Although technically 7 2 is not the worst hand in poker, it is the lowest unconnected (gapped) hand. This means that when playing at a full table, 7 2 is pretty much the worst hand as you can’t even make a straight using your two hole cards.

Now, say you’re playing heads-up and you have 7 2 off and your opponent has 4 2 off (rare). In this case, 7 2 is clearly the best hand, although the probability of a tie is fairly high as well.

Best and worst cards in poker

In most poker variants, including Hold’em, ace is the highest card and deuce is the worst card. Spades is the highest suit, but it doesn’t affect hand ranking.

So generally speaking, the higher your two hole cards, the better your chances of winning the pot.

This is why hands like pocket aces, pocket kings, or an ace and a king are considered premium hands.

On the other hand (no pun intended), combinations like a five and a three, or a seven and a deuce, are quite ugly, even if suited, which isn’t a big difference anyway.

But why has the 7 2 officially been ranked the absolute worst? Keep reading…

Technically, 7 2 isn’t the worst hand

If you were to play 7 2 heads-up, or three-handed, and your opponents had two lower cards, such as 5 4 and 6 2, then you’d have an advantage.

This is why technically the worst hand in Texas Hold’em is actually 3 2 offsuit.

The thing is, at least 3 2 is connected, which means your chances of hitting a straight is slightly higher.

And if it’s 3 2 suited, you may even make a straight flush and win a high hand jackpot if you get lucky.

7 2 offsuit looks horrific simply because it’s not connected (which means you cannot make a straight using both your hole cards).

7 2 is the worst hand at a full table

Cash game

Basically, to win with 7 2 offsuit at a full table (e.g. four or five players to the flop), you’d have to flop two pair, or trips, or somehow get lucky and see a ridiculous board like K, 9, 8, 6, 5 rainbow.

This is because unlike heads-up, you won’t be playing against bad starting hands.

7 2 offsuit against, say, two pocket pairs and ace-ten, is absolutely crushed.

3 2 would also be a horrible starting hand, but not as much — you’d have an extra 2 or 3 percent chances of winning, simply because the two cards are connected.

Now, all this is basically irrelevant as 99 percent of the time you should be folding 7 2 and 3 2, or any other super ugly starting hands.

Unless it’s a home game and you’re playing…

The 7 2 game in poker

This is an unofficial side game in poker where whoever wins with 7 2 offsuit is awarded a chip from every other player.

Most of the time, however, the 7 2 game is played just for fun.

For example, someone re-raises all-in preflop with the worst hand in poker, and gets their opponents to fold despite their good starting hands, and shows 7 2 as they scoop the pot.

I’ve seen it a few times as a poker dealer. Not sure if it was a sensible strategy, but it was kind of cool.

I’ve also seen a few players lose against 7 2 and then tilt, in which case the winner of the 7 2 game actually got an advantage out of that.

Again, if you play seriously, forget about doing anything too creative and when you’re supposed to fold, then just fold — don’t overthink it.

7 2 offsuit nicknames

  • Whip. Which is the acronym of “worst hand in poker”. Pretty straightforward.
  • The Nuts. Often used ironically — nuts is used to describe the best possible hand in poker.
  • Hammer. It’s not clear what the origin of the nickname is, but it probably refers to the player’s frustration.
  • Beer Hand. If you have 7 2 off, fold and drink a beer instead. Or, go all-in, win, and show, and your opponent will buy you a beer.