Poker hand names for Beginners - Golden Rule Of Poker guide to common poker hands

Don't know your bullets from your snowmen? Fear not, we are here to talk you through the most common poker hands and what their slang names mean...plus, we'll give you a quick guide on how to play the hand (though we do sometimes have our tongue firmly in our cheek!)

Pair of aces - AA - American Airlines, or Bullets, or Pocket Rockets. You lucky thing, whatever you want to call it. Could just as easily stand for "Always All-in" - because you always should be with these.

Ace King - AK - Big Slick. We prefer "Ah, Kerching!" because more often than not this hand will make you money. Classic hand to move all in with pre-flop at No Limit Holdem - you want to see five cards with this hand. Calling an allin raise with it is much more risky - you dominate lesser hands such as AQ, but are a small underdog to even the smallest pair preflop.

Pair of kings - KK - Cowboys. "Killer Kards" - you should make money if you can avoid the dreaded ace on the flop. Again, getting the money in before the flop at No Limit Holdem is the way to go - raise and re-raise at Limit Holdem, but be prepared to ditch the lovely kings if an ace falls on the flop.

King Queen - KQ - Marriage. Not a marriage made in heaven, as far as we're concerned - plays well suited in multi-way pots if it is cheap, and usually worth a stab at limit holdem, but don't move all in with this unless you are desperate.

King Jack - KJ - Kojack. Who loves ya baby? Not us, to be blunt. A classic "trap hand" at No Limit, much stronger in Limit holdem. Suited helps, but either way you need to connect hard with a flop or be prepared to ditch them.

King Nine - K9 - Canine. A dog of a hand. Bin it, or bluff with it. Don't marry it, it can be a real bitch.

Pair of queens - QQ - Dames or Ladies. She looks beautiful, but so often the dream turns sour on the flop. Get the money prefop at No Limit.

Queen Jack - QJ - Maverick. Needs a great flop to be a playable hand - fine to take a chance with if you can get in cheap and you know what you are doing. If you hit top pair, remember your kicker is a Joke(r).

Queen Seven - Q7 - Computer hand. Like most computers, it is unreliable and prone to crashing. Avoid.

Queen Three - Q3 - The Gay Waiters / Queens With Trays. Yeah, very funny - the hand is the real joke - don't play it, it will end in tears.

Pair of Jacks - JJ - Hooks. True fact : you cannot hit a flop you like with these, unless the third jack comes. There will either be an overpair, or a draw. If you don't believe us, just try it. Get the money in before the flop.

Jack Nine - J9 - T.J.Cloutier. Named after the famous poker player, you need to be good to play this profitably. Good as a deceptive hand, when you do hit a flop you are likely to get paid with it. Avoid drawing to the "idiot end" of the straight - imagine that someone else has AK and you will be right more often than not.

Jack Five - J5 - Jackson Five. Neither one thing nor the other - avoid.

Pair of Eights - 88 - Snowmen. They melt when the action hots up - fine to move all in with if you are in a tight spot, otherwise it is a case of "flop em or drop em" - see a flop, and if the third eight doesn't hit, you don't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning.

You'll come across others from time to time, but these are the most common ones - and now you know what they mean, and how to play them. Stick to quality hands and don't be seduced by the hand name - a tight aggressive style is how to make money at poker. UltimateBet is a good choice of poker room if you are looking for weak players, just make sure you raise when your hand is strong - don't worry about scaring the others out of the pot, you'll get called more than enough times to make a profit.

Make sure you read our page on poker rules for beginners, and you may also find our article on poker tells for beginners useful.

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