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# Texas hold ’em hand groups

posted in: Texas hold 'em David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth  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. 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