The Worst Hand in Poker and the Hand Ranking System

If you’re playing poker, there’s a good chance that you’ll eventually be dealt the worst hand in poker.

Don’t worry – this article will teach you how to deal with the worst hand in poker. Learn about the different types of poker hands and what to do when you’re dealt a bad one.

7-2 Offsuit is the worst hand in poker

You should never consider calling with 7-2 off. 7-2o is the worst hand in poker.

Any pair can be beat, but you can’t make straights and your flush would be at most 7 high. It would likely be beaten by a higher straight or flush.

You can also play it for free every now and again if you’re the big blind or a limp-fest breaks. Every once in a while, you’ll find some magic.

Flip two pairs or trips and you’ll find an ace or the king on board. Some poor player is holding a weak Ace or King and will pay you off.

It is likely that poker players will be in the negative with 7-2o, or very close to it, at some point in their lives.

Worst Poker Hand is Specific To You

Other candidates are often problem hands such as:

  • JJ (Ouch! It’s hard to take a bad overcard and then die when another one hits on the turn.
  • KQ “What do you do when the Ace hits?”
  • JTs (“Yeah I know I’m not getting the right odds to draw but, well, maybe in implied’ odds ….”)
  • K-9 (Mike Matusow’s nominee)

These are indeed good “worst hand” candidates, but when the dust has settled the worst hand to start is the one you use the most.

It’s the one you have the most trouble with. It’s the one you have the most trouble with when you suspect you are being beat.

Beware of Two-Gappers

Most players who are serious about the game will be familiar with the fact that raising is a common strategy. This includes using a combination of unpaired “big” cards and especially one- or two-gappers.

These poker hands can be so painful because of the many situations you may face that can make it very uncomfortable.

Let’s say you call a raise using Q-T or K-T. You hit your top card. You won’t feel happy. You might have some serious problems, even if you’re the top pair.

You may be far behind if you paired the below card. If the board is all babies, you will be behind any ace. There is also the lethal tug to remove one.

What about the raggy Ace? It may be losing its thin veneer of strength, but there are still those who will play ‘any Ace’.

Take into account the Flopped Draw

Consider A-6. You could be in serious trouble if you hit your ace. Hit your six, but I’m not going to lie, you don’t want to hit the six.

Let’s take another example: the flopped draw. These problems are not in the play. They are buried in the tilt factor.

There are many ways to go on tilt, but one of them is to miss a lot of draws. This kind of tilt is when you stop doing the math and start believing that you are due.

What about the odd-ball hands like 8-7o and 7-5s. These ‘junk cards’ were once considered to be close to the “worst hands” category. Conventional wisdom was to instamuck.

They don’t play so badly, as many have discovered. If you miss and there are no options, they’re easy for you to release. This is easier than KJ, where you may have two post-flop cards.

Other Hand Ranking System

Let’s have a little fun and see how the ordering looks using other hand ranking models.

Equity vs. One Random Hand

playability does not matter when playing against a random hand. (By playability we mean the possibility to make straights or flushes.

  • Raw equity, which is the quality of the high cards essentially, is the most important factor in this calculation. The four worst poker hands can only draw straight and have no decent high cards.
  • It is unlikely that you will make a straight. It is overshadowed because we have two extremely low cards. This factor decreases our equity vs. 1 random hand.
  • Even a suited combination is the seventh worst hand. This shows how much equity is dependent upon the high cards and playability in a hand.

Many players may argue that this should represent the most accurate version of the worst holdings.

We spend most of the time playing head-to-head vs 1 opponent.

Notice how 32o are still the worst combination.

Could the general playing public be wrong?

Equity vs 9 Random Hands

When playing against multiple opponents, the situation can change.

Playability becomes more important than high cards when determining Equity.

72o is the most difficult model, as it is the least playable holding of the deck. It is the lowest set two cards without any type of straight possibility.

Notice that none the 5 lowest players in this table have any straight potential. A minimum of 32o can sometimes make a type of nut straight while still being good against a field of nine other players.

This scenario with 72o is almost impossible

This model is used in most other guides to the worst hand of Hold’em.

  • We could also stop and ask if this is the most realistic model.
  • How much time do you spend playing against nine players after the flop?

Nevertheless, this model allows players to conclude that 72o has the worst hand in Texas Hold’em.


Which of these starting hands is possible to play? Which one can be pulled out of the ‘worst-hand’ dustbin?

If you are skilled at navigating difficult situations and don’t mind sometimes mucking with what might be the best hand, and you are extremely sensitive to position, then you can play any of these games, with great care.

The worst hand in poker, is the one that plays the worst and 7-2o fits the bill.