A lot of players know exactly which hands they really want to get when playing Texas Hold’em, but are not very good at spotting the bad hands that they should discard as quickly as possible. Beginners often engage in wishful thinking and over value their cards, party because it’s more fun to stay in the hand than folding and being left out of the action. Also, it’s always easier to remember that one time when you held on to a poor hand and it turned into a straight than all the times when it turned into diddly-squat.
In this article, we will take a look a some really bad starting hands in Texas Hold’em. The next time you feel like you want to hold on to one of these, ask yourself if you have some particularly good reason for doing so. In tournament play, it is often necessary to take more risks than in cash games, especially towards the end of a tournament.
When in doubt, fold.
- 2-7This is regarded as the worst possible starting hand in Texas Hold’em. It is the two lowest card that can’t even form a straight together. Even if they are of the same suit, you can only hope for a low flush. If one of them pair up, it will be a low pair. In poker lingo, 2-7 is known as “The Hammer”.
- 2-8The 2-8 hand has the same problems as the 2-7 hand, and sitting with 8 instead of 7 doesn’t improve your chances of winning in any significant way.
- 3-83-8 has the same problems as 2-7 and 2-8.
- 3-7This hand can turn into a straight if you’re very lucky, but even then it will be a low straight.
- 2-6This hand can form a straight, but it will require a lot of luck and anyone with 6-7 will beat your 2-3-4-5-6 straight. 2-6 of the same suit can turn into a flush, but it doesn’t take much for someone to beat it with a higher flush.
- 2-9This hand can feel tempting because of the nine, but it can’t even form a straight, and a pair of nines is not much to write home about. If one of your opponents would tag along until showdown, chances are they have at least a pair of tens unless you’re playing with really loose players.
- 3-9This hand has the same problems as 2-9.
- 4-9This hand has the same problems as 2-9.
- 2-10Yes, Doyle Brunson did win two Wold Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets with this hand. No, that doesn’t make it a good hand. As mentioned above, the end stage of tournament play is very different from cash games. If you get this hand during ordinary cash game play, your best bet is most likely to toss it.
- 9-5Dolly Parton has a song called 9 to 5 about a non-rewarding day job where she’s just putting money in someone elses pocket. Take heed from Dolly and get rid of this hand as soon as possible before you end up putting your chips in some elses stack.