Winning in a poker game like Texas Hold ‘em depends on a number of factors. Each game is different, and in many cases, it’s not necessarily the best hand that secures victory. Being able to convince your opponents that you have a better hand than they do is often more decisive than the cards you’re actually holding. A set of cards that would constitute a winning hand in one game could be outplayed in another, while a relatively poor hand can sometimes win the day.
The best possible hands
The best possible full five-card hand in Texas Hold ‘em is a Royal Flush, closely followed by a Straight Flush and then Four of a Kind. If you’re lucky enough to hold any of these hands, then you’re highly likely to be the winning player in any given game.However, none of these could be described as the most common winning hand for the simple reason that they don’t turn up that often.
The hands most likely to win
In fact, the most common winning hand in Texas Hold ‘em is a Two Pair, which studies show is used to win games 31% of the time. The next most common winning hand is a Single Pair, with a 27% success rate. We then drop down to 12% for a Three of a Kind.
The less likely a hand is, the more likely it is to win. A Flush, a Full House or a Straight are all excellent hands, but they can be beaten. For this reason, and because they don’t turn up that often, they are only the winning hands in 9% of games each. At the other end of the scale, a high card decides the winner in just 2% of games, while the top hands mentioned above, the Four of a Kind, Straight Flush and Royal Flush all only have a 1% chance of turning up and winning the game.
Why percentages matter
Whether you’re playing around a table or at an NJ online casino, it’s important to understand both the odds of building a strong hand and the percentage chances of different hands winning. If you know what your chances are of getting the hand you want at different stages of the game, then you’ll have a better idea of whether to raise, call or fold. However, watching the other players to get an idea of what they’re holding is at least as important as rating your own cards.
The best possible starting hand is two aces, followed by picture pairs and an ace-king. Your chances of getting such a starting hand is only 2.5%, and remember this applies to your opponents as well, so don’t be disheartened if your cards aren’t spectacular. You have a 32.43% chance of making a pair on the flop, rising to roughly 50% on the river.
A good poker tip is that random lower cards plus some strong bluffing will win through in 35% of games. The worst possible starting hand is an unsuited 7-2 (suited isn’t much better). This is because not only are they both low cards, but they can’t be used to make a straight.
Finally, the median starting hand, with a roughly 50-50 chance of leading to a winning hand, is a queen and a seven, unsuited. Understanding your chances this way can improve your poker game and conserve your bankroll as well.