Poker is a relatively straightforward game to learn, but one of the most challenging aspects for new players is knowing which hand is worth playing and which isn’t. With 52 cards, there are a lot of different combinations of pocket hands that you can receive at the start of the game. Knowing what each card is worth, both pre and post-flop is an essential part of learning to play poker. Luckily, there are some hands that are much easier and more important to know than others. Below are three main types of hands and how to play them.
Big Pocket Pairs
Big pocket pairs are some of the strongest starting hands in online poker, as you’ve already got a strong pair. This pair could be enough to win on its own or develop into a potential three-of-a-kind or flush later in the game. As a result, this is a hand that you almost always want to play, and you should be playing fairly aggressively from the start. The only way an opponent can already be ahead of you before the flop is if they have a higher pocket pair. However, you should bear in mind that just because it’s a strong starting hand, there’s no guarantee that you’ll win. A straight, flush, full house, or three of a kind could still beat you if the flop goes in your opponent’s favor. Big pocket pair examples include AA, QQ, JJ, TT.
High cards hand is any hand that contains any two unpaired cards which are 10 or higher. These can be strong hands, although you need the following rounds to go your way. Pre-flop, you can be beaten by anyone with a pocket pair, but you still have a great hand. A good flop could potentially give you a straight draw, and if you have suited cards, there’s also the possibility of a flush. You can also look for the top pair. But be wary if there’s a higher card than your top card as someone could have a higher pair than you.
Small Pocket Pairs
Small pocket pairs are decent hands in some situations, and you may be in the lead before the flop. However, the chance of winning after the flop decrease dramatically, and your hand can be easily beaten unless it develops into a three-of-a-kind or a full house. On the flop, you’re looking for a three-of-a-kind to develop. Otherwise, you should almost always be folding. There’s around a one in eight chance of this happening, and it can actually be a very strong hand in this situation.
Drawing hands are the final type of hands, and on the surface, they’re the weakest. However, they do have the potential to develop into very powerful hands. Drawing hands can be split into three categories, which each have a different way of playing. There are suited connectors, such as 9 of hearts and 8 of hearts, suited gapped connectors such as 7 of hearts and 9 of hearts, and suited aces such as ace of hearts and five of hearts. All of these can give a chance of developing into a straight, flush, or even straight flush. To play any of these hands, you want to see the flop as cheaply as possible and cut your losses if nothing favorable has developed.