Worst Starting Hands in Texas Hold'em

Bad Poker Hands That Can Ruin an Otherwise Fun Game

A pair of aces is one of the best starting hands in Texas Hold'em, but do you know what the top worst starting hands might be? If you know which hands are "almost-always-fold 'em hands," meaning that you're going to likely fold when you have this hand, you can better evaluate what you're holding at the start of the game. Knowing how to spot these fold 'em hands are an important part of improving your poker game and holding your own among more experienced poker players. While your particular hand is never guaranteed to win or lose a round, when you draw a 2 and 7 or a Queen and 3, you'll want to know your odds, and these tips might help you avoid letting bad poker hands ruin your game. 

Most of the following bad poker hands usually lose at about the same rate.

01
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2 and 7

Playing cards with chips and dices.
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Holding 2 and 7 off suit is considered the worst hand in Texas Hold'em. They are the lowest two cards you can have that cannot make a straight (there are five cards between 2 and 7). Even if they are suited, they will make you a very low flush, and if either makes pairs, it is still a low hand. While there's always a chance that you could get pairs, these are low pairs, so use cautiously.

02
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2 and 8

The 2 and 8 cards are the same basic problem as 2 and 7, only you've got an 8 instead of a 7. An 8 is still pretty bad for a high card. Suited or not, this is typically a fold 'em hand. There's always a chance that you could get pairs, but again, these are low pairs.

03
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3 and 8, 3 and 7

The 3 and 8 or the 3 and 7 are better than having a 2 and 8 and a 2 and 7, but just barely. With the 3 and 8, you still cannot make a straight and the 3 and 7 straight has a low probability of occurring. Yes, as we know already, there's always a chance that you could get pairs, but don't forget, these are low pairs, so use cautiously.

04
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2 and 6

If you draw a 2 and 6, toss it. Even if you got a miracle flop of 3, 4, and 5, giving you a straight, if someone has a 6 and 7, you will lose to the higher straight. And, if you get a flush, someone will probably have a higher flush. Against only four players, this hand will lose about 90 percent of the time. As with the previous hands we discussed, sure there's a chance of the two pairs, but it's a low card; proceed with caution.

05
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2 and 9, 3 and 9, 4 and 9

If you a draw a 2, 3, or 4 paired with a 9, the only thing you have going for you is the 9. If the 9 pairs, you will have a middle pair that could still be beaten by anyone holding pocket 10s, jacks, queens, kings, or aces. No straights can fill the gap between these cards either. 

06
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2 and 10

Drawing a 2 and 10 hand has a legendary quality because poker pro Doyle Brunson captured two World Series of Poker Bracelets with it. On the face of it, it is not a good hand. Brunson is one of the all-time best players of the game. So unless you are a Texas road gambler who has logged thousands of hours at the table, you probably should not try and win with the Doyle Brunson hand.

07
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9 and 5

The 9 and 5 hand is another hand people play because it is fun and it is known as the "Dolly Parton," named for her popular song and movie in the 1980s. If you are playing to win, it is not a good idea to play hands just because they have a funny name. Over the long term, this hand is a statistical loser. This one is not your way to make a living in poker.

08
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4 and 7, 4 and 8, 5 and 8, 3 and 6

A troublesome trio of starting hands: If you pull a 4 and 7, 4 and 8, 5 and 8, 3 and 6, toss them. All of these hands will rarely win, especially when unsuited. Unless you're in a position of having to place a blind bet, which lets you see the first three cards dealt to give you a better idea of your odds, folding is a good idea.

09
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Face Card Plus Low Card, Unsuited

One of the most common mistakes beginners make is that when they see any face cards in their hand, they play it. Jack and 2, queen and 3, king and 4—whatever the case. Most of these hands are losers. They are considered junk cards. Randomly, they may win a few pots, but more often than not, this hand will lose you huge cash when you find the other player has a higher hand.

10
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Ace Plus Low Card, Unsuited

Another common beginner mistake is playing any ace. It may win occasionally, and heads-up it is a fine hand, but at a table of four or more, this hand should not be played if there is a raise in front of you. Chances are you are going to be outkicked if you are playing an ace and a low card.

A Game of Chance

It's important to remember that there are very few guaranteed winning or losing hands in poker. But, there are certain good and bad poker hands that can improve your chances of taking the pot.