The Four Different Types of Poker Hands and Their Objectives
Now that you are familiar with the Starting Hands chart and how to utilize it, let’s look more closely at the different hand types that are included in the chart and what we are trying to find with each type of hand.
Each hand in the beginning hand chart can be categorized into one of the four groups listed below.
Let’s examine each in turn.
Pairs in the big pocket: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT
Seeing a large pocket pair when you glance at the cards you were dealt is always satisfying. These are strong hands that should be played aggressively, but you should also be mindful that there is a greater risk you won’t win the pot if you play them poorly.
With AA or KK, there is a strong possibility that you hold the better hand before the flip. Someone can only be ahead of you before the flop if they hold a higher pocket pair.
With huge pocket pairs, our initial goal is to narrow the field, and we achieve this by playing aggressively before the flip. If we raise or re-raise, most lesser hands will fold because we want most of our opponents to fold. With a huge pocket pair, we should ideally play against no more than two opponents.
Big pocket pairs lose a lot of their strength when played against many opponents since there is a higher likelihood that one of them will get cards to improve their hand beyond your pocket pair.
By just calling the large blind, too many novices leisurely play these cards and let many opponents see the flip. This will result in several poor beats in your pocket. An 8-6 that was let to limp in and make two pairs on the flop beats an ace!
In addition to safeguarding our premium hand by reducing the field, being aggressive and raising before the flop also allows us to increase the pot size while holding a solid hand.
What then are we seeking on the Flop? Naturally, getting three of a type on the flip would give us a monster hand, but this only occurs around 1 out of every 8 times.
All we are looking for from the flip are cards that are lower than our pocket pair and no fright cards that may enable our opponents overcome us and take the lead since we are (in many situations) already ahead before the flop with our large pocket pair. An ideal scenario would be for cards other than our pocket pair to appear on the flop and for our opponent to get top pair, in which case he could believe he is ahead and be ready to place a large bet.
Example 1: Holding Kclubs, Kdiamonds, and the flop lands at 2 spades, Ahearts, or 9 clubs, anyone holding an Ace immediately takes the lead, and because your opponents have already called a raise to play this hand, the likelihood that they have an Ace in their hand is strong.
Example 2: The flop comes down 7 spades, 8 spades, and 9 spades, and we hold Aspades Aspades. Given that there are both Straights and Flushes on, this flip raises serious concerns.
If a large bet is placed and you believe there is a risk you may lose, even if it may be difficult to put down in some circumstances, you will have to think about laying down a huge pocket pair.
Continue betting aggressively if you think you are still in the lead after the flop so that your opponents are forced to decide whether to pay to continue or fold. If they are on a draw and you give them free or inexpensive cards on the turn or river, they could bust you.
If a fright card appears, you will need to select a choice. Make a stake to observe how your opponent responds, but be ready to fold your hand if they start raising you or calling you rapidly since they could have you beat.
High Cards: AK, AQ, AJ, etc.
Any two unpaired cards that are both a 10 or higher are considered high cards.
These hands may once more be good hands, but anyone holding a pocket pair would be ahead of them before the flop. To get the greatest hand with these hands, you need to hit cards.
When the flip comes down, we are hoping to strike top pair, so if we are holding AQ, we want either an Ace or a Queen to be the top card.
In the scenario above, if the flop came down K Q 3, you would be extremely cautious of anyone holding a King since you don’t want to end up with second pair.
A strong flop might provide you straight draws, and if you have high cards that are in your suit, you can also be in position for a strong flush potential.
In these hands, cautious aggressiveness is the way to bet. We are aware of the benefits of playing aggressively, but we need also be on the lookout for hands that could be able to defeat us with these kinds of cards. Even when we struck top pair in the aforementioned scenario with a pair of Queens, we could still trail someone who has pocket Kings or Aces.
99, 88, 77, and below Small Pocket Pairs
These are good hands to play, and you could be ahead before the flop, but they are also weak hands that might be challenging to play after the flop.
In order to make three of a kind, we need to hit a third card on the flip. There is a one in eight chance of hitting, but when we do, we have both a very powerful hand and a powerful hand that isn’t immediately apparent.
Suppose we have 8 spades and 8 hearts and the flop is Ahearts, 8 diamonds, and 5 clubs. Anyone holding top pair with Aces will be quite secure in their position and willing to contribute money to the pot without realizing that they are actually far behind your three of a kind.
In this kind of scenario, you will discover that your opponents will make mistakes, and as you are aware, we profit from their errors. Any player holding an Ace in their beginning hand would have struck three of a kind and be ready to invest a lot of money into the pot, which you are going to win with your cloaked complete house of 8-8-8-A-A. Therefore, the perfect turn or river card to come above would be another Ace.
If your three of a kind is not hit on the flop, you probably won’t have the best hand anymore, especially in a pot with many players. In this case, we would want to fold to any significant wagers.
Don’t chase the hand; I advise folding your hand to any respectable bets if you don’t hit your three of a kind on the flip.
Only the following circumstances would differ from this:
If you hold 8-8 and the flop comes down 9-6-7, you have picked up an open ended straight draw, and every 10 or 5 that falls on the turn or river turns your hand into a straight. This is the case if your hand has gained additional “outs” (possible cards that might fall that can strengthen your hand).
If all the cards on the flop are lower than your pocket pair, you may still hold the greatest hand, but watch out for possible straights.
Depending on how much your opponent is betting in the aforementioned scenarios, staying in the pot can be the best course of action.
Our sketching hands are divided into three groups.
- Suitable connectors, such as 9spades and 8spades
- Suited Gapped Connectors, for example, Jhearts, 9hearts
- Suited Ace’s example: Aclubs 4clubs
With these hands, we want to enter the pot for a low cost in order to see the flop, and we want to play in a multi-way pot (with numerous players) so that the pot is a sizeable one. This is because, while drawing hands, we will take the Pot Odds into account; you will learn more about this topic later in the course.
Connectors that are suitable, such as 9 spades and 8 spades
Despite the fact that each of these cards isn’t particularly strong on their own, they can increase our chances of getting a straight, flush, or even a megahand like a Straight Flush.
By participating in the hand, we have the opportunity to flop other hands, such as two pairs or three of a kind, if the flop is favorable to us.
Connectors with a Gap, such as Jhearts 9hearts or Jdiamonds 8diamonds
Similar to suited connectors, a gapped connection has a space between your hole cards (not consecutive). There aren’t many Suited Gapped Connectors on the Starting Hands chart because, while the principle of playing them is the same, they are marginally weaker than Suited connectors.
Suitable Aces, such as: Aclubs 4clubs
When three cards of the same suit appear on the flop, turn, or river, we hold the best flush imaginable (with the Ace high) and have the chance to draw a nut flush.
However, you must play these hands extremely cautiously. Ideally, we would hit 2 pairs or better. Our hand is still quite weak if we pair our Ace on the flip; anyone else who has also paired their Ace will beat us due to the low kicker card.