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# Texas hold ’em hand groups

posted in: Texas hold 'em

David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth [1] assigned each hand to a group, and proposed all hands in the group could normally be played similarly. Stronger starting hands are identified by a lower number. Hands without a number are the weakest starting hands.

Pre-Flop Basic Strategy
A K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
A 1 2 2 3 3 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8
K 2 1 2 3 7 7 7
Q 3 4 1 3 8
J 3 4 4 1 3
T 4 7 8 7 2 6
9 8 7 3 6
8 8 4 6
7 4 6
6 5 8
5 5
4 5
3 5
2 5
• Note: Unsuited on the bottom left, suited on the top right.

### Chen Point Count

There is a way to compute the Skalansky Malmuth table for those people who have trouble memorizing. The results are almost identical to those generated using the Chen Point Count.[2] To compute the point count the following formula should apply:

1. Take the high card and score it. A=10,K=8,Q=7,J=6,T-2 = 1/2 value shown.
2. If the 2nd card pairs the first the value is either twice the high card point or 5 which ever is greater.
3. If they are not paired then calculate the gap for the lower card and subtract off a gap penalty:.
1. For a 0 gapper subtract 0,
2. For a 1 gapper subtract 1
3. For a 2 gapper subtract 2
4. For a 3 gapper subtract 4
5. For a 4 gapper or more subtract 5 (includes A2,A3,A4).
4. If the cards are of the same suit apply a flush bonus of +2 pts.
5. If the cards are a 0 or 1 gap and the top card is a J or lower apply a +1 straight bonus
6. Round 1/2 point up

Then 12 – Chen Point Count in general is the SM hand grouping. Examples:

• 8♣ 8♠: 4 pts for the first 8, double for the pair is 8 Chen points. This puts it in S&M group 4.
• 9♣ 7♣: 4.5 points for the 9, -1 for the 1 gapper, +2 for the same suit and +1 for the straight bonus. Round up to 7 Chen points which is in S&M group 5.

The following hands are the exceptions (off by 1): 55, AQs, A9, AX, 96s, 32s, 98, 97, 76.

## Notes

1. ^ David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth (1999). Hold ’em Poker for Advanced Players. Two Plus Two Publications. ISBN 1880685221
2. ^ Lou Krieger, Hold’em Excellence, ch Power Rating ISBN 1886070148