In poker, there are a total of 169 unique starting hands. However, because suits have no relative value in poker, many of these hands are identical in value before the flop.
For example, the two hands A♥ J♦ and A♠ J♥ are both considered ace-high hands.
There are 13 different ranks of cards, from two to ace. There are also four different suits: clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.
Therefore, there are a total of 52 cards in a deck.
The number of ways to choose 13 out of 52 cards is 52C13 = 2,598,960. This is the number of possible ways to be dealt a hand in poker.
However, not all of these hand combinations are playable. For example, a player cannot have two pairs or four of a kind.
Therefore, the number of playable starting hands is reduced to only 169 unique combinations.