Top 10 starting hands in Texas Hold ‘Em

By Robbie Strazynski
November 29, 2009

Top 10 starting hands in Texas Hold ‘Em

Some people might disagree with me but hey this is my blog.


1. Ace-Ace

A pair of aces, also known as “pocket rockets” (and sometimes “American Airlines”) is the best starting hand for Texas Hold ‘Em.

2. King-King

Second on the list is a pair of kings, also known as “cowboys” or “King Kong.”

3. Queen-Queen

A pair of queens, also known as “ladies,” rounds out the top three best starting hands for Texas Holdem Poker.

4. Ace-King (suited)

This is where people start to disagree. A suited ace-king, also known as “big slick,” is my pick as the fourth best starting hand for Texas Hold ‘Em.

5. Ace-Queen (suited)

The suited “big chick,” or “little slick,” the nicknames given to a pocket ace-queen, is fifth on the list.

6. Jack-Jack

A pair of jacks — also known as “hooks” or “fishhooks” — checks in at number six on my list.

7. King-Queen (suited)

A suited royal couple, king-queen, is next in the list of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker’s most powerful starting hands.

8. Ace-Jack (suited)

Nicknamed “blackjack” for obvious reasons, and sometimes called “ajax,” the ace-jack combo rates eighth.

9. Ace-King (offsuit)

Only one offsuit non-pair makes it into my list of the top 10 best starting hands for Texas Holdem Poker — the “big slick,” an ace-king.

10. 10-10

This is the only starting hand in the top 10 without a face card: a pair of tens (aka “dimes”). Some players believe that a suited king-jack is a stronger starting hand.

Written By.

Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded in 2009. A veteran poker writer and presenter, Robbie hosts The Orbit, a first-of-its-kind roundtable discussion live broadcast on featuring poker’s biggest names and personalities, as well as the CardsChat Podcast. In 2019, Robbie translated the autobiography of poker legend Eli Elezra (Pulling the Trigger) from Hebrew into English. Robbie’s “Running […]


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