When playing texas holdem, one of the most important elements of the game is knowing when to play your starting hand or not. Learning to choose whether to play a hand is difficult, and memorizing the most powerful starting hands can be very helpful.
As a general tip, a suited hand of a lower rank can be considered better than an unsuited on that is higher, so always give more value to suited cards. Also remember that most of the top hands are subject to opinion and style of game, and that what I have written is a fairly generally accepted list.
The very best hands you can get dealt in holdem go are AA, KK, AK, KQ, and AQ. You should always play with these hands, even if another person is betting fairly high.
The Very Good
With a QJ, QQ, AJ, KJ, QJ and any pocket pair (higher is better) you are guaranteed a fairly good shot of having one of the strongest hands. It is recommended to almost always play these, unless your better judgment tells you other players may have better.
The Eh, its Good
Qx, Ax, and Kx are all considered good starting hands, especially when suited. Deciding whether to play in a pot with these should be straightforward; stay in if there is light or little betting, and stay out if there is heavy betting. I for one believe J10 can be a very powerful combination in that it is the highest 2 cards you can get that are open-ended as far as the straight.
The Not Quite Good
Q10 and any suited connector. You should use some caution when playing these because they lose all value after a bad flop. If the pre-flop pot is easy to get into, go ahead and use these hands.
Any other combination of cards will usually not win many pots. These cards are left for the lucky people to bet on or to be chosen based on your situation in the game. I mean, if Doyle can win twice on 10-2, they can’t be that bad can they?
2/7, 2/6, 2/5, 2/4, 2/3 (unsuited), 3/7, 3/6. 3/5, 3/4 (unsuited). These cards are considered rags, and should be avoided at all times. I can’t even think of a good reason as to why you would play these, unless you can feel luck on your side.