What's the Preflop WHIP?
What's the Worst Starting Hand In Poker?
You’re playing heads-up Texas Hold’em. What is the worst possible starting hand you can have if you shove all-in preflop against an opponent who will call with any two cards?
Analysis & Explanation:
I was actually a little surprised at the result back when I ran the numbers. Very often you’ll read that 7-2 offsuit is the weakest possible starting hand in Hold’em. Heck, I’ve read entire blog posts and poker articles about just how bad 7-2 is. People call it the “beer hand” (as in: fold it and go get a beer), the “hammer” (as in: you’ll get hammered if you play it), or sometimes just the “W.H.I.P. hand” (as in: the Worst Hand in Poker).
But 7-2 offsuit ain’t the worst.
When heads-up against a random hand, 3-2 offsuit is worse than any other two card combination in the deck. For example, when pitted heads-up preflop against our old friend the 7-2 hand, 3-2 offsuit is a whopping 2:1 underdog. Yes, the 3-2 hand can make a tiny straight, but the odds of that happening are incredibly low. And yes, the gap between seven and deuce means that the 7-2 hand can’t flop a straight, but it has the advantage that seven is a significantly higher card than three, which more than makes up for the unfillable gap.
Don’t believe something without checking the numbers yourself. Three-deuce offsuit is the real preflop W.H.I.P.