MCU poker tip: Worst hold ’em hand that can’t lose default content graphic

What’s the weakest hold ’em hand you can have and still end up on the river with an absolute certainty of victory? A small straight, an ace-high flush, what? Think about it.

The answer is three queens. As an example, if you hold Q♥ Q♠ and the board is Q♦ J♦ 7♣ 4♣ 2♥, you can’t be beat. There’s no straight or flush possible. And there’s no rank higher than your queens showing that would allow someone to hold a superior three-of-a-kind. (The lowest possible complete five-card hand is Q-Q-Q-8-7 — Q-Q with a board of Q-8-7-3-2 that contains no more than two cards in any suit.)

Anything lower than three queens never has a guarantee of victory. That’s because there will always be some bigger hand possible: Bigger three-of-a-kind, a straight, or four of a kind. And, remember, your three queens must include two in your private hand. If two are on the board and one is held privately, any opposing pair matching the board will form a full house and beat you.

When you’re sure you have the absolute best hand after seeing the river, we say you have a “lock.” Three queens is the weakest possible hold ’em hand that can ever be a lock. — MC

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


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