May 19th, 2010
When deciding which starting hands to play it is very important to look around and see whether or not your hand is live.
Most weak pairs, straight draws, flush draws, etc., are playable when your cards are completely live.
For example, you start with (T♣ 9♠) 8♦. This hand is much stronger if all sevens are live, as compared to two of them being out. If all sevens and a jack are out, your hand is almost dead.
The only exception to this concept is when you hold a pair of aces or kings (when no ace is showing), which can be played in most situations even if the hand is almost completely dead.
To make it easier when deciding what to look for in your starting hand, we have compiled the following list of the best starting hands.
- Three of a kind (also called rolled-up trips). Starting with (A-A) A and on down.
- The big pairs AA-JJ. The hand is stronger when the pair is hidden, thus making the hand more deceptive to play against. Also, your kicker is important: a (J-J) A is stronger than a (J-J) 2.
- The big suited connectors, such as (A♠ K♠) Q♠, (K♠ Q♠) J♠ or (J♠ T♠) Q♠.
- The medium pairs TT-88 and medium suited connectors, such as (J♠ T♠) 9♠, (T♠ 9♠) 8♠ and (9♠ 8♠) 7♠.
- The big suited semi-connectors, such as (A♠ Q♠) J♠, (K♠ J♠) T♠ or (A♠ K♠) T♠.
The above-mentioned hands are all strong starting hands in Seven-Card Stud.