There are 1326 possible starting hands in Texas Holdem. Of course, every player wants to get aces and kings, the “premium” hand. However, there are only 12 such combinations, which means that mathematically you’ll receive them once in 110 hands, meaning you have to somehow get around it and play with weaker cards in hand.
The choice of the hand determines how easy your decisions in the postflop stage are going to be. To simplify the understanding of the game for the beginners, special charts were created.
Starting hand charts are special tables or diagrams which show what hands to play on the preflop stage. Those charts prevent beginners from playing with “unwanted” hands and losing a lot of draws on the postflop stage.
Starting hand charts combine all of the possible starting hands. They are split into two categories:
S – suited, meaning all cards in the hand are of one suit;
O – off suited, meaning cards are of different suits.
Usually, in those charts, the hands in the white cells are not recommended to play. Contrary, hands in the colored cell are “allowed” to be played. A good thing about charts is that they provide guides on how to play with certain hands.
Well-known charts are:
9-MAX – a high-stack chart suitable for cash games with 9 players present and early stages of the tournaments.
6-MAX – in cash games 6 players if often the maximum amount the table allows. This makes the game more fast-paced and requires its own starting hand chart.
MTT Charts – there is now a single chart for tournament games, however, the are charts with recommendations.