After you have got your two cards, you need to decide whether you have a chance to get anything with them or not. Whether it’s useful to put more money into this game or not.
Firstly, there are certain cards you should always play (or Vegas88). Cards Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, Nine…They are all suited cards, which is very important. That is if you want to get a royal flush. When you see an Ace, for instance, you will see a 3 of spades. Then there are the rest, starting from 2. The reason they are all suited is the probability of them coming in is very high. After all, you only have one chance to hit. There are only 4 face cards and 8 suited cards. That leaves 16 unsuited cards and muy mah!
Should you play all of the 16 unsuited cards? I’ll give you a hint: they aren’t any good. Rather than all of the 16, play only 8. That leaves you with a chance of hitting 21.
Secondly, there are all the face cards, from 2 to 9. They are all ordinary cards. Play all of the 8 and leave the rest out. You might as well play all the 22 out there, since you have a better chance of flopping a Royal Flush.
Thirdly, with low pocket pairs in Texas Hold’em, you need to play any Ace, King or Queen, as long as they are suited. Why? You could have as many as nine pairs of Aces left to be played. If you have any two Aces, you are set to go. Similarly any pair of King’s is fair game. The same principle applies to Queens, Jams and Kings.
If you want, you can include Kings in your hand, even the Jack is if you have an Ace for your first card. This way you would double the possibilities of your winning hand! However, I am not convinced to include Kings in your list. I think there are other factors involved. You could be holding an Ace, but there are three other cards to come out of the deck, so it is unlikely that you will have two cards for that next card. In any case, relying on these cards to complete your hand and beat the dealer is not very probable.
When you are just starting out with the game, you can get stuck with low value cards and not realise how low your hand is. You might think you have a good hand when really your hand is very weak and should simply fold. But what if there was a lot of money in the pot and the other person draws out on you? You would be outved by two aces anyhow. Therefore it is nearly impossible to make money from any but the strongest hands.
To drive home the importance of not playing low value cards, each hand has a certain chance of being the best hand. The more you look at them, the more you will recognise that they are not as strong as you might think. If you are not drawing for a straight, flush or more than two pair, then you should consider analysing the way you are playing the cards. Maybe you are making an error rate, or not playing cards in the best possible way.
Playing and analysing your hands will be a key technique for making money with poker. This is the one resource that you cannot improve without!