When players start to play poker of any form, they want to know what the best hands to play are in order to give them the best shot to win. However, it is just as important to know what the worst hands are in any given poker game. As a result, today we will take a look at the worst poker hands in poker. This article will cover several game variations, not just Holdem.
Texas Holdem is by far the most popular form of poker in the world. Most anyone knows that a 7-2 offsuit is the worst possible hand in the game. However, there are other hands that players should really stay away from. Most any card above a seven with an unsuited deuce kicker is a poor starter hand. Even if you make top pair, you have no kicker. Also, any offsuit hand that doesn’t give you reasonable kicker potential or any type of straight potential should be outright mucked. I would play 3-4 offsuit long before I would play 9-2 offsuit.
In Stud poker, you want to stay away from random three card hands that do not include any high cards. By random hands, I am meaning those that do not have any type of straight or flush potential. This means hands like 2-5-8, 3-6-9, 10-5-2, 3-4-10, etc. Also, you want to stay away from hands where your outs are dead or very low. For example, if you have a pair of queens with a ten and the other two queens and two tens are showing, then you have exactly two outs to improve your hand. In this case, you should fold, even if you know you have the best pair.
Stud 8 or better has more hands that you really should stay away from due to the nature of the game. Pairs above eight with the exception of aces should be stayed away from as they at best can only get one half of most pots. Also, big straight draws do not play nearly as well in this game. You want hands that can scoop, and these hands don’t scoop. Also, you need to stay away from most eight-low draws. With the exception of a three cards straight eight or three suited cards to an eight, in most cases an eight low will cost you money.
For Omaha, you really want to stay away from hands that are not coordinated in some way. Hands such as 2-4-7-J with no suits provide you with longshot odds of winning the hand. Also, anytime you get three of a kind dealt in your hand, you need to usually muck this hand. Some people will play three aces and a random card, but they are hoping to get really lucky. Also, when you get four cards of the same suit, you are looking at a very poor starting hand.
In Omaha 8 or better, the above Omaha principles apply, but you also want hands that can work for both high or low. Except for rare cases, hands that only go for high are not as strong. Also, if you have a hand with weak low potential, such as 5-6-K-10, you really should get out of the hand and try again later.
Razz is a little more straight forward in the hands you want to stay away from. If you have a hand that includes any card above an eight, you really want to get out of the hand. Some players will play a face card with an A-2, A-3, or A-4. When you stay in a hand, with this type of hand, especially after a completion, you are telegraphing your play. Also, any hand with a pair, even a low pair is one you should muck. You have to have five unique cards to make a strong hand. While a low pair will occasionally win a Razz pot, it is rare.
When you are playing lowball poker, you want to really stay away from hands that require you to draw three cards. About the only exception might be if you are holding key cards such as 7-2 or 2-3. Even then, you must improve strong after the first draw to improve. However, drawing more than two cards will leave you open to having to catch lucky. Also, you want to stay away from playing hands that start out as an open ended straight draw. This includes hands like 2-3-4-5, 3-4-5-6, and 4-5-6-7. The obvious reason here is unless you are playing California lowball where straights don’t affect your hand, you lose eight outs from the start.
Knowing what the worst poker hands are in various poker games is just as important as knowing what hands to play. Playing poor hands in the hopes to get lucky or to be sneaky will usually leave you bleeding off chips to your opponent. Play solid, aggressive poker and you will be a long term winner regardless of the game you choose.