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Worst Likely Hand

What is a ‘Worst Likely Hand’?

The worst likely hand is a term usually applied in games like Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha poker. Whereas the ‘worst hand’ simply refers to a stunningly poor hand, ‘worst likely hand’ will usually refer to the worst combination of cards a player could receive with the community cards (also known as shared or window cards) factored in.

‘Worst Likely Hand’ Explained

With traditional casino games, all you can truly focus on is your own hand – what you can do with it and the decision as to whether you should press on with it should it be a poor one. You wait for your cards to be dealt and then you use your knowledge to use them to the best of your advantage.

In games that utilise community cards, such as Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha, then there are the cards at the centre of the table to factor into any strategic thinking.

With the community cards on display to everyone, a player will analyse them and hope to be dealt certain cards that can be used with them, in the hope of crafting a powerful hand.

For example:

Say the five community cards consist of: One of Diamonds, Nine of Clubs, Jack of Clubs, Queen of Spades and an Ace of Diamonds.

And the players own four cards (also known as hole cards) which consist of: Two of Spades, Four of Diamonds, Six of Hearts and Eight of Diamonds.

In this scenario, the player would be holding the worst likely hand. Not only could they not use the hole cards to any effective means, but they couldn’t even make something as low as a ‘pair’ with the community cards.

It’s easy to envision what the worst likely hand would be upon seeing the community cards, but to be dealt the very hand that you didn’t want would be a soul-crushing experience for any player.