Limit Texas Hold'em: Basic Starting Hands

One of the most valuable skills in Limit Texas Hold'em is the ability to be very selective about the hands you start with.

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding which hands to play:

  1. Is the table tight or loose?
  2. How many players are sitting at the table?
  3. How many players are in the pot when it is your turn to act?
  4. Has the pot been raised? If so, from which player and which position?
  5. What is your position?

We recommend you try a Hold'em odds calculator to make sure that you don't waste money by selecting starting hands poorly.

How Many Players Are in the Pot Before You?

If many people see the flop there is a greater chance for you to play more drawing hands, such as 7-6s or small pocket pairs, since these types of hands increase in value in multi-way pots.

At a short-handed table with six or fewer players, big cards increase in value. Even aces with a lower kicker than 10 usually become playable.

In a full ring game, hands like A-T, K-T, Q-T decrease in value as these can easily become trap hands, meaning they make second-best hands.

More players generally result in bigger pots because the more players in the pot, the higher the pot odds become.

For example, you can call before the flop with a hand like 7-6s or small pocket pairs if you think there will be six players or more in the pot.

If there are only two or three players in the pot, 7-6s or small pocket pairs are not good hands to enter the pot with. You want to ensure you get a good price on your drawing hands.

Starting Hand Guide (regular full table, 8 to 10 players)

Glossary of Abbreviations
RFI Raise when First In. If no one has called or raised in front of you, you should raise. You do this in order to take the initiative in the hand and/or because of the possibility that you might "steal" the blinds.
R You should Raise no matter what has happened in front of you.
R1 You should Raise when there is no more than One player in the pot or you are the first one in.
C No matter how many players are in the pot you should Call.
C1 Call only if there is at least One other caller in front of you. If there were no callers before you, you should fold.
C2 You should Call if there are at least Two callers already in the pot.
C3 You should Call if there are at least Three callers already in the pot.
RR You should Reraise.
F You should Fold.
LL Refers to a Lone Late position raiser.
Limit Texas Hold'em Starting Hand Guide
Group A Hands Unraised Pot Raised Pot
Group B Hands
A-K R RR1, C
Group C Hands
9-9 RFI (late position), C C2
A-Q RFI (late position), C C2
A-Js RFI (late position), C C2
K-Qs RFI (late position), C C2
K-Q RFI (late position), C F
Group D Hands
8-8 RFI (late position), C3 C4
7-7 RFI (late position), C3 C4
6-6 - 2-2 C3 C4
A-xs C3 C4
K-Js C3 C4
K-Ts C3 F
Q-Js RFI (late position), C2 C4
Q-Ts C3 F
J-Ts C3 C4
T-9s C3 C4
9-8s C3 C4
8-7s C4 C4
7-6s C4 C4


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