You must do the things you think you cannot do.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Starting Hands for Solid No Limit Play

There is obviously some variability in hand choice depending on the opponents you are playing. For instance, against tight strong players, I would be hesitant to go all-in with anything other than a pair of Aces. That's a strong starting hand. If you're risking a reasonably small amount of money relative to your bankroll, then going all in with KK, QQ, JJ, and AK should be fine. Again, it depends on your opponents and how much you are willing to risk. Personally, I love players who are willing to go all-in with Ax, KK, QQ, JJ, especially when I have AA. It allows me to double up more often than not.

Anyway, here are the hands for solid no limit play:

1) AA - Yes, all by itself. A special hand that I try to play in whatever way will likely get me an all-in taker, or at least a heads up situation. If you're in early position, I would normally limp in unless I think I can get someone to take a bite. If I get bet into pre-flop, I always raise and hope for a re-raise.

2) KK, QQ, JJ - all strong, but I would be careful not to overvalue them against tight opponents. Against players spewing chips, go all-in. In any case, make sure to raise if you have a lot of biting/limping.

3) AK - "big slick." Rock this one when you can. I like going all-in against weaker opponents. But the hand is a bit overrated, in my opinion. Drop it if there's a lot of raising post-flop without a hit.

4) Face-10+ - I will call reasonable bets pre-flop with a face card and anything ten or up. Suited is an added plus. I'll pay around 3-5x the big blind.

5) Face-9 - I will do my best to limp in with this, even if it is suited (suited does not add that much value, and I would be wary if you do not have the suited ace in hand or on board). Don't pay more than 2-3x the big blind for this.

6) 99 and 1010 - Play these like (4) or (5).

7) Other pairs - If there are a lot of people in the pot, I may pay 3x the big blind. If I am first or if there are only a few, I try to limp.

8) Anything else - I probably wouldn't play much else. Save your money.


  1. Anon (and other readers who are leaning about poker),

    There are some great tutorials (including a few on NL starting hands) at

    I've read through alot of them and in terms of free content it is excellent reading.

    Keep up the good work,

    John (aka The Masked Financier)

  2. Looks like a good site.

    Thanks for the input