Ever wondered which are the best no-limit hold 'em starting hands - and why? Well, wonder no longer! We've created a list of the top twenty winning poker hands to give your game a rock-solid foundation. Let's take a look.
Texas Holdem Starting Hands Explained
Ranking the best starting hands in Texas Holdem isn't as straightforward as some think.
Most lists are based on a starting hands all-in equity against a table of random hands.
This isn't a bad starting point, but it massively oversimplifies the game of poker. You don't always see all five cards, and you aren't up against a full table of random hands the whole way.
All these lists show you what hands win a game called "full-ring all-in every hand."
A slightly more realistic scenario is to look at all-in equity against one random hand - this creates a slightly different list that favors pocket pairs.
But it's still a massive simplification of the poker strategy - you don't see all five cards, and people don't play random hands. A small pocket pair has great raw all-in equity, but getting to showdown to realize that equity, if you aren't all-in preflop, is another matter.
And to make matters worse, poker hands have a sort of paper-scissors-stone thing going on: AKs rank higher than 66 in terms of all-in equity, whether heads-up or full-ring. But 66 is ahead of AKs if they are against each other. JTs beats pocket sixes 52% of the time, but AKs beats JTs 62% of the time!
The solver plays against itself repeatedly until it finds the highest EV play (the one that makes the most money on average over the long run) for each scenario.
The EV of each starting hand depends on the position and bet size, but we can pick a standard open size of 2.5bb and look at the average for all the non-blind positions to generate a top twenty list of starting hands.
Perfect right? Well, not really. First of all, unless you can play like a solver post-flop you will not realize the same amount of EV from each hand.
And the solver plays against itself to generate its solutions - so unless your opponents are also playing like solvers, the real world will be very different, especially at lower stakes.
Solvers always use a bunch of simplifications and assumptions - they aren't really solving poker but rather a tiny part of it. The computing power doesn't exist to solve the whole game.
There are many "solved GTO preflop charts" available, yet no two are the same - because the output of a solver depends heavily on its inputted parameters.
Top 20 Best No-Limit Hold'em Starting Hands
For the reasons given above, we aren't going to rely solely on solver EV for our poker hand rankings. Instead, our list is somewhat subjective, using raw equity and solver EV as a starting point - but mainly based on what poker is like to play in the real world.
Without further ado, here are the top 20 best no-limit hold 'em starting hands.
1. Pocket Aces AA
Raw Equity v random hands: 85% heads-up (1st); 35% full ring (1st)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 9.35bb (1st)
It should surprise nobody that Pocket Rockets are the best starting hand in no limit hold'em. Against any random hand, they will win 85% of the time. Against A9o they will win 94% of the time. The best hand against them is the humble 87s, which still only has 23% equity.
Aces have over 20 times the expected value of the hand in tenth place on this list - in other words, they will be the source of a significant proportion of your poker winnings. You'll only get them once per 221 hands-on average, which is the same chance as any other pair - even if it doesn't feel like it.
But pocket Aces do have a downside. They are said to win small pots and lose big ones, leaving plenty of poker players broke. And this is true for several reasons. First of all, if you hold two of the Aces there are only two left in the deck, and so the chance of your opponents having a good hand like AK or AQ is greatly reduced.
Secondly, pocket Aces are massive favorites preflop, but post-flop, everything can change. At the end of the day, they are just a pair. A pair is the second worst hand category in hold'em. In single-raised pots, massive pots are usually won by a hand that beats a pair.
Don't get married to your hand. You are not entitled to win the pot every time you get dealt Aces: poker doesn't work like that.
The best way to win a big pot with Aces is to get all the money in preflop - that way, you'll always be the favorite.
2. Pocket Kings KK
Raw Equity v random hands: 82% heads-up (2nd); 29% full ring (2nd)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 5.83bb (2nd)
The Cowboys are known as "Ace magnets" by more pessimistic poker players. There is some truth to this - around 22% of the time, an Ace will come on the flop, increasing to 35% by the time all five cards are dealt. Ace high boards are the most common type of board.
But Pocket Kings are still massive favorites against every starting hand other than Aces and will be a massive contributor to the money you win.
Preflop, chances are you have the best hand. There's only a 2.5% chance someone else has Aces at a 6-max table and 4% at full-ring. Unless you are very deep stacked, you should be happy to get all the money in before the community cards are dealt.
As with Pocket Aces, you can play Pocket Kings from any position. You always want to be raised - and you welcome getting raised. Get the money into the middle preflop if you can.
Occasionally, your opponent will have Aces, but that is a classic cooler situation. You'll end up in the reverse situation just as often, so it has no effect on your win rate over the long run.
3. Pocket Queens QQ
Raw Equity v random hands: 80% heads-up (3rd); 25% full ring (3rd)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 3.05bb (3rd)
The Ladies take an uncontroversial third place. However, they are not quite at the same level as the top two entries. The solver estimates their EV at 1/3 of Aces and half that of Kings.
There's a 6% chance of an opponent having Kings or Aces in 6 max, rising to 9% in full ring. You can expect an overcard on 41% of flops - and 60% of the time by the river.
You can open Queens from any position, and you should always 3-bet for value against any position. They are usually a 4-bet for value against all but the nittiest opponent. However, if you are 3-bet by the blinds, it often makes more sense to call as you will be in position post flop, and by 4-betting you make their life a lot easier, as they can fold the hands you crush and continue with the hands you don't.
Facing a 5-bet shove 100bb deep with Queens is a tricky spot. Usually, you are calling around 80bb to win 200bb, which means you need to win around 40% of the time to break even. Most players do not have a 5bet bluff range so you are up against AKo at best.
Queens have just under 40% equity against a range of KK+ and AK, dropping to 30% if they only play AKs and not AKo. And against a range of KK and AA, Queens only win 18% of the time.
Once you take rake into account, you will usually lose money unless you have a good read on your opponent. In tournaments, where stacks are shorter, and no rake is taken from each pot, the situation is much more favorable.
4. Ace King Suited AKs
Raw Equity v random hands: 67% heads-up (8th); 23% full ring (4th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 2.21bb (4th)
Ace King Suited is a misunderstood hand. In raw equity, it beats a random starting hand 67% of the time. But it's very slightly behind a hand like pocket twos in a direct match-up.
AKs is the absolute best non-pair starting hand, and it has a few characteristics that make it a monster hand.
Firstly, in raw equity terms, you are only a big underdog to Pocket Aces (12% equity) and Pocket Kings (35% equity). Against any other pair, you are close to 50/50, even though you are a slight underdog - and you dominate any unpaired hand.
Secondly, you are holding one of the Aces and one of the Kings, meaning only three are left in the deck. This reduces the chances of your opponents holding either of the two hands you fear. You can - and should - play AKs aggressively preflop.
Ace King Suited realizes its equity well. You not only often have flush and straight outs, but you always have six outs to top pair. So even though it's behind pocket twos heads up, it's much more likely to make it to showdown.
You are a 55/45 favorite against top pair with just a flush draw - for example,on a flop of against a hand like . This is because you can either hit your flush or make a pair to win.
One easy mistake is thinking that because AKs are so strong pre-flop hands and always a fit for any opening ranges, you must triple barrel it even when it misses a flop that has smashed your opponent's likely range. Another is refusing to fold the top pair in the face of a turn or river raise from a straightforward opponent that just screams two pairs or better.
But you don't have to do this! You can just give up. The secret to profitable poker isn't winning every pot but winning big pots and losing small ones. There will often be a better spot just around the corner.
5. Pocket Jacks JJ
Raw Equity v random hands: 78% heads-up (4th); 22% full ring (5th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 1.49bb (6th)
The hand everybody loves to hate. The brothers, PJs, fishhooks, Jiggidies - whatever you call them, chances are you've heard somebody complaining about Pocket Jacks if you haven't done so yourself.
But you don't have to fear pocket Jacks! They are one of the best Texas Holdem hands. Just stop thinking of them as being like Queens or Kings and more like them being like Tens or Nines.
If you're holding Jacks, there's a 57% chance the flop will have at least one overcard. And by the river, you'll see an overcard 73% of the time.
And of course, even if the board stays low, there's still a 7% chance someone has a higher pocket pair in 6 max, 11% in full ring.
However, it's not all bad news. Over a quarter of the time, you will make a set or better by the river. Don't fear Pocket Jacks, but don't overvalue them either.
6. Ace King Offsuit AKo
Raw Equity v random hands: 65% heads-up (12th); 19% full ring (11th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 1.58bb (5th)
The unsuited version of Ace King comes quite low down in the raw equity rankings (11th full ring and 12th heads up), but the solver considers it to be one of the highest EV starting hands.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, there are the blocking effects discussed under the AKs entry - these allow you to play it aggressively preflop. And you should play it aggressively because it does not retain its equity well multiway.
Secondly, it might not be suited, but flushes are pretty rare. Instead, most pots in Holdem are won by pairs. And AKo always makes top pair, top kicker ("TPTK").
You'll flop TPTK with AKo 1/3 of the time, whereas even if you see all five community cards with two suited cards such as AKs, you only make a flush around 7% of the time.
You might not win too many big pots with it, but you can pick up a bunch of small and medium ones. Just be sure not to get too attached to your TPTK if your opponent is looking to play for stacks in a single raised pot.
One of the most useful heuristics in low-stakes poker is the Baluga Theorem: "You should strongly re-evaluate the strength of one-pair hands in the face of a raise on the turn." Extend that to include river raises as well - both are seriously underbluffed spots.
Of course, in 3-bet and 4-bet pots, the flop stack-to-pot ratio will be much lower. And this means it's much less risky to stack off with just TPTK. The risk/reward ratio is much more favorable. Another reason to play AKo aggressively preflop!
7. Ace Queen Suited AQs
Raw Equity v random hands: 66% heads-up (10th); 21% full ring (6th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.88bb (7th)
AQs might not get as much hate as Pocket Jacks, but it still gets a bad rap. It's a hand that can get you into trouble, but it's still one of the best No-Limit Hold'Em starting hands.
First of all, it's easy to play preflop. You can open-raise from any position. You can call a raise or 3bet with it against any position. It's too good to play as a 4bet bluff, but not quite good enough to 4-bet for value. So you simply call a 3bet whether in or out of position. You won't be in great shape against a tight 4-bet range, though.
Things get trickier post-flop, at least if you only flop a pair. As a preflop raiser in a single-raised pot, you can be pretty sure your top pair is the best hand, as most opponents would have 3bet Ace-King or QQ+. But if you're the caller - or you're playing for a 3- or 4-bet pot - you can flop a pair of Aces and still fear Ace King. Or make a pair of Queens and run into an overpair.
The real beauty of AQs is the possibility of making a flush or straights (and even the elusive Royal Flush). And as the saying goes, big hands play for big pots!
You are less likely to get suited hands like AQs than any other hand type - around once every 332 hands on average.
8. Pocket Tens TT
Raw Equity v random hands: 75% heads-up (5th); 19% full ring (10th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.72bb (8th)
People don't seem to get as het up about Pocket Tens as they do Pocket Jacks. Probably because they are kind of on the cusp between big and medium pairs, so most players are more realistic about them.
Pocket Tens have great all-in equity against every hand except higher pairs. Against a random hand, pocket tens win 75% of the time, but against a higher pair, you'll win less than 20% of the time. And there's around 10% chance of your opponent having a higher pair in 6-max (15% in full ring).
If you are up against a higher pair, you want to see all five cards. On the flop, TT has around 11% chance of making a better hand than JJ, increasing to 15% on the turn and 18% on the river.
You can expect an overcard on 70% of flops, rising to 90% by the river. But you'll flop a set or better around 12% of the time, rising to 25% by the river.
9. Ace Jack Suited AJs
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up 65% (11th); full ring 20% (9th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.51bb (9th)
Ace Jack suited will beat a random hand 65% of the time if it sees all five cards. It can be a bit of a trouble hand, though. If you make a pair of Aces, you might be outkicked, and a pair of Jacks won't be the top pair by the river a lot of the time. But that doesn't mean it's not a strong hand - you just need to be careful.
Ace Jack has good blocking effects, reducing the probability your opponents hold Ace-X hands and Pocket Jacks. This means you can be aggressive with it preflop, particularly against late position raises. Accept that if your opponent wants to play for stacks, you are usually crushed.
The fact is suited hands have good post-flop equity, and this makes them easier to play than their unsuited counterparts. Flopping a flush draw gives you about 20% extra equity.has 70% equity against a random hand on a flop of , whereas has just 52%.
You'll only flop a flush draw around 10% of the time, though.
10. King Queen Suited KQs
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up 63% (16th); full ring 20% (7th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.46bb (10th)
King Queen suited is a pretty hand to look at, and it plays pretty well too. It's the highest-suited connector that can flop an open-ended straight draw. A King high flush is not too shabby either - especially if the Ace comes on the board, giving you the nut flush.
But most of the time, you'll be making a pair, and KQs is pretty good at that. You'll make top pair just under a quarter of the time; a pair of kings is only outkicked by Ace King, and a pair of Queens by Ace Queen.
As we mentioned in the entry for Pocket Aces, the solver estimates the average EV of opening KQs to 2.5bb to be just 5% of the average EV of AA. So don't expect to win a fortune with KQs - even though it scrapes into the top ten it just isn't in the same league as the best starting hand in poker.
11. Ace Queen Offsuit AQo
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up 64% (14th); full ring 17% (18th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.39bb (11th)
It might not be suited, and the chances of making a straight by the river are about 5% - but AQo can still make strong pairs, and pairs are the most common way you'll win a pot.
Ace Queen Offsuit doesn't play very well multiway or in big pots unless the flop SPR is low. For these reasons, it's best to raise and re-raise with AQo preflop to try and thin the field and lower the SPR.
AQo is in pretty bad shape against the typical 4-bet range, so don't get too attached to it. It does work well as a 4-bet bluff, though, due to card removal effects - and the fact you can easily pitch it if your opponent shoves.
12. Ace Ten Suited ATs
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up 65% (13th); full ring 19% (12th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.31bb (13th)
Ace Ten is the highest Suited Ace combo with two cards to the nut straight. It wins 65% of the time all-in against a random hand.
Suited Connectors get a lot of love, but Suited Aces truly are some of the best no limit hold'em starting hands. If you flop a flush draw you also have at least one overcard out against the top pair.
Just watch out for paired boards! Sure they won't always have a boat - but if you're getting raised on the river, you need to take a breath and reconsider the strength of your hand. There is always a small possibility they are overvaluing a smaller flush and an even slighter possibility they are bluffing. But most of the time, they'll have it, and you need to make that hero fold - especially if they are a nitty player.
It can be hard to get paid when the flush comes in, as often this kills the action. This means it's usually a good idea to semi-bluff with your flush draws to get the money in and pick up pots by making your opponents fold.
13. Queen Jack Suited QJs
Raw Equity v random hands: 60% heads-up (outside top 20); 19% full ring (13th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.17bb (17th)
Queen Jack suited is a Suited Connector, and Suited Connectors are pretty interesting starting hands.
Heads up against a hand like Pocket Fives, QJs can expect to win 51% of the time it gets to showdown. However, that doesn't tell the whole story. Suited Connectors realize their equity gradually over the three streets.
On a random flop, QJs is 33%-67% underdog to have the current best hand versus Pocket Fives. But deal the turn and that increases to 43%. Then the river is dealt and the probability goes up to 51%.
What this means is that you want to see all five cards. And the best way to do that is to play in position. It's so much harder - and more costly - to get to the river when you have to act first every time.
14. Pocket Nines 99
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up 72% (6th); full ring 17% (17th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.31bb (14th)
Pocket Nines have a lot of raw equity: 72% against a random hand heads-up and 17% against a full table. This means they are great as a shove when you're short-stacked - but 100bb deep, they are a little trickier to play.
The harsh truth is that 80% of flops will contain at least one overcard, increasing to 93% once all five cards are dealt. Most of the time you will have a middling pair that will have to be played cautiously.
Of course, you will make a set or better a decent amount of the time - 12% on the flop, 25% of the time by the river.
If you're going to set mine, ensure you have the right implied odds. Although you'll hit around 1 in 9 times, you aren't going to get paid every time - and sometimes you will get beat anyway. Don't bother if the effective stack isn't 15-to-20 times the price to see a flop.
15. Ace Jack Unsuited AJo
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up 64% (15th); full ring 16% (not in top 20)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.17bb (16th)
Now we are really getting into the trouble hands. These hands are good but not great and can get you into a lot of trouble if you're not careful.
AJo is most likely to make you a pair, and if it's a pair of Aces then you can easily run into kicker trouble. If it's a pair of Jacks then you can easily run into overcards by the time you reach the river.
Preflop it's an open raise from any position at the 6-max table but on a full ring table, it's not worth playing from the earliest positions.
AJo makes a good 3-bet candidate because it doesn't fair well multiway. However, you need to be careful if someone in an early position has been raised before you. AJo doesn't do too well against a tight range.
It is a fine 4-bet bluff candidate though as it has good card removal effects but is very easy to fold to a 5-bet. Don't 4-bet bluff a nit who only 3-bets KK+ because that's a great way to waste a big chunk of your stack. Save your 4-bet bluffing for players who 3-bet too much.
16. King Jack Suited KJs
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up 63% (20th); full ring 19% (9th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.31bb (12th)
King Jack suited is a textbook example of a trouble hand. It looks good, but if you're not careful you can lose a big pot to a better hand. You can make top pair and still have no idea where you're at. Flatting an open-raise with KJs is particularly risky because your opponent could easily have a hand that dominates you, such as Ace-King, King-Queen, or Ace-Jack. And this is even more likely if you open-raise and get 3-bet. So be careful!
Of course, KJs is also a suited one-gapper, so you aren't only looking to make a pair. Just under 12% of the time KJs will make a straight or flush by the river.
But because it's King high and a 1-gapper rather than a connector, you are less likely to flop a straight or flop a straight draw. JTs will flop a straight or flush draw 34% of the time, compared to 25% for KJs.
King Jack suited is definitely one of the twenty best no limit hold'em starting hands - it's just one of the trickier hands to play.
17. King Ten Suited KTs
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up 62% (outside top 20); full ring 18% (14th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.2bb (15th)
There's not much to say about KTs that we haven't already said about KJs. Now there's an even bigger gap between the cards - but it's slightly more likely you'll make a straight with KTs than with KJs. This is because you can't make a straight without a Ten or Five, and as KTs has a Ten and KJs doesn't.
The solver calculates the average EV of open-raising KTs to 2.5bb to be just 2% of that of doing the same with Pocket Aces, which should give you an idea of the profitability of this hand. It's a nice hand to play, but you just aren't going to be winning a fortune with it over the long run.
KTs is a hand to be careful with - unless the flop comes Ace-Jack-Queen, of course.
18. King Queen Offsuit KQo
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up 61% (outside top 20); 17% full ring (20th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.15bb (19th)
King Queen isn't a bad hand, but it's not a monster either. It's okay when you're in the driving seat, but if you're thinking about calling with it - whether it's an open-raise or 3-bet - ask yourself what kind of flop you're actually going to be happy about.
With KQs you have suitedness to fall back on. On a flop of, has 46% equity against . has just 16%.
Even if you make trips, you can easily be outkicked. And if you make two pairs, the board will connect with hands like JTs or AJs.
With KQo you are looking to make a pair and win a small/medium pot. If the pot gets big you are in big trouble. You only have around a 7% chance of making a straight or flush by the river. And a one-hole card flush is dangerous if it isn't the Ace.
Luckily, a pair is the most common poker winning hand. Remember the mantra: big hand, big pot; small hand, small pot. And top pair good kicker is a small hand most of the time.
19. Jack Ten Suited JTs
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up 58% (outside top 20); full ring 18% (16th)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.12bb (outside top 20)
Once upon a time, before equity calculators existed, many poker players thought Jack Ten suited was the best possible hole hand. That might seem silly now, but poker was a very different game back then where intuition reigned. JTs can make a bunch of straights, as well as 4th nut flush and some middling pair hands that can often win small pots at showdown or easily be folded if there's too much action. In other words, it's super versatile and you won't get into too much trouble with it.
In fact, JTs has the highest probability of flopping a straight at 1.3%, compared to 0.6% for KQs and 0.3% for AKs. It has the highest probability of flopping some straight draw at 26% of the time. And you'll flop a flush draw around 11% of the time.
All in all, a lovely little starting hand - just don't overvalue it too much, as poker has moved on a lot since the early days!
20. Ace Five Suited
Raw Equity v random hands: heads-up (outside top 20); full ring (outside top 20)
Solver average EV (2.5bb open): 0.11bb (outside top 20)
Okay, so this one is a bit of a curveball. Yes, other Suited Aces that didn't make this list are better regarding raw equity and solver EV. And there's a case for pocket eights to squeeze into this list instead.
But Ace Five suited is a starting hand that you should be very happy to get, because it helps balance your preflop ranges and improves your board coverage. It is essentially a perfect 3-bet semi-bluff candidate. You can make better Ace-X hands fold (in particular A6s-A9s), which dominate you - whereas a hand like A9s gains nothing by folding out those hands.
You can even occasionally 4-bet bluff this hand. While it is not good enough to call a raise or a 3-bet, it is easy to fold if your opponent 4- or 5-bets you.
The fact you hold an Ace makes it less like your opponent does, which is good because A5s does not fare well against bigger Ax hands, but it performs pretty well against everything else. It has around 33% equity against Pocket Kings, for example.
In fact, A5s does slightly better against a tight 4-betting range of [AK, QQ+] than a hand like AQs.
And it's super versatile. A5s can make the nut flush and the wheel (i.e., Ace to Five) straight. If your opponent does call your light 3-bet, you're often in decent shape after the flop is dealt.
Should you go all-in with pocket aces or pocket kings?
Preflop you want to get all the money in with pocket kings and pocket aces. Unless you have a very small stack, it's not advisable to just shove all-in immediately, as everyone is going to fold. The usual sequence with 100bb stacks is raised 3-bet, 4-bet, 5-bet shove.
Postflop, you should be more careful: unless the stack-to-pot ratio is very low, then most competent opponents won't call an all-in with a hand that can't beat a pair.
Why are suited hole cards better than unsuited ones?
Suited cards allow the possibility of making a flush, which increases their playability post-flop. If you flop a flush draw, you have about 20% more equity than if you don't!
However, baby flushes are somewhat dangerous as it's hard to get action on a 3-flush board from worse hands.
A big reason it's best to stick to suited hands is that otherwise, you will end up playing too many starting hands. There are 4 combos of each suited hand but 12 of each unsuited hand. If you started playing all these unsuited hands, then you would be playing 4 times as many combos of unpaired hands as before!
What is the strongest Texas Holdem hand?
The Royal Flush is the strongest Texas Holdem hand. It's the Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit. You have about a 1 in 650,000 chance of flopping a Royal Flush. The probability of making a Royal Flush by the river is 0.0032% or 30,939-to-1.
How strong is a full-house based on poker hand rankings?
A full house is a very strong poker hand. It sits between a flush and four of a kind in the winning poker hand rankings. This means it beats high cards, pairs, two pairs, three-of-a-kinds, straights, and flushes - but loses to quads and straight flushes (including the Royal Flush).
Should you call someone who goes all-in when you have pocket aces?
You should be happy to call a preflop all-in if you hold Aces. Postflop, you need to be more cautious, as Pocket Aces are only a pair. And a pair is the second worst-hand type in Holdem.
So long as you practice proper bankroll management, there is only one situation where you should not call an all-in preflop when you hold pocket Aces.
This is on the bubble of a Satellite tournament (or other tournaments with a flat prize structure where the top X% of players all win the same prize). If two players have gone all-in, then there is no point in calling as either getting knocked out will guarantee you the prize.
Similarly, if you have a large stack and there are opponents with much smaller stacks then there's no point calling a shove from a player who also has a large stack - as you don't need to double up, you just need to outlast the short stacks.
But this is only in tournaments with flat prize structures. In every other situation, you should be thrilled to face an all-in preflop when you have pocket aces.
Ranking the top twenty best no-limit hold 'em starting hands is no easy feat. After the top three, there's a fair amount of subjective preference involved. But if you stick to these poker winning hands, you won't go far wrong.