of the game. All the different attainable levels of play you can accomplish will always lead to another level of joy and a new level of challenges awaits for the true poker lovers.
As you accumulate this arsenal of weapons & tools on your journey to work with, you’ll need to practice, practice, practice. The executions of your play MUST be automatic 70 to 90% of the time. If you’re not able to accomplish a rate close to or around these levels you’ll need to spend a ton of time on your poker tells, even in online poker.

I know the chart looks simplistic. It was meant to be a first chapter of sorts. I’ll also mention here as I didn’t earlier, almost all charts about playing poker are guidelines for a person’s play. Not steadfast rules. That’s with any and all poker charts.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Without an understanding of the very basics, you’ll never have a solid foundation to build on. These charts represent building blocks for a foundation to a very tall empire someday. We all pretty much know what happens when a buildings foundation is a little out of plumb…

On a personal note Eddie, There are many, many players here who have made the necessary adjustments to become happily satisfied with their abilities and skills to successfully play on this platform, In these very arenas. So, contrary to a persons instinctual urge to not expose their weaknesses to others, reach out… ask questions… It’s really not foolish at all,
I’m crazy enough now to think it was the single most important thing I did as a young man. It opened more doors than even I could ever imagine…This is from a person who spent his entire life in the gambling houses. :sunglasses:


Rail-Bird -

Very nice of you to give a little primer on what starting hands to play. Perhaps because you have so much experience, you did not think to define what you meant by “playing” them though. Should a new player who sees one of these holdings in his hand just toss a BB into the middle and see what happens? Should he/she open the pot with a raise if no one has acted before? If so, how much of a raise? What if someone raised before he acts or has limped in before he acts?

I am not being sarcastic here. I find that I do not always communicate clearly because I assume people understand the terms I use in the way I meant them. Often that is not the case, So, when you recommend playing certain hands, I am sure you know exactly what you are talking about but many new players will not. If you have the time, perhaps you could expand on this concept a bit to provide more context and clarity?

1 Like

I hope 42 Yrs in the casino business would be a little comforting to some… Besides, I do know how to say “I don’t know” once in a while. But it’s usually about non-gaming questions…
So I will stand by these charts as guidelines for any new player…

As far as big blinds / small blinds That’s a entirely different chapter all together. This articular is more about starting the learning process… One step at a time…:sunglasses:

I will raise with a high pocket pair, starting with tens or cold call with low pocket pairs, suited cards (if one of them is a ten or better, preferably both, and only if someone hasn’t raised) and AK, AQ, AJ, KQ…So many players get enamoured with an ace or a king, no matter what card they’re paired with…Play the percentage game and be patient…I fold about 80% of my hands…If I have an A9 off-suit for example, and there are 3 or more players in the pot, I’ll just fold them…Play with good cards and you will have more success in the long run…


Gee, thats why I usually write a wall of text, trying to overcome this problem.

1 Like

I wrote 2 whole paragraphs trying to be helpful and ask what is meant by “playing a hand”. Apparently my communication skills are so bad that this did not come through. So, we have a thread that tells new players to play these hands but not what that actually means. Does it mean limp in with any of these hands? Shove all-in with any of them? Declare “I wanna play this hand” and hope that’s the trick? Who knows?

I was trying to both keep the thread basic (as it was intended for new players) and give the OP room to explain this very important part of the equation in his own way. I am not sure where I went wrong in that.


Believe me when I say you did not go wrong in any of that brother.

It was sidestepped and derailed…,

1 Like

@Rail-Bird @Sassy_Sarah @1Warlock
i read your discussions about the need to add what “playing a hand” means. i can get both of you: that it’s important to add this, since it’s a vital part to know to actually make money outta this. but i can also get that it’s hard for railbird to give an appropriate answer, since the right betsize is always different according to the situation. and if we add this it will become a higher level strategy again while this is actually meant for the newest of players.

of course sometimes you should bet big, sometimes small, sometimes you can easily slowplay and sometimes you should even fold one of those strong hands (especcialy postflop). and even all specific hands can differ accordingly to the situation, sometimes that nice JJ is a clear 3bet shove and sometimes it’s an insta fold. you can imagine how diffiult this would be to explain into a forum meant for beginning players.

however i have thought of something that might help. add only these 3 things:

  • use a 70% pot raise when you got one of these hands,
  • when you get resistance postflop in a non paired hand then fold
  • if you play one of these hands, then keep playing them aggressively unless you know a good reason not to.

i’ll explain why: as explained earlier the “right betsize” is way too complex to add into a forum meant for the newest of players. however a 70% bet/raise is often low enough to make weak people play their worse hands, and at the same time you will gain good value for them, and it’s also a good betsize to make people overpay for possible draws in most cases.
of course when you don’t pair your non paired hands postflop you might still be best, but since you’re only playing ace high it’s better for beginning players to just check-fold them because you can only rely on your reads and pot odds to make these profitable, if you can’t use these 2 things you will be losing a lot in the long run.
and at last: the keep playing aggressively is important to keep gaining value out of these hands. also in here counts you might get reads that your opponent is stronger and you should have folded. but also in this counts, the easy play is keeping a standard aggression, because in the very most cases you will be good which will gain you money in the long run. besides if you follow the other two rules, you will only get money in with strong top pair hands or better, which means you often will be good.

1 Like

Greetings Yiazmat,
The above list has nothing to do with what hand should or shouldn’t play. The list is to give new players or beginning players some sense of values with their first two cards. In the future we can go as far as you’d like Yiazmat, but I’d rather answer questions through messaging to avoid too many distractions during an in depth and serious exchange. Thanks, Yiazmat :sunglasses:

1 Like