Starting Hands Percentage Recommendations

If you're just starting out playing poker and still learning the fundamentals, one question you might have is how many hands you should play before the flop. Many players think there is a strategy or perfect method in order to increase your odds of winning. However, the truth is that poker is a game that involves a whole lot of luck, and it's always changing. There are some different techniques that beginning players might find helpful.

Cash Games

When you're playing 9 or 10 handed cash games, it's a good idea to play less than 20 percent of your hands. In fact, you could go as low as 10 percent of hands before the flop and although the stakes would be lower, you could win more often. For 6 handed cash games, you can play a little more loosely. It's important to attempt to act last after the flop because the position will give you better odds.


When you're playing tournaments, you might want to start out playing tightly because the overall wins aren't going to be as good as you want. However, as the game continues, you'll have better chances to pick up greater pots, justifying playing more often. You'll also want to keep an eye on your implied equity so you can use that to gauge your moves.

If you're playing sit and go tournaments, you'll probably also want to start tightly, but you should gauge the situation before making a decision. Most importantly, you'll want to pay close attention to all of the other players and the possibilities and learn how to judge what to do in an instant. This will increase your chances of making great decisions and winning more often.

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