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What Are The Worst Starting Hands in Texas Hold’em Poker?

Jordan C

Jun 2, 2023

2-7 Worst starting hand in Texas Holdem Poker

If you’re at all familiar with poker, you don’t need me to tell you that pocket aces form the best hand and 72o is the worst hand; that’s common knowledge. However, what many people fail to realise is exactly how bad these hands are and why we should avoid playing them at all costs. That’s why we’re going to take an in-depth look at each of the top 5 worst poker hands and see just how bad they are to play; hopefully, you’ll never be tempted into playing them again!

Hand #1 - 72o

One of the first things you learn in poker is that 72o is the worst hand you can be dealt. It has a very low high card value, it makes very weak pairs, you can’t use both cards to make a straight, and you can’t use both cards to make a flush. It’s practically the opposite of what you should be looking for from a poker hand. But how bad is it really? Some people might talk themselves into calling with a hand like this against a wide range, especially if they’re in the big blind because, hey, you’re getting a discount! Let’s see for ourselves how bad it is.
Texas Holdem 72 Offsuit EquityAs you can see above, even against a range as wide as the button opening range, 72o only has 30% equity against the range - which won’t be enough equity to call against any reasonable opening size. Plus, this kind of hand is very hard to play postflop, thanks to its lack of straight possibilities and suitedness, so it’s likely you’ll only be able to realise a fraction of the equity you have!

Hand #2 - 82o

This hand is arguably just as bad as 72o but is only ranked slightly higher thanks to the fact that 8 is bigger than 7. It comes with all of the downsides that 72o has - it makes bad pairs, and you can’t use both cards to make a straight or flush. This is another hand that should be an auto muck and doesn’t fair much better against a button opening range than 72o.

Texas Holdem 82 Offsuit EquityWhile it has slightly more equity at around 31%, this is only because 82o has a higher card than hands like 76s and 75s - the playability is just as bad as 72o, and unless you flop a pair, you’re going to find it hard to continue against any c-bet from your opponent. Even if you’re getting a discount, just save yourself the money and fold.

Hand #3 - 92o

The eagle-eyed readers amongst you will have noticed a pattern that all of these hands have a deuce in them. The deuce is the worst card in the deck, which makes it the lowest pair you can possibly make and the worst kicker you can have with a pair. Even if you manage to hit a pair with your 7, 8, or 9, you’re going to be losing against anyone else with the same pair. 

Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t want to call with these hands; I want to use them as bluffs so I can crush the souls of my opponents.” While your aggression is admirable, there are much better hands you can pick to use as bluffs. Let’s start by taking a look at the equity you’d have with 92o against a BB call vs BTN range.

Texas Holdem 92 Offsuit EquityYou may think that 34% equity isn’t bad, but you’re still going to need specific flops to help you out. Many of the flops you’ll see will be completely disconnected from your hand, giving you little equity against your opponent’s range and making it hard to pull off a poker bluff. It’s always better to bluff when you have some kind of backdoor equity. But with a hand as bad as this, the best you can hope for is to pray that your opponent folds.

Hand #4 - T2o

Doyle Brunson may have won two WSOP Main Events with this hand, but that doesn’t mean you should start including it in your opening range. The only saving grace this hand has is that it’s possible to make the Broadway straight with the 10, and if that’s the only positive you can find, you know this hand is bad!

Texas Holdem T2 Offsuit EquityWhile it has slightly more equity against the BB defend range than 92o had (around 35%), you’re still going to run into the problem that most flops will offer you nothing in terms of equity to win the hand. You’ll have to rely on pure aggression to have any hope of winning the hand, which is never a good position to be in. That’s why it’s better to pick hands that offer you at least a little bit of equity in the form of backdoor draws.

Hand #5 - 62o

While it may have a lower high card value than the rest of the hands on this list, we’re only ranking 62o #5 thanks to the fact you can make a straight using both cards. It may be a rare occurrence, but it’s better than nothing. Plus, it gives you the possibility of flopping straight draws that you can use to bluff with on later streets.

Texas Holdem 62 Offsuit EquityAs you can see, the hand has a lower overall equity against a BB defence range, but the upside is that you’ll be able to realise more of that equity when you flop a draw. Having the straight draw makes this hand better to bluff with than a total airball like 92o, as you actually have a slim chance of winning the hand. However, the likelihood of you getting the flop you need to run a bluff like this is so low, and the value of the hand so bad that you’re better off avoiding it altogether.


No matter what your superstitious friend may say, none of these hands are “lucky hands” that are “so bad they’re good” or any of that nonsense. These hands are straight-up garbage and should be treated as such. And what do we do with garbage? We throw it away! So, the next time you’re dealt one of these hands at the table, do the sensible thing and just muck it. Your bankroll will thank you!

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