7 2 is a Bad Poker Hand, but is it the Worst?

I am sure everyone knows what is the best hand in poker. But not many know what is considered the worst hand. If you are not a seasoned poker player, the answer could surprise you. That is 7 2, off-suit, to be precise.

7 2 is the worst hand because it is the lowest four gap hand combination that exists in poker. You can’t make straight with 7 2 unless there is a four-straight on board. All of this makes it hit very poorly post-flop.

Strictly in terms of multiway equity (chances to win) 72o (7 2 off-suit) is the hand that will do the worst. But when playing heads-up and going all-in preflop against 32o, we will dominate the opponent. It’s deep-stacked situations and playing post-flop where we will do very badly with 72o. Especially if we are up against several opponents.

If I ask you to name poker hands best to worst and you start with the best ones it will be easy for everyone to name the first 3 best hands. Pocket Aces (AA), pocket kings (KK), and pocket queens (QQ), followed by AK have the highest chances of winning and also not surprisingly the highest winrates.

But when it comes to the bad poker hands, the answers will be all over the place. Head to head, 72 does, after all, beat 32, 42, 52, 62 type of hands. And is in fact a nice favorite. So why is the 72 the worst of them all?

Why is 72 the worst hand in poker ever

When we talk about 72 being the worst hand in poker, we mean 72 off-suit. While 72o is a crap hand 72 in the same suit (72s) has a lot more equity, as it’s able to hit flushes.

Lets first compare 72o and 72s against a random hand.  

  1. 72s has 38.16% equity against a random hand
  2. 72o has 34.58% equity against a random hand

Equity means our chance to win the hand if all the money would go in the middle. In our scenario preflop.

72s is doing much better against a random hand than 72o. But both hands are still trash and shouldn’t be played!

More than a 3.5% increase in equity is quite significant. Although this still doesn’t mean 72s is a playable hand. It’s still pretty bad, although doing considerably better than 72o.

Let us see how badly do 72o and 72s against a few of the hands:

18% against any pair, 72s has 22%, 32% against AK, 35.8% with 72s, against JTs 29%, 72s 32.2%, 28% against broadway hands, 32% for 72s. 

Our HandEquity against
any pocket pair
72 suited22%35.8%32.2%32%
72 offsuit18%32%29%28%

We see that suitedness in 72 makes a difference.  

It is not just raw equity that makes 72 a bad hand. Another vital factor to consider is future streets. We want our hands to have decent playability, which 72 doesn’t have. We can’t hit straights unless on a four-straight board, and our flushes will be the lowest also

It is awful when we call on the flop when we have a gutshot or a flush draw, only to be beaten later by higher straight or higher flush. The term for that is to have a reverse implied odds

Coming along preflop is just where our problems start to accumulate. Often a mistake preflop can cost as significantly postflop. Preflop, we have invested a few blinds only, but if we decide to continue on flop and turn, this is where it gets costly. Pot increases; each street is more expensive if we make a mistake. And with 72, mistakes come fast. We won’t hit many flops so very often we will either need to bluff flops or fold as we miss the flop. 

Though flop is not the end of our troubles. In case we hit, we can easily be dominated by an opponent holding a better kicker or them having a better draw than we do. Even in case, we hit quite strong for our hand, let’s say two pairs. Those two pairs will not be top 2 pairs, do we want to make a call for our stack on the river holding bottom two pair against someone who was betting aggressively for three streets?

Now you know why it is a far better option to fold 72 every time. Folding a hand doesn’t cost you anything; you only lose half of the big blind on the small blind and one big blind on the big blind.

Calling 72 preflop can cost us a lot of money on later streets.

72 becomes even worse when multiway on the flop. Up against 2 opponents, our equity preflop is only 20.5%. When we are up against 3 equity drops to measly 14.25%. If we decide to see the flop, the vast majority of the time, we now need to fold on flops as opponents will have us crushed. 

72 does beat some hands

When we are talking about raw equity of going all-in preflop 72 is not the worst hand. It dominates all hands from 32o up until 62o. That comes from having a higher kicker. But that scenario is unrealistic as we will never be against those hands when going all-in preflop. 

Our HandEquity against 32oEquity against 42oEquity against 52oEquity against 62o

We can see that our equity stays pretty much consistent at roughly 65%, and having a suited hand is not so crucial for us in this scenario. It is essential to know these are all of the hands we dominate. We are about 55% favorite against 34o, 54o, 65o type of hands, which is almost a flip. Any else, and we are an underdog (less than 50% to win) already. 82o, for example, which is a terrible hand, also has 70% equity against 72o.

Special promotions for playing 72o

In casinos or even sometimes online you can find special promotions going on for playing 72. During special promotions, poker rooms reward a player if he wins the hand with 72o. 

Such promotions are always a good thing. Not because it means now, you can play the worst hand in poker. It is because we know that many people will now overplay 72o, and we can punish that

When we get 72o, we fold the trash hand. We know that opponents will try to bluff and overplay their 72o so we can call them lighter and make more money out of that. Also, when we have a strong hand, we bet a lot, and opponents will call us with weaker hands, thinking we hold 72o ourselves.


7 2 does beat a few hands in raw equity preflop. But there are many more hand combinations that absolutely crush us. 

It is a horrible hand to play in multiway scenarios and deep stacked games. It is often the mistakes we make postflop with such a bad hand, is what costs us significantly in the end. Therefore playing 72o should be avoided.