Top Worst Starting Hands in Texas Hold'em

Poker Hands That Will Really Ruin Your Night

Sure, you know that a pair of aces is the best hand in Texas Hold'em, but do you know the worst starting hands? Knowing that these hands are almost-always-fold'em hands in hold'em is just as important to improving your poker game and not playing like a donkey.

Some of these "worst hands" are bad in the same way and will lose at about the same rate, so they're called ties, even when one is a slightly better hand.

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Playing cards with chips and dices.
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Holding 7-2 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 pairs, it's an awfully low hand.

Because it is the worst, some players will play it for fun, and in online games, it is known as "the hammer."

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This is the same basic problem as above, only you've got an 8 instead of a 7. Still pretty bad for a high card. Suited or not, this is a fold'em hold'em hand.

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Tie: 3-8 and 3-7

The 3 makes this hand able to beat the two above it, but with the 3-8 you still can't make a straight and the 3-7 still, well, just sucks.

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Even if the board gives you a miracle flop of 3-4-5, you will have a straight, someone with a 6-7 will have a higher straight. If you get a flush, someone will probably have a higher flush. Against even four players, this hand will lose about 90 percent of the time. Not good odds.

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Tie: 2-9, 3-9 and 4-9

The only thing these three hands have going for them over the hands above is the 9. If the 9 pairs, you'll have a middle pair that could still be beat by anyone holding pocket 10s, jacks, queens, kings or aces. But you might be fooled by a board filled with low cards into thinking you have the best hand and ultimately losing a lot of money. No straights can fill the gap between these cards, either. Beware.

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This hand has a legendary quality because Doyle Brunson captured two World Series of Poker Bracelets with it. But it's not a good hand -- Brunson is one of the all-time best in the game and unless you're a Texas road gambler who's logged thousands of hours at the table, you shouldn't try and win with the Doyle Brunson hand.

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Another hand people play because it's fun is the old 9 to 5, the "Dolly Parton." If you're playing to win, it's not a good idea to play hands because they have a funny name. That may be how you pick the winning horse in a race, but poker's a marathon, not a sprint, and over the long term there's no doubt this hand is a statistical loser.

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Tie: 4-7, 4-8, 5-8, 3-6

All these hands will rarely win, especially unsuited. Toss 'em. Just toss'em. Yes, even in the little blind. If you see two low cards in the hole, unless you're in the big blind and you can see the flop for free, fold.

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Face Card Plus Low Card, Unsuited

One of the most common mistakes beginners make is that when they see any paint in their hand, they play it. J-2, Q-3, K-4 whatever -- and most of these hands are losers. They're junk that may win a few pots but more often will lose you huge cash when you find the other player has a higher kicker and the winning hand.

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Ace Plus Low Card, Unsuited

This is another common beginner mistake, playing any ace. Again, it may win occasionally, and heads-up it's a fine hand, but at a table of four or more, this hand shouldn't be played if there's a raise in front of you. You're going to be outkicked a lot with Ace-little, and it's going to feel like a kick in the you-know-what when the other player shows his higher ace.