At The Poker Tables: Beginners Series 003 - Starting Hand Selection (Part 2)

In the first part of this article, we looked at the most premium starting hands that you can be dealt at the poker table. It is true that if you only played these hands then, at most lower stakes tables, you would probably be winning poker player. However, these only represent a small-ish percentage of the hole cards that you will be dealt. If you want to maximise your profit against weak opponents, or you find yourself up against good tight-aggressive players, or you just want to get in on the action and don't feel like grinding it out, then you will need to be able to play the rest of the cards you will be dealt.

The following hole cards can definitely be profitable for you at the poker table, but you need to know how, when, where and against whom they are best played.

Middle Kicker / Weak Kicker / Offsuit Ace+x (Referred to as Ax)

When new players first start playing poker it is very common for them to overplay their Ax hands and get into all kinds of trouble. Care is needed before poker chips are committed with these types of holdings for the following reasons:

1. Weak Aces often win small but lose big

Aces are scary. When aces come on the flop betting action often stalls. This means that even if you hit your ace (only approximately 16% chance) you are not that likely to get opponents pushing large stacks of poker chips in your direction. Plus your weak kicker increases the chance that you will actually be dominated by a better Ace - which leaves you with just a 24% chance of coming out on top by the river. In these situations, it is also extremely difficult to get away from your hand, which is often top pair, and this can lead to you donating poker chips unnecessarily to a better Ace.

2. They play very badly against a large field

Ax hands are, realistically, only going to be making a pair most of the time. The chances of you hitting a straight are tiny


Beginner Series Poker Basics

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