Texas Hold’em is the biggest version of poker on the planet and millions of people play online poker every day.
The game has been made famous in movies and TV shows, and the boom of televised Texas Hold’em tournaments means millionaires are created every week.
And here at Unibet we’re serious about Texas Hold’em. We hold the Unibet Open each year, stage other mega tournaments and commit ourselves to producing the best online poker experience in the world.
That’s why we’re proud to say our poker suite here at Unibet is the very best. You can play numerous tournaments of Texas Hold’em poker, as well as Omaha and Seven Card Stud.
If you’re new to poker then don’t worry. Everyone starts at the beginning and we’re here to help. That’s why we’ve created this online poker guide to help you work out winning hands in Texas Hold’em.
It may seem daunting to begin with but you will easily pick up which hands are strong, and which ones you should fold on. Learn about Texas Hold’em hand strengths here before heading over to our poker suite!
How does poker work?
To put it briefly, poker works by betting on the strength of the cards in your hand. There are numerous versions of poker but the general principles remain the same. You will have cards only you can see, called hole cards. You’ll also likely get cards that everyone can use, called community cards.
The aim of poker is to build the strongest hand you can out of the cards available to you. And then you bet on that strength in the hope of either beating your opponents or forcing them to fold, thus winning their chips.
The strength of your hand is determined by the combinations you can make. In general, the rarer the combination, the stronger the hand. For example, holding a pair of 5s in Texas Hold’em poker is more likely than holding three 2s. Therefore, the hand with three 2s would win.
This guide will take you through the poker card strengths so you know exactly what to look out for when playing Texas Hold’em. We will also briefly explain the rules of Texas Hold’em, so you can put your newfound knowledge into practice!
Texas Hold’em rules — the basics
In Texas Hold’em, you receive two hole cards at the start of the game. These are yours and no other player can see them. A round of betting will commence and everyone who wants to continue will have to call the minimum bet placed.
Three cards will then be displayed on the table. These are community cards and available to everyone to use. Cue a second round of betting.
A fourth card, called the River, is then produced and a third round of betting follows. Finally a fifth card, the Turn, is placed on the table and a final round of betting gets underway.
At this stage, you have two hole cards and five community cards. The aim is to make the best hand of five cards available to you.
For Example: Let’s assume there is only one other player left in the game. You have both bet the same amount on the final betting round and it’s time to show your cards. The community cards are: 3C 4H 4D QC AS. You have a 4D 9C in your hole, meaning your strongest hand of five cards is: 4D 4H 4D QC AS. One of your hole cards and four community cards make a three-of-a-kind of 4s, plus a Queen and Ace. You opponent had QD 7S in their hole, meaning their best final hand was a pair of Queens. You win the game!
What cards beat what in poker?
The example above shows how a more rare hand beats a more common one — and that is the basic principle of poker. Any three-of-a-kind, no matter how low the numerical value of the cards are, beats any pair.
So what happens with both players have a pair? Well, in this instance the player with the strongest hand-of-five still wins, but you have to work out which one that is. To do this, you need to understand that the numerical values on the cards carry weight.
Card strengths run as follows:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace
So let’s look at what happens when two players have a pair. Example: Your best hand after the Turn is 8C 8D 9D 2H 4H. Your opponent’s hand is 5C 5D QS KS AS. Your pair of eights beats your opponents’ pair of fives, regardless of how strong the other cards are.
Card values are vitally important in poker. At the lowest end of the scale, highest card can be the decisive factor in a winning hand. Example: Your best hand after the Turn is 3C 5D 8D KD AH. Your opponent’s best hand is 2D 4D 5C QS KS. You win the hand because you had an Ace, while your opponent’s highest card was a King.
Work out a winning hand in Texas Hold’em poker
So you now know the basic rules of poker and the fact you need a strong hand to win (unless you bluff, of course!). Let’s now go through the different hand strengths in poker and the combinations you’re hoping to get when you play poker online. We’ll start from the weakest hand up to the strongest.
Highest Card: This is the weakest hand in poker and not something you should be relying on to win you a game of Texas Hold’em. If you are pushing to win a hand on the highest card in poker, then make sure you’ve at least got a Queen, King or Ace in your hand. EXAMPLE: 7C, 8D, QC, KD, AH
Pair: Another weak hand but at least you have some strength, especially if the other player has nothing in their hand. A pair in poker is when you have two cards of the same numerical value in your hand-of-five. EXAMPLE: 7C, 7D, 7S, 4H, 3S
Two pairs: This is a lot stronger than a simple pair and can emerge, especially when the Flop is revealed. Two pairs in poker is when you have two separate pairs of cards: EXAMPLE: 7C, 7D, 8S, 8D, KD
Three of a Kind: We’re entering the middle-strength hands now that you can increasingly rely on to win you a hand. You have three cards of the same numerical value in your hand. EXAMPLE: 7C, 7D, 7S, KD, QC
Straight: You have five cards running in numerical order, from low to high. The suit of each card does not matter. EXAMPLE: 3C, 4S, 5S, 6D, 7C
Flush: All five of your cards are in the same suit. This is a strong hand. EXAMPLE: 6H, 7H, 9H, QH, KH
Full House: You have both a Pair and a Three of a Kind. This is a very strong hand and will most likely win a round. EXAMPLE: 3S, 3H, 9C, 9S, 9D
Four of a Kind: All four cards of the same numerical value are in your hand. This is extremely rare and the chances of another player beating you is slim. EXAMPLE: QH, QD, QS, QC, 6S
Straight Flush: Some of the best poker players in the world might never get a straight flush in their life. This is when all five of your cards are in a straight AND a flush. EXAMPLE: 9D, 10D, JD, QD, KD
Royal Flush: The best card you can have in poker but also the rarest, so don’t bank on getting this. You might never land a royal flush. This is when the flush runs from 10 to Ace in the same suit. EXAMPLE: 10C, JC, QC, KC, AC
What is the weakest starting hand in Texas Hold’em poker?
Statistically, the weakest starting hand you can receive in your hole when playing Texas Hold’em poker is an unsuited 6 and 2. Both cards are weak individually, and together they are also weak. Many players either check or simply fold if they receive this combination, without even bothering to wait to see the first three community cards, called the Flop.
What is the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold’em poker?
While players will usually fold at 2 and 6, they will also be secretly delighted with A and A appear in their hole. This is referred to as ‘Pocket Aces’ and is the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold’em. Of course, a pair of Aces can be beaten by another player. But it’s a good starting hand to kick off your game.
Something to remember in poker
One final thing to remember in poker. It isn’t always the case that a player has a very strong hand after the Flop. Many players will have a high card or a pair at this point, or be hoping to string together a flush or straight. So if you don’t have anything at the Flop, it doesn’t mean you won’t get anything on the River or Turn.
Use your growing understanding of poker to accurately predict when the bet and when the fold.