Texas Hold ‘Em: Drawing Hands

Get to know what the best starting hands in Texas Hold ‘Em poker are. The very basics of your drawing hands by listing what are widely considered the ten best Texas Hold ‘Em hands to be issued by the dealer.

#10: Ace-Ten

Ace-Ten is a very solid hand that can make a very solid straight if JQK hit the board, but you have to be wary of playing it too strongly, especially if the cards are not suited. If the play doesn’t work out brilliantly, you could end up with only a pair of aces, making you vulnerable on the boated.

#9: King-Jack

This is a fine hand to play in later positions, but can be beaten pretty easily. It wins just around 19% of the time if the cards are suited, but when they’re unsuited, that drops by 4%.

#8: Ace-Jack

This is certainly better played when suited, but many players still find success when playing unsuited, particularly if they throw a bit of bluffing behind it.

#7: King-Queen
Unless an Ace hits the felt, this is a strong hand in just about any position around the table, mores when suited, of course.

#6: Ace-Queen

This is the second best non-paired drawing hand and it manages to win about 20% of the time when suited.

#5: Jack-Jack

If there’s numbers on the board and no other face cards beside the jack, this is a very playable hand, particularly if the betting up until your spot has been soft. I’d recommend not raising with this one if you’re in an early position.

#4: Ace-King

This is a deceptively tricky hand and needs to be played carefully, even if it is the strongest of the non-paired drawing hands. You have to keep an eye on the flop and if it doesn’t give you any joy, don’t be afraid to back out. Chasing pairs after that point will only lead to heartbreak. Suited, these cards make it easier to get the nut flush.

#3: Queen-Queen

Aw, yeah, the ladies. Kings and aces are going to beat you, but if you’re looking at a board where there are no face cards and soft players going in, you’re likely to clean up.

#2: King-King

I’ve always called these “Texas Cowboys” while most people leave off the “Texas” part entirely, but it seems to fit in with the game. You really only have to look out for aces and if another King hits the board, you can really push the pot upward.

#1: Ace-Ace

This hand, also known as pocket rockets and bullets, is very likely to win on its own, particularly if there’s a mishmash of cards on the board.

Mind you, these are just the starting hands and what happens when the cards hit the felt is another matter entirely.