Hold'Em Starting Hand chart

The Hold'em starting hand chart is a useful table intended for use by beginner to intermediate players. The table ranks the starting hands and an explanation is given as to the proper position from which to play them. Many tables use the classifications Unraised, meaning that someone has bet, but no player has raised; raised, simply put someone made a bet, and another player raised; and reraised, means that someone has bet, another player has raised, and yet another player has reraised the pot before the betting has reached your position.

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The table of starting hands has become more or less the standard for knowledgeable players. There are exceptions to every rule, and it must be made clear that the chart is by no means the rule. There are too many probable hands, and situations in which you would play or fold those hands, for this chart to be seen played so rigidly. Other more rigid games, blackjack for example, have card charts that can be helpful for the players entire career. This chart should only be used until the player is comfortable with his or her own skill. And the player will need to follow or deviate from the list according to his or her specific game, the number of players, and how aggressive the game is. For the novice players, it is a helpful tool to learn the basics and get a real feel for the different types of poker.

The more common charts show the hands in descending rank of playability. Should you be dealt a hand at the top of the chart, it is usually more likely that you have been dealt a winning hand, while at the bottom, it is a less strong, possibly losing hand. Now, that is not to say that you cannot win with a bottom hand, or cannot lose with a top hand. Always remember, this is a pre-flop strategy, and there is a lot of game left after the hole cards are dealt. Each player that has designed a chart warns that they are not written in stone, merely to be used as a giude until you are more comfortable with the intricacies of play.

The chart often appears to be a valuable tool. However, most of the more experienced players label them as dangerous. Why is this? There are several reasons. First, although the values of the hands can appear equal relative to their position on the table, each of the hands have unique properties and hands in the same group can play quite differently.

Another reason you should only use the chart as a reference tool, is that far too many people adhere to it like scripture. They play only as the chart dictates, no matter the hand or situation. If they start with a high value hand such as A-A or K-K, they often keep playing, even after a disasterous flop is dropped. Now you're thinking what kind of flop could endanger the pocket Aces? Any flop with a pair of high cards, such as K-K-6 or Q-Q-7, because you will find the other players at the table are holding pocket Kings and Queens, and one of the preceding flops would benefit them more than you. Also, if the flop contains three different cards of the suit of clubs or spades for instance, and you are holding Ace of hearts and Ace of diamonds. This last flop has been no help to you.

The Hold'em starting chart is a helpful tool for the novice player, such as myself, but a more experienced player would rely solely on his gut and the feel of the table. The holdem starting chart should be used only as an early training tool, and as soon as you learn to trust each hand separately, you will find the game not so intimidating, and probably more fun too.