Texas Hold’em starts with only two cards dealt out of a a 52 card deck. Ignoring suits, there are 169 possible combinations, taking suits into account there are 1326 possible starting hands. But which ones are the best?
Pairs in poker are extremely valuable, given that they already have a value even before the flop is dealt. A pair of cards in the hand already also greatly increases the chance of receiving a three of a kind, a high value hand. As pairs go, aces are the highest value cards and as such, are the highest value pair as well. A dealt pair is typically called a ‘pocket pair’ so two aces are called ‘pocket aces’.
Next to pairs, high value cards are typically valuable. Being dealt a ten and a king, for instance, increases the chance of a high value pair being revealed during the game. A king revealed in the river, for instance, will give the player a pair a kings. When there is nothing else in the revealed cards, then a high card can win the pot as well.
Cards in sequence are valuable for the possible ability to create a straight, a very valuable hand. In most cases it is worth keeping in sequence cards, even if they are low just for the possibility of a straight. Usually upon seeing the flop a player will be able to see if a straight or other profitable hand is possible and can then decide to bet or fold.
The last thing to consider is cards in the same suit. these might allow a flush, five cards of all the same suit.