Top Five Worst Hands in Poker (And Why They Stink)
Last Updated: February 28, 2024
If you have ever played Texas Hold'em Poker, you must know that feeling of getting dealt two completely worthless hole cards that you can't do anything with.
The truth is most poker hands aren't really worth too much, which is why the best poker players often fold as many as 80% of all hands they are dealt.
In this article, we will take a look at the five worst poker hands that you should rarely play, with the infamous 7-2 holding the position of the absolute worst hand in poker.
Let's take a look!
5th Worst Poker Hand – 95 Off-Suit
Taking the fifth place on our list of the worst hands in Texas Hold'em Poker, 95 off-suit is a poker hand you seldom want to play.
The disjointed nature of the card, the fact you can't make a flush with two cards, and the low ranking of both your cards means playing with 95 is usually a bad idea.
95 is just one of the three gappers you don't want to play, with other similar hands like 84 and T6 falling into a similar category.
If you will ever play this hand, wait until you are in the small blind or at least until your cards are suited to get involved.
Why Is 95 Off-Suit Such a Bad Hand?
There is very little that 95 off-suit has going for it, and quite a few things it has going against it. But let's not jump to conclusions. Instead, let's see how the hand performs in different areas.
For one, the off-suit variant of this hand is never going to make a good flush. At best, you can make a one-card flush to a nine, which is not a very strong hand.
Secondly, your top card is a nine, which means making one pair will never give you too much joy, while even two pair will be questionable on many boards.
Making a straight with 95 is only possible by hitting 8, 7, and 6 on the board. When the pot gets big, you will often be against T9, a stronger straight that's actually made by a good starting hand.
While not as bad as 72, 95 off-suit is a junk hand you should usually discard and wait for a better opportunity to get involved.
4th Worst Poker Hand – J4 Off-Suit
Made famous by the alleged cheating scandal on Hustler Casino Live, J4 off-suit is now known as “the Robbi” and is one terrible poker hand that many players seem to be getting involved with.
While the presence of a high card in J makes this hand slightly better than 95 on the high-card front, the completely disjointed cards simply don't work well together.
Trying to imitate Robi Jade Lew and pull off a big call against a legend of the game might be tempting, but you will be well-advised to simply fold your J4 and look for a better hand to play.
Why Is J4 Off-Suit Such a Bad Hand?
There are quite a few obvious reasons for J4 being a terrible poker hand, from the fact your cards are completely disjointed to the fact they don't share a suit.
Your bottom card with this hand is nearly useless unless you make trips while making one pair with your Jack will often leave you out-kicked in a medium size pot.
You can only make a flush with one card with your J4, and a J-high flush will be the fourth nuts on many boards, leaving you paying off higher flushes and scratching your head.
There are very few good reasons to play the Robbi unless you are playing the J4 game, and even in that situation, we recommend caution and only trying to win the pot outright with a single preflop raise.
3rd Worst Poker Hand – 73 Off-Suit
Almost identical to the very worst hand in poker, 73 off-suit is a hand that suffers from the same problems as 95 off-suit while also having even lower cards in play.
The hand is slightly better because it can make a straight, but even in that scenario, it will never be a real monster.
This hand is very close to the very bottom of all possible hand combos in poker, and you should steer clear of playing it unless the situation is very particular.
Why Is 73 Off-Suit Such a Bad Hand?
It is nearly impossible to get a hand with worse potential than 73 off suit. The hand has very little going for it and quite a few things going against it.
Like the other hands we listed here, making one or even two pair with 73 will never make you too confident of your hand, while on many boards, it will be completely dead on the flop already.
While it is possible to make a straight with 73, you will never be able to flop an open-ended straight draw with both your cards and chasing the gutshot will more often cost you than reward you.
The next time you look down at 73 off-suit, throw the cards back into the deck and just wait for a better hand to play.
2nd Worst Poker Hand – T2 Off-Suit
Despite being named after the legendary Doyle Brunson, T2 off-suit is quite literally one of the worst poker hands you could ever see.
The hand was made famous by Doyle Brunson, who won a couple of world championships with it, but remember that these were just the cards he held on the very last hand.
In fact, Doyle Brunson did not win too many pots in his lifetime with T2, and neither did any other player, as this is a hand that's very hard to win with.
While paying homage to the legend is cute in a low-stakes game you are playing for fun, getting involved with T2 in a real poker game is suicide.
Why Is T2 Off-Suit Such a Bad Hand?
When looking at a poker hand, you want to see cards that can make a big hand by showdown or at least make a draw that you can use to semi-bluff.
In the case of T2, neither of these things is true. Making pairs with a T2 off-suit will never make you feel comfortable while flopping a draw with the hand is nearly impossible.
You can't make a flush or a straight with your T2, so let poker legends keep trying to win WSOP events with it while you focus on playing stronger poker hands that actually fit together.
The Worst Poker Hand – 72 Off-Suit
At the very bottom of our list of the worst poker hands, we find 72 off-suit, the one hand notorious as being the worst of the worst.
The cards in 72 are as disjointed as they come, which means you will not make a straight with them like you might with 73 or 62.
Both cards are low, which means making a pair won't mean much, as you won't ever have a top pair on any board.
Do yourself a favor and chuck any 72 you get into the muck unless you are playing the 72 game or have some other particular reason to play it.
Why is 2-7 Offsuit the Worst Hand in Poker?
It is quite easy to see what makes pocket aces the best poker hand. After all, the ace is the highest-ranked card in the deck, and pairs are hard to get. This makes AA the easy choice for the best hand, even to a layman.
However, poker players actually think in terms of equity, and the real reason we know pocket aces are the best starting hand is that they have so much equity against all other hands.
Against a pair of kings, aces have over 80% equity, and they are a massive 87.2% favorite against 2-7 offsuit.
The same logic applies to determining what makes 2-7 offsuit the worst poker hand.
It only has 12.4% equity against AA, 30.45% against AK suited, 27.02% against 98 suited, etc. The only hands 2-7 offsuit are favorites against are the likes of 2-3 and 2-4 offsuit, in terms of equity.
However, most players will never play 2-3 either, so you will never find yourself in this advantageous situation.
On the other hand, if you were to play 2-3 or 2-4, you could end up making a straight and winning a big pot against a big pocket pair or a set.
Not only does 2-7 rank poorly in terms of sheer equity, but it also lacks any positive implications. You can’t make a straight, you can’t make a flush, and any two pair you make with it will never be very good on almost any board.
Even when you make trips with 2-7 offsuit, you will often get outkicked by another player with the same trips if any significant amount of chips gets into the pot.
There is a very good reason top poker players avoid playing hands like this altogether. It's definitely not because they are afraid to gamble. It's simply because it's not gambling if you are giving the other player a massive edge over you to start with.
2-7 Offsuit in Heads Up Poker
Heads-up poker is an entirely different beast from regular six-max poker. Depending on your opponent and the raise size you are using, you can often raise nearly all hands when you are going first on the button.
However, even the loosest and most aggressive pro players will still not open pots with 2-7 offsuit and several other hands at the bottom of the chart.
The loosest raising range on the button in heads up Texas Hold'em should be around 91% of the hands. You would be raising close to 100% of the hands if you also opened 2-7 offsuit.
The one thing I will mention is that if you were going to open a hand in the bottom portion of the range, 2-7 would probably be a better raising candidate than 2-3 offsuit. This is simply because it does better against hands like 5-6 suited or 3-4 suited, which players will defend in heads-up pots.
Nevertheless, the best way to go around playing your 2-7 offsuit is to always fold it, no matter what. This is the worst hand in Texas Hold'em and the first one you should be letting go of.
What is the 2-7 Game?
I have answered the question, “Why is 7-2 the worst hand in poker,” but I have not yet discussed one very common phenomenon in modern-day poker. Of course, I’m talking about the 2-7 game.
When playing Texas Hold'em cash games, players often like to spice up the action. There is no better way to do that than giving everyone at the table a good reason to play the worst hand in poker.
The 2-7 game is pretty simple! If you can win a hand holding 2-7 in the hole, in any way, you will win a bounty from every player at the table.
Often, the bounty will be worth five big blinds per player.
The 2-7 game adds a whole new dynamic to the game. If a player is making a big raise pre-flop, everyone has to wonder if they have a great hand or the worst poker hand. This leads to some big pots and players winning big by taking down the blinds with these cards.
Final Thoughts – Save Yourself the Nerves and Money with 7-2 Offsuit
Without any question, 7-2 offsuit is the worst starting hand in poker. It is the number one candidate for an open fold in every position and every situation.
If you get dealt this trash hand, simply fold it every time, and you will never make a mistake. If you do ever decide to play it, make sure you are aggressive and try to win the pot as early as possible.
The terrible equity that 7-2 and other similar hands have against the entire range of poker hands means you will rarely be holding the winner by the time the river is dealt.
If you want to get some crazy poker action going, consider introducing the 7-2 game into your cash game. However, don’t be too surprised to see a lot of frustration if you try running people over with this weak holding. This is taking variance to a whole new level!