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StrategyNo Limit

How to Play Before the Flop


In this article you will learn:
  • How to determine your position at the table
  • What hands to play pre-flop
  • The Starting Hands Chart

Choosing the right starting hand is half the battle in poker. If you enter the game with the right cards, you will not only avoid difficult situations in the later betting rounds, you can also be reasonably sure that you are indeed holding the best hand.

And that's exactly what this article is all about. You will learn when certain hands are playable and why, as well as how to extract maximum profit from them.

You will be provided with an overview of this in the Starting Hands Chart, which gives you a simple strategy for the first betting round in an easy to understand table format. Just as with all other strategies on PokerStrategy.com, you can download this chart to print out and use while you play.

The next section gives a quick overview of the table positions, after which we will look at the actual strategy.

Free poker money tip: Before you start playing with your free poker money, click here to download the chart!

What is your position at the table?

The order in which players act, depends on how they are seated in relation to the dealer (D). The more players between the dealer and you during the betting round (counter clockwise), the sooner you have to act and the earlier your position.

Your position tells you when it will be your turn to act.

If you are one of the first to act, you are in early position. When you are in late position, your turn to act will come later in the round. This is important - the earlier you have to act, the stronger your hand must be, since the more players there are after you, the greater the chance that one of them has stronger cards than you.

The earlier your position, the stronger your hand must be.

There are 10 positions at a 10-handed table. These positions are divided into four groups: the early, middle, and late positions, and the blinds.


2 Late positions
3 Middle Positions
3 Early positions
2 Blind positions
Move the cursor over each group to see the corresponding seats.

The two late positions BU and CO
The dealer and the player to his right are in the late positions. The dealer is also referred to as the BU (Button) and the player to his right as the CO (Cutoff).

The three middle positions MP1, MP2 and MP3
The three players to the right of the late positions are in the middle positions. They are referred to as MP1, MP2 and MP3.

The three early positions UTG1, UTG2 and UTG3
The three players to the right of the middle positions are in the early positions. They are referred to as UTG1, UTG2 and UTG3.

The two blind positions SB and BB
The two players who have to post the blinds are in the blind positions. The player to the left of the dealer must post the Small Blind (SB); the player to his left must post the Big Blind (BB).

So far we assumed there were 10 players at the table, but this isn't always the case.

If there are only 9 players at the table, you drop one early position. If there are only 8 players at the table, there is only one early position. With 7 players or less at the table, there are no early positions at all.

For every empty seat you eliminate one position, starting with the early positions, then the middle, and so on.


Starting Hands Chart: Which Hands Should You Play?

The PokerStrategy.com Starting Hands Chart for No Limit Texas Hold'em shows you which hands you should play and how you should play them. Simply print it out and you will always know what to do throughout the entire game.

Free poker money tip: Before you start playing with your free poker money, click here to download the chart!

Further reading: Check out the poker hands overview for a general explanation on hand ranking for all game types.

The chart contains four categories of information:
  • Your starting hand
  • The actions of your opponents before you
  • Your position
  • How you should play your starting hand considering your current position and the actions of your opponents before you.

Your Hand
Actions Before You
Early Pos. Middle Pos. Late Pos. Blinds
High Pairs
  All players folded
AA, KK, QQ Players called
  1 player raised Raise
Middle Pairs
  All players folded
Players called
  1 player raised
Low Pairs
99, 88, 77, All players folded
Fold Call
Raise Call
66, 55, 44,
Players called
33, 22 1 player raised
Your Hand
Actions Before You
Early Pos. Middle Pos. Late Pos. Blinds
High Aces (s stands for suited, o stands for offsuit)
  All players folded
AKo, AKs
Players called
  1 player raised
Middle Aces (s stands for suited, o stands for offsuit)
AQo, AQs
All players folded
AJs, AJo
Players called
Fold Raise Call
ATs, ATo
1 player raised
Low Suited Aces (s stands for suited)
A9s, A8s, A7s,
All players folded
Fold Raise
A6s, A5s, A4s,
Players called
Fold Call
A3s, A2s
1 player raised Fold
Your Hand
Actions Before You
Early Pos. Middle Pos. Late Pos. Blinds
Suited Face Cards (s stands for suited)
KQs, KJs, KTs, All players folded
Fold Raise
QJs, QTs, Players called
JTs 1 player raised
Offsuit Face Cards (o stands for offsuit)
KQo, KJo, KTo, All players folded
Fold Raise
QJo, QTo,
Players called
Fold Call
JTo 1 player raised
Suited Connectors
T9s, 98s,
All players folded
Fold Raise Fold
87s, 76s, Players called
Fold Call
65s, 54s 1 player raised
Your Hand
Actions Before You
Early Pos. Middle Pos. Late Pos. Blinds
All other hands not considered above
  All players folded
The rest
Players called
  1 player raised

The First Column: Your Hand
In the left column you see the possible starting hands. Each starting hand is abbreviated. AA, for example, stands for two aces, 99 for two nines. If your hand is not included in the chart, you should fold.
A Ace
K King

Suited cards s: An s behind the hand, as in A9s, stands for suited and means that both of the cards you are holding are of the same suit (hearts, diamonds, spades or clubs). Which suit it is doesn't play any role in Texas hold'em.
  • A9s stands for ace nine of the same suit
  • A4s stands for ace four of the same suit
  • QJs stands for queen jack of the same suit
  • QTs stands for queen ten of the same suit

Offsuit cards o: An o behind the hand, as in KQo, stands for offsuit and means that the two cards are of two different suits, for example if you are holding a club and a heart.
  • KQo stands for king queen of different suits
  • QTo stands for queen ten of different suits
  • JTo stands for jack ten of different suits
The second column shows you the possible answers to this question. You obviously play differently when someone raised before you, since this is a sign that your opponent has a strong hand.

Your position tells you in what column to look next. If you are in early position, look at the third column, if you are in the Small Blind or Big Blind, look at the last column.

When you play a small pair like 55 you are speculating on hitting three-of-a-kind on the flop. This only happens approx. 12% of the time, but when it does, you will have a very strong hand that can bring in a fair amount of money. This is why it's profitable to call a raise when holding a small pair, as long as your opponent has enough money to pay you off when you do hit.

With a small pair, you should only call a raise, when your opponent has at least 20x the raise amount in his stack. By the way, this applies to you as well. You must also have 20x the raise amount. You can only win as much money as you have in your stack, so if your opponent has 20x the raise amount but you don't, it really doesn't help you. That is what the term 'Call 20' means.

How much should you raise?

If no one raised before you, you simply raise 4 big blinds + 1 big blind for every player that entered the hand before you.

Your raise =
  • 4x big blind
  • plus 1 big blind for every player that entered the hand before you.
Assume you just got your starting capital and are playing NL2 (0.01/0.02). The big blind is $0.02.

When you raise, you raise at least 4 * $0.02 = $0.08.

If someone joined the pot before you, you add an additional $0.02 to this amount for a total of $0.10. If two players entered the hand before you, you add two additional big blinds to this amount and raise to a total of $0.12.

If an opponent raised before you, you re-raise to 3x the size of the original raise. For every player that calls this raise before you, you increase the size of your re-raise by the size of the original raise.

Your re-raise =
  • 3x the size of the original raise
  • plus 1x the size of the original raise for each player that called.
Assume you are playing NL2 (0.01/0.02). A player before you raises to $0.08. You have two aces and want to re-raise to get money in the pot. Your raise should be 3 * $0.08 = $0.24.

If another player called this raise before you, you add an additional $0.08 to this amount, for a total of $0.32.

If two players before you called the raise, you re-raise to $0.40.

If there was more than one raise before you, one thing is clear: You're not getting involved if you don't have a monster hand. You only play AA and KK, two aces and two kings. When you do have a monster, your line of play is simple in this scenario: you go all-in.

If there was more than one raise before you, you only play AA and KK and you go all-in.
Two queens (QQ) or ace king (AK) should be folded, just like every other hand that isn't AA or KK.

What if someone raises after you?

If you have a pair of aces or kings, you should just keep on raising. The best thing you can do is try and go all-in before the flop and put all your money in the middle. Some beginners have trouble doing this, but keep in mind that you are well ahead against every other pair by approx. 80%. You can hardly find a more profitable opportunity to go all-in.

Fold all other hands, including AK and AQ, hard as it may be for you to do so. You can, however, make an exception to this rule when you have a pocket pair.

There is, as we just said, one exception. When you have a pocket pair smaller than AA or KK, you can make an exception and call a raise, as long as both you and your opponent have stacks at least 20x the amount you're about to call.

Just like when you follow the Call 20 rule from the Starting Hands Chart, you are speculating on hitting three-of-a-kind on the flop. If you do hit, chances are good that you'll be able to win your opponent's entire stack.

You will find players who only min-raise fairly often in the lower limits. Whatever they may think they are doing, it certainly doesn't make much sense.

If you have already entered the hand and one opponent raises after you by the smallest amount allowed, a so-called min-raise, you should always call, unless, of course, you have AA or KK, in which case you re-raise.


Limit NL 2 $0.01/$0.02 (big blind = $0.02)
Your hand
Position UTG3 (early position)
Situation You have two players in front of you. Both call and pay the $0.02 big blind. Now it's your turn to make a decision.

You definitely want to raise with this hand. AK is, quite simply, a good hand. But how much should you raise to?

The rule says: Raise 4 big blinds + 1 big blind for each player that has entered the hand.

In this example 2 players have already called. You raise to a total of 6 big blinds. And since the big blind in this limit is $0.02, you raise to a total of 6 * $0.02 = $0.12.

Limit NL 2 $0.01/$0.02 (big blind = $0.02)
Your hand
Position MP3 (middle position)
Situation Everyone folds except for the player directly before you, who raises to $0.08. He then has $1.90 left in his stack.

Since you have a pocket pair and an opponent raised before you, you play according to the Call 20 rule. This rule says you can call a raise when you have a pocket pair and you and your opponent both have at least 20* the size of the raise left in your stacks.

Your opponent's raise was $0.08. 20 * $0.08 = $1.60. This is the amount both, you, and your opponent must have in your stacks for you to be able to call his raise with your pocket pair. Your opponent has $1.90 remaining, and you always have a full buy-in ($2), since you are a good player. In this example you can call the raise and see if you hit three-of-a-kind on the flop.

Limit NL 2 $0.01/$0.02 (big blind = $0.02)
Your hand
Position MP2 (middle position)
Situation Everyone before you folds. You obviously raise with AK; $0.08 is the right amount in this example. But then you encounter resistance, as an opponent after you raises, to $0.24. What should you do?

If your first thought is 'fold,' you have already learned quite a bit. Your hand may look nice, but you have to fold AK if there's a large raise after you.

Limit NL 2 $0.01/$0.02 (big blind = $0.02)
Your hand
Position BU (Button, late position)
Situation You are on the Button, meaning you are the dealer. Everyone before you folds. The Starting Hands Chart says to raise. You raise to $0.08, but the player in the Big Blind doesn't want to play along and raises to $0.16.

In this example you are confronted with a min-raise. Normally you would just fold A8s when someone raises after you, but the rules say you should always call when an opponent min-raises after you.

Take a look at the flop. You have position on your opponent, and your hand isn't all that bad. Just don't play for a big pot if all you hit is a pair of aces or eights.

Limit NL 2 $0.01/$0.02 (big blind = $0.02)
Your hand
Position BU (Button, late position)
Situation A player in early position raises to $0.08. Then a player in middle position re-raises to $0.24. Now it's your turn to act.

This is a very nice situation to be in. Of course, a pair of aces would be even better, but even with a pair of kings you don't have to think twice before going all-in. Instead of trying to figure out how high your raise should be, you simply go all-in and bet all your money.

If you had an ace and a king (AK) or two queens (QQ) you would have to fold. These hands are rarely good when two opponents raise before you.


Once you've understood how to use the Starting Hands Chart, you will be on the safe side in the first betting round. Choosing the right starting hands is half the work in poker and a lot of players burn their money at exactly this point. They play too many weak hands or don't know when they should stay out of the line of fire with cards that they think are pretty good, but are obviously too weak in the given situation.

You can avoid uncomfortable situations on the flop when you carefully select your starting hands as recommended by the Starting Hands Chart. You will find opponents who are all too happy to call, especially in the lower limits. There is no reason for you to try to create marginal situations. Your motto is "winning by folding."

In the next article of this series you will learn what kind of hands you can hit on the flop or on later streets. You will also learn the best way to play your hand.

Tip: In addition to reading our articles, you can also use our other educational materials to help you learn how to play poker, faster.

Go to the next article: How to Play After the Flop

Comments (100)

#1 PfromB, 31 Dec 09 00:09

Why does the chart advise to FOLD AQa in MP after a CALL whereas
the chart advises to CALL KJs in MP after a CALL?

Does not seem logical at 1st sight. Is there a reason for this?

#2 ahdoughnutz, 06 Jan 10 11:20

personally, i dont think non of this works because there are that many idiots playing online nowadays all that you learn goes out the window

#3 ahdoughnutz, 06 Jan 10 11:27

with kj u have more outs of hitting your straight, where as aq u dont have that luxury, thats what i think anyway

#4 Koshburger, 15 Jan 10 09:44


#5 unulanet, 01 Apr 10 09:46

this charts are not good.

#6 AngreshaMuresh, 16 Apr 10 22:44

i think the chart is ok, since it says to fold KJ as well as to fold AQ at MID POS atfer call.

#7 mandrew767, 19 Apr 10 16:40

when u play these low limits and u hold AK and a guy raises u from 0.08 to 0.24 i am sure u can call most of the time the opponent is playing a hand like QJ,KQ,AQ or any pocket pair from 77 to AA but what is the chance he has AA or KK??? imo it is totally worth to see the flop against one opponent with AK even when out of position ( remember u know what u r doing the guy at this limit against you usually doesnt )this article says u should fold (i say yes it is an option BUT NOT AT 0.01-0.02) but at this limit it would be a waste of good cards imo

#8 Jdeeuk, 20 Apr 10 08:55

Im not sure but i think the purpose of the charts isnt just about winning pots. Correct me if im wrong but using the chart you will also create a very solid table image of a serious TAG player (although as a previous comment suggested, there are a lot of fish who wouldnt even notice if you only ever played AA) But assuming that other players are using HUDs or making notes you must be very mindful of your image to ensure your raises are respected, Do you really want 5 callers every time you get AA/KK?

#9 psydreamer, 25 Apr 10 08:45

why call AQo, AQs,AJs, AJo,ATs, ATo from the blinds when other players call?

#10 ThreeFour34, 05 May 10 22:13

Cuz you dont have position, u bet before opponent in rounds after flop!

#11 omnaad, 08 May 10 21:31

The chart states the situation where one person has called before you. I don't see an answer to what you should do, if two or more persons has called before you?

#12 bonecore, 13 May 10 14:02

Players at a table:
5-SB BB __ MP CO B
4-SB BB __ CO B
3-SB BB __ B
2-SB BB (SB=B)

Is this correct ?

#13 Bezeal, 23 May 10 06:22

No, thats not correct, it goes:


#14 AcesBreaker, 03 Jun 10 10:53

@#3 : KJ and AQ have the same amount of outs for first ,and for second is AQ much stronger then KJ so.... Try to use your brain

#15 Avramia, 21 Jul 10 19:27

According to the chart what do you have to do if you have AQo and one player raised ?
It only says what do do if everyone folds to you, but this situation is not mentioned.
Can someone explain ?

#16 furlan76, 29 Jul 10 10:47

Charts can be used as an amusement and looked at just for curiosity. The perfect poker strategy does not exist and this makes poker such an interesting game. One of the most important rules to be a succesfull player is DECEPTION. Mix up your game so that the opponents cannot read you and it does not matter whether you are playing bad or good players. From your first game you have to think with the right poker mindset otherwise you would not improve your game. You may win at low stakes following what these guys say but you won't become a proper player. Use your mind and change your play depending on the situations and play one table each time. Multitabling has nothing to do with poker, it may have something to do with making money at low levels but really little to do with proper poker.

#17 stitch01, 16 Sep 10 20:08

Chart doesn't say how to play when there is more then one call. You should fold KQs from the button when there are two calls?

#18 kssilveira, 24 Sep 10 10:19

Why, when one player called, and we are in the middle position, with JTs we call but with AQs we fold? Isn't AQs better than JTs?

#19 Dingo17, 30 Sep 10 14:23

The call20 rule is interesting. A guy was telling me about a similar rule called the 8 to 1 rule. Where you need 8 to 1 not 20 to 1. I guess your cutting it pretty fine at 8 to 1 its break even, so any better say 10 to 1 should be profitable hey.
By the way with a small pair if they are raising with say AK, my pocket three's will hold half the time if its heads up so Im struggling with the call 20 seems excessive.

#20 dondiego2000, 12 Oct 10 05:52

@ kssilveria

AQs looks indeed better than JTs. However, for the draws, and this is what you play if you call pre-flop with a not so strong hand, there are more outs for JT than AQ as you can reach the straight from both ends with JT, and only one with AQ.

This is why the chart mentions that you'd betted fold MP with AQs whereas you can call with JTs, because your odds are less good to obtain a straight with AQs as with JTs.

#21 trinhdinhthuan, 15 Oct 10 03:06


#22 gintenslv, 26 Oct 10 05:04

This is written all ever u can get this starting information about poker i have read a books,articles, watched many video materials and also known all ICM so for start will be good :)

#23 gradinkov, 31 Oct 10 07:12

why do i fold low pairs in early positions?

#24 foolboydesire, 06 Nov 10 23:25

@ dondiego2000

according to pokerstrategy.com's equilator AQs vs JTs is 61,4% vs 38,6% chance of winning. AQs (even AQo) has more outs to become best hand than JTs.. so it really makes no sense why you should fold AQ but play with JTs in MP.
could anyone explain the reason behind this?

#25 Ribbo, 09 Nov 10 12:17

#24 This is because we're not comparing to the two hands to each other, but instead to the complete range of opponents hands.

AQ is more likely to be dominated by AK. AK does not dominate JT. Only AJ dominates JT and this is much less likely.
We are playing the JT to hit a strong draw and for this reason, because it hits a strong draw more often than AQ, we play it.

#26 fruitcake1, 19 Jan 11 21:35


#27 peter53, 24 Jan 11 08:28

what works for me is very simple. when blinds are low. see as many flops as you can.but you must be able to fold the middle low pairs you so often connect with if you are facing a bet or bet raise.another thing 2 suited hold cards even with 2 more in the flop is not as likely to fill as many may think. 2 suited hold cards are 16/1 against filling a flush..4 suited are only filled 20% of hands. or so i believe

#28 brrythmpsn, 20 Feb 11 19:03

The article on multi-table tournaments refers us to this article for early stage strategy, so presumably it means to use the starting hand chart above in the early stage of a MTT.

But in the sit and go article it shows us a much tighter range starting hand chart to use in the early stages, where it says not to play any suited connectors, or anything lower than AJ or KQ!

since SNGs and MTTs are essentially the same the only difference being the number of entrants, i'm very confused which starting hand chart to follow for MTTs.

#29 mjano314, 04 Apr 11 12:27

Based on chart I play only with 11% possible hands/positions. In all other cases I fold. It's ok when there are 10 players. But is it ok when there is only one another player in game with me? In this situation I will play only 16% of hands. I think he will be quite angry, if I will still folding most of hands.

Another question for Low Pairs when I am in UTG1. No folds, no calls, no raises. What should I do?

#30 mattisks, 13 Apr 11 18:08

one vs one u should apply pressure, really. Play any two from button aggressively. You can use those 16% when he shoves.. So think carefuly which ones to include. Probably all PP, Ax, Kx and defo some Qx and suited conns. Lol this would be more than 16 already :D

Well. I like this strategy and theory behind it. And as there was said. I like 20 rule but it effectively means that I will be folding to 3bets like crazy if I follow this strategy. But atleast I know when to call if raised pre..

Really liked it. Starting hand chart is also good. I was complete nit. I will deviate with playing small pairs but I will definitely add some small hand ranges like connectors, broadway cards etc. I need to look bit more loose at the tables. Otherwise no one wants to play against me. I am just raising when I enter and play only strong lines.. So this will help to fix my image a little.

Great stuff poker strategy!

#31 mattisks, 13 Apr 11 18:25

Question for the good ones. Can I apply all this if I play Super Deep? 250BB? Or is there something like SDSS aka Super Deep Stack Strategy? :D

#32 David, 15 Apr 11 08:03

@31: Hi mattisks, for deep stacked play I would reccommend following article (silver):

"How to Play Deep Stacked"


#33 brobz, 03 May 11 02:38

according to this chart in EP we only play AA, KK QQ TT JJ AK AKs and thats it? what about AQ AQs KQ KQs AJS?? or even meduim pairs to see a flop, Isn't this chart a little tight?

#34 loredana22, 04 Jun 11 12:08

woow....30 comments/questions and 2 replays from the "pros"...nice!!!!

#35 loredana22, 04 Jun 11 12:10

anyway my question is :....when to rebuy and when to leave the tables, at how many BB...thank you!

#36 Airetikos, 07 Jun 11 08:24

Sorry but if someone attemps to steal us from the button or cut off,i think is totally wrong to fold hands like AQ for example..i will definitely re-raise..whats urs opinion?

#37 Airetikos, 07 Jun 11 11:56

I think u can call a raise with suited connectors if the effective stack is 20-25 the original raise as you have high implied odds..urs opinion?

#38 David, 08 Jun 11 07:28

@35: You should try to play always with 100BB. Leave if you are deep (f.e. 250BB)and not feeling comfortable anymore (many deepstacked opponents, your own deepstacked play).

#39 bellamy11, 16 Jun 11 10:33

i play 6 handed cash games, does the chart above apply to them aswell? as it seems abit over tight as it says you should be folding AQ's and KQ's in early position??

#40 koladirienzo, 16 Jun 11 12:20

You are right about one thing - AK is a great hand - when I'm all-in with AK I loose 16 or 17 times of 20.

#41 princess201, 21 Jun 11 13:10

this chart is what i follow (new to poker) it does work...

#42 bencoy81, 26 Dec 11 21:36

At a 6max table if it folds around to the button who opens should I fold AQs in the bb? That seems to be what the chart shows if I'm reading it correctly.

#43 Hammerhead4real, 22 Jan 12 21:25

#25 However, in this situation somebody before us called. It is very unlikely that this person has AK, or this person would have raised. I get #20's argument of folding with AQ to a raise, so we don't get dominated.

The situation is MP with one limper before us. With AQ we can raise and fold to a re-raise. If there are no re-raises and the limper calls, we are in position on the flop. This course of action seems fine to me or am I missing something?

#44 Hammerhead4real, 22 Jan 12 21:45

I like #16's comment and I am disappointed it was not addressed. I wish to know what the good players think about following a chart such as the one on this page and if they do this themselves. At higher strategy levels, do we get taught to disregard this chart in some situations?

I have read that humans are still better at poker than computers. It then makes sense that deviating from this chart now and then helps you to be on the winning side, humans ;) Or is pre-flop poker simply straightforward and is post-flop where the real poker starts?

#45 brogac, 31 Jan 12 17:00

very good article for me:)

#46 Whizkid1975, 17 Apr 12 02:08

great article. The key for me is nothing is set in stone as there is always an element of luck as well as skill, so use the chart as a guide and to avoid being predictable vary your play when you get a hand you feel like playing. The occassional bluff is part of the thrill!

#47 sammysmillie, 20 Apr 12 20:47

why would you fold AK OR AQ

#48 Zetai, 25 Jun 12 09:10


#49 sirilidion, 19 Jul 12 07:29

#28 with SnG's there is icm to consider you have a better chance to get itm when people bust and winning chips isn't equal to winning money that is why an tight approse early game is best in SnG's. In mtt's your so far from the money and the real money is really made on the final table that there isn't a icm consideration early game and chipaccumulation is all that matter which is pretty simular to an cashgame

#50 CRI4BRA, 10 Aug 12 00:56

rush poker strategy to lay before the flop is redirected to this page??

with this open range chart?

i would be crushed if i'd use that on rush poker

#51 jamesralph, 13 Aug 12 14:54

personally for me this is way too tight, the only way im folding ak to a reraise is if the guy who reraises has the TIGHTEST table image ever.

#52 iggyo, 24 Sep 12 20:46

You guys have to understand that this chart teaches beginners how to play the cards they are dealt. Once you've mastered this chart, the next challenge is to play the players, not the cards. Now THAT, is a lot harder to teach. By playing the players, your decisions will (should) sometimes deviate from this chart. Also, it should be noted that this is a "Full Ring" chart and shouldn't really be followed exactly for 6-Max or fewer players, imho.

#53 ellamcc, 28 Dec 12 23:17

Learned a lot about raising and reraising. I'm far too passive pre-flop when I have (according to the chart) really good cards and usually just call unless they are aces. I now feel better about exactly how much I should raise and reraise and hhow much to call.

I agree that this is SUPER tight ranges but for newbies very good to start. I'm gonna play exactly according to this next few sessions and see how it works out. Of course I will need to change to full ring I suppose.

#54 rimoranong, 12 Mar 13 12:16

I learned playing poker from FB and this is really an eye opener for me. Great !

#55 Hochoi, 02 May 13 03:48

it is a good chart but I think some of the starting hands are truly depend on the situations and the type of players you play against for example: AQo ..........

#56 BFGiant, 18 May 13 12:19

I don't understand how to play low pairs in early position.
The chart says if there's a call before me then I fold, but if there's a raise before me then I call20.
Am I reading this wrong?

#57 BossX1, 07 Jun 13 00:25

you can learn what you want, this is what will destroy you on pokerstars, happened to me today 15 times..
YES! the retards will get trips on turn + river most of the time! and remember! when you have a pocket pair is almost sure another 3 have the pocket pair too!!! so what does this table help you with? nothing..

PokerStars Zoom Hand #99672880661: Hold'em No Limit ($0.01/$0.02) - 2013/06/07 2:10:04 CET [2013/06/06 20:10:04 ET]
Table 'McNaught' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: diablo33rus ($2.06 in chips)
Seat 2: GirlArlinne ($2 in chips)
Seat 3: HERO ($3.67 in chips)
Seat 4: dgilbert418 ($3.67 in chips)
Seat 5: forgivefree ($0.46 in chips)
Seat 6: stylerbd173 ($1.49 in chips)
Seat 7: DaCaIssoPa ($0.67 in chips)
Seat 8: miafeg ($5.51 in chips)
Seat 9: johnwright05 ($4.96 in chips)
GirlArlinne: posts small blind $0.01
HERO: posts big blind $0.02
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to HERO [Kd As]
dgilbert418: folds
forgivefree: folds
stylerbd173: folds
DaCaIssoPa: folds
miafeg: folds
johnwright05: raises $0.02 to $0.04
diablo33rus: folds
GirlArlinne: folds
HERO: raises $0.06 to $0.10
johnwright05: calls $0.06
*** FLOP *** [Kc 9s 2d]
HERO: bets $0.12
johnwright05: calls $0.12
*** TURN *** [Kc 9s 2d] [4h]
BossXBossX: bets $0.20
johnwright05: calls $0.20
*** RIVER *** [Kc 9s 2d 4h] [4s]
HERO: bets $0.32
johnwright05: raises $0.68 to $1
HERO: calls $0.68
*** SHOW DOWN ***
johnwright05: shows [6c 4c] (three of a kind, Fours)
HERO: mucks hand
johnwright05 collected $2.75 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $2.85 | Rake $0.10
Board [Kc 9s 2d 4h 4s]
Seat 1: diablo33rus (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: GirlArlinne (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: HERO (big blind) mucked [Kd As]
Seat 4: dgilbert418 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: forgivefree folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: stylerbd173 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: DaCaIssoPa folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: miafeg folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: johnwright05 showed [6c 4c] and won ($2.75) with three of a kind, Fours

#58 lollo1588, 27 Jul 13 11:48


#59 kanpoker, 01 Nov 13 04:26


#60 henni30, 17 Nov 13 08:09

i never played AKo and AQs, AQo when i'm not in position online or live game but if i i'm in FT it's a different story.

#61 martti333, 30 Dec 13 17:32


#62 Iznola, 06 Apr 14 14:47


#63 RexCalculex, 13 Apr 14 10:47

Since many cash games are played on 6 (and often there is one or two players missing or sitting out), can we simply discount the UTG positions and use the same starting hand chart verbatim or does it need to be modified?
For example in heads up or 3 player cash games it seems clear that if you only play the given hands a lot of money will be lost on blinds since your opponent will play many more hands than the chart

#64 Jaquare, 17 Jun 14 15:16

Two questions come to my mind: First the chart isn t a bit to tight when you play low stake? and second, is it only me or raising 4x seems a bit too much? I m used to raise 3x and seems to do the work just fine!

#65 simsim020, 19 Jul 14 22:22

very nise

#66 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:03

I think it's a good site

#67 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:03

I love poker

#68 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:04

I love the flop

#69 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:04

Poker is great

#70 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:05

Is a flush beat four of kind

#71 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:05

Has anyone had a royal flush

#72 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:05


#73 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:06

Hello poker fans

#74 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:06


#75 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:07

I won with one made up

#76 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:07

When is best to bet with pocket aces

#77 Peedee84, 28 Jul 14 21:07


#78 shawzy1987, 13 Aug 14 16:28

its definitely a love hate game some days u love it others u hate it.

#79 Amph4ros, 20 Aug 14 17:54


#80 milo12, 23 Aug 14 15:37

ok done

#81 catblank, 14 Oct 14 09:03


#82 Dedees89, 20 Oct 14 01:32

Basics... +-

#83 Phisixuk, 21 Oct 14 23:43

Basics but we need to learn them.

#84 ETO1188, 23 Oct 14 09:52

now i know what i'm missing

#85 666zeus666, 23 Nov 14 10:43

Hope somebody can help me here: The problem I see with this starting hands chart is that it is not very tight, but excessively tight, and you end up playing just a few hands, (8% VPIP or even less), because you have to fold many playable hands when there is a raise in front of you. Can somebody help me understand this? Is that extremely low VPIP what is really recommended in this article? Am I missing something? Thanks.

#86 egzekutor8686, 02 Dec 14 13:58


#87 dtd2710, 15 Jan 15 09:50

i think these ranges are too tight, as i played >15.000 hands + see many pros video and saw people did not play as tight as that.

#88 kirane, 04 Feb 15 16:39

confirms i am a tight player but i deffo need to work on my actions vs players action/position if you catch my drift

#89 ilostmysoul, 05 Feb 15 04:04

I have a question: the Ax hands MUST be suited if I want to follow the chart? I've been folding A9o and A8o and etc, even when I'm CO and BU when I'm trying to follow this chart. I know it has some sense since you miss the flush part and kicker is low, but it's still an Ace and I think it'd be playable as long as pot control was possible.

#90 Lathdari, 27 Feb 15 10:42

AIUI, this strategy is aimed at playing hands where you'll know where you stand post-flop. The problem with A9o is that there's no potential flush or straight. When you hit the A, you're going to end up paying players with better kickers. On the rare occasions you hit the 9 for TPTK you're likely ahead, but many hands could beat you on the following streets. I agree that folding A9o from BU seems a bit extreme, but that is what the strategy says.

#91 kostan12ru, 28 Feb 15 22:03


#92 MGELO, 08 Mar 15 19:49

i like this

#93 kail73, 13 Mar 15 11:05

i like this

#94 mirth, 29 Mar 15 11:31

love the atarting hand guide, obviously occasionally mixing it up is good or your opponent always knows your range based on your position, but for starting play, this is great!

#95 sully2112, 24 Sep 15 08:51

For those of you that think this chart recommends play that is too tight, you are right. But you need to understand that when learning to play hold'em, especially NLHE, you need to learn many things quickly. For this reason, charts like these give you the opportunity to learn the value of very good hands vs mediocre hands. When you limit the trouble you can get into by playing A9o, you can concentrate on how your opponents are playing. Although reading players at micro-limits is usually not very informative, learning how to watch and learn is very important. These abilities are necessary when moving up to higher limits where the players are usually much better. Remember, this is for beginning players. After gaining some experience, you will develop your own starting requirements and playing style. Good luck on your road to profitable play....

#96 surabaya1209, 02 Oct 15 09:37

Mark this poker Article as .........

#97 deniavigacil, 25 Oct 15 18:08

this is great!

#98 moou1126, 01 Nov 15 07:01


#99 sadj1wa, 19 Nov 15 17:57


#100 samooplodilac, 22 Nov 15 14:48


My rank

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