What Are The Worst Hands You Can Start With In Poker?

What Are The Worst Hands You Can Start With In Poker

4 minutes

Last Updated: October 27, 2023

In poker, success hinges on skill, strategy, and luck. One crucial aspect of this intricate dance is the starting hand—the initial two cards dealt to each player. These starting cards lay the foundation for the entire hand and significantly influence a player's chances of winning.

While a skilled player can turn even a mediocre hand into a victory, sure starting hands are considered universally unfavorable due to their limited potential.

This article explores the poker strategies in Hoop Casino and the worst hands you can begin with within the game.

Understanding the Odds

Poker is a game of probabilities, and understanding the odds associated with different starting hands is key to making informed decisions.

The concept of “expected value” helps us evaluate the potential of a starting hand. It considers the likelihood of improving the hand on subsequent streets and the potential payout if it improves.

Starting hands with low expected values are the ones that poker players dread. These hands offer limited potential for improvement and often lead to tricky situations down the line. Let's look at some of the worst starting hands in poker and why they are considered unfavorable.

7-2 Offsuit

7-2 offsuit hand in poker

The 72 offsuit, known as the “W.H.I.P.,” stands for the weakest hand in poker. This hand is considered the worst because it has little potential to make strong combinations. These two cards don't connect well or share the same suit, making it challenging to get flush or straight.

This hand is so bad that it created a special poker game called the 2-7 variant. Players bet on whether they can win with this terrible hand in this game.

Imagine you're playing against eight other players who have random cards. The chances of the 72o hand winning is only about 5.4%. To compare, a fair win rate would be 11.1%, and a firm hand like A.A. has a 35% chance of winning.

When it's just you against one other player with any two cards (A.T.C.), the 72o hand can win about 34.6% of the time. This is better than some other bad hands like 32o.

But still, it's not great when you think that an equal chance for each player to win is 50%, and A.A. is way ahead with an 85% chance of winning.

8-2 Offsuit

Having an 8 and 2 offsuit brings the same challenges as 72o, but now you have an 8 as your highest card instead of a 7.

This results in a winning chance of only 5.6% when facing eight randomly dealt hands. When it's just you versus one opponent, things don't improve much – you'll only have a slight 36.9% chance of winning against any two cards they hold.

Although it's better than 72o, it's still not a great hand. Your best move is to fold and focus on the next round of the game.

8-3 Offsuit

Like 82o, 83o faces similar challenges, except this time, you might end up with a pair of threes instead of twos. However, this improvement isn't very significant.

When matched against eight random hands, 83o only holds around 5.8% equity, and in a one-on-one situation, it fares a bit better at 37.5%. It's still not a strong hand, so the best decision is to fold it and move on.

6-2 Offsuit

True, 62o does have the potential to form a straight. However, achieving a straight in Texas Hold'em is quite challenging, particularly when you rely on three specific cards to complete the sequence.

When facing a table with eight players holding random cards, the 62o hand manages to secure a victory approximately 6% of the time. In a one-on-one scenario, its winning chances increase to 34.1% when pitted against any two cards.

Remember that while straight is possible, this hand still needs to be stronger.

3-2 Offsuit

In a head-to-head match against any two cards, 32o is the weakest hand, only managing to win about 32% of the time.

Interestingly, when pitted against 72o (often dubbed the worst poker hand), 32o finds itself on the losing end about 65% of the time! This firmly places it among the hands you'd usually want to fold before the flop.

When facing a table with eight other players who hold random cards, 32o shows a slightly improved performance, winning approximately 6.1% of the time.

Nonetheless, it remains one of the most unfavorable starting hands in poker, and it's generally a good idea to fold it almost every time you encounter it.

Strategic Considerations

Strategic Considerations in Poker

Navigating through a poker hand involves making strategic decisions based on incomplete information. While starting hands are statistically unfavorable, a skilled player can sometimes turn the tide through careful play. Here are a few strategic considerations when dealt a weak starting hand:

  1. Position Matters: Your position at the poker table influences your decision-making. Being in a later position allows you to see your opponents' actions before moving, providing valuable information. If you find yourself in an early position with a weak hand, it's often wiser to fold.
  2. Observing Opponents: Attention your opponents' tendencies and betting patterns. If they show signs of weakness, you can bluff your way through with a weak hand. However, this approach requires a deep understanding of your opponents' behaviors.
  3. Calculated Risks: Taking calculated risks with a weak hand can pay off in some situations. This often involves reading the table dynamics, understanding the pot odds, and making well-timed bluffs or semi-bluffs.
  4. Patience Pays: Sometimes, the best decision with a weak starting hand is to fold and wait for a more favorable opportunity. Patience is a virtue in poker; preserving your stack for better hands can lead to long-term success.

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