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Part IIIA: Rule of 26: A Quick Guide to Texas Hold Em Poker Hand Selection

Author's Note: This is part of a larger course for new Texas Hold Em players. Course links are provided at the bottom of this page.

This quick guide will give you a more comprehensive view of which starting hands that its acceptable to play from which positions. This is a general rule of thumb, which will be modified by your own perception of what the in-game environment is like, but its an excellent tool to get you started.

  • 2=2, 3=3, 4=4, 5=5, 6=6, 7=7, 8=8, 9=9, 10=10, Jack=11, Queen=12, King=13, Ace=14
  • If Suited: +1
  • If Paired: +5

From Early position, SB, BB, P3, if you add the value of your two hole cards together, plus any suited or pair bonus, you need at least a total of 26 to play the hand.

  • Example1: You have KQ suited. K=13, + Q=12, + suited bonus=1, =total of 26. You have the minimum acceptable hand to play from one of these positions.
  • Example2: You have A10 off suit. A=14, 10=10, total=24 This hand is too weak to be played from the early positions.
  • Example 3: You have a pair of Jacks. Jack=11, + Jack=11, + pair bonus=5, total = 27 You can play this hand from an early position.

From the middle positions you need 22, 23 area.

From the late positions you need 18, 19 in tournament play, if you plan on raising from a good position with some of the weaker hands that might be included in the 18, or 19 zone. For cash games I would raise this number to 21, especially in Limit play, simply because the value of back position is too often diminished by the aggressive play that you see online. You can't be calling pre-flop raises with 8,10 off suit in a Limit cash game from any position at all and expect to see a profit.

Again this is an excellent tool for beginners to help keep them in the correct general zone for pre-flop decision making. Over time you will refine your own selections based on different elements of play which come to you with experience.

The following links for this poker course are listed sequentially. Beginners may want to go through in the order in which they are listed to get the whole rundown. More advanced players may want to skip around to the parts which hold interest for them.

Poker


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