Various “experts” may disagree on the relative importance of different factors in becoming a successful Texas Hold ‘Em player, but high on everyone’s list is the ability to make correct decisions about which starting hands are worth playing.
While one can err in the direction of being too tight (i.e., playing too few hands), most observers would agree that beginning Hold ‘Em players are much more likely to err in the opposite direction and play too many hands. In all poker variations, especially at the lower limits, the newcomer will pay a higher penalty for being too loose than being too tight. Given this proclivity to play too many hands and the unpleasant consequences of this behavior, it is probably excellent advice for the beginning player to pay special attention to the task of identifying hands that have the best chances of winning the money. There will come a time when other factors, such as the desire to be deceptive, the need to “play the players,” post-flop strategies, the significance of position, the importance of “table image,” etc., will need to be mastered, but these are complex and subtle issues that are very difficult to quantify.
Fortunately for the novice, one skill that lends itself to fairly easy quantification is the question of determining worthwhile starting hands. What follows is a very easy method of using simple math to objectively identify winning hands.
STEP ONE: Add the value of your two cards using the scale below: