Thanks to the amazing poker website Thaipokerleak, we’re giving you a list of five completely underrated poker hands that most novice and intermediate players fold immediately upon seeing them, yet they can bring massive profits. We will also have a look at five hands that everyone plays yet they’re horrible hands.
Ace King is also known as “Walking home to Houston”, which is an expression T.J. Coutier once used and it stuck for obvious reasons. A player who gets AK thinks he’s almost invincible since the chance of him landing a high pair (Aces or Kings) is high. Also, if he has a pair of Aces he’ll have the best possible kicker (King), and if he has a pair of Kings he’ll also have the best kicker (Ace). Then there’s the chance of landing two pairs.
However, this is very childish thinking. There are many hands that can beat our AK. If we don’t get an Ace or a King we only got a high card, and any pair will beat us. If we do get our pair then we’re actually in biggest danger as we’re likely to have the second best hand, especially if we’re facing someone who’s betting aggressively. Three-of-a-kind, flush and straight can all beat us easily. Yet in our mind we’ll have the best hand, and in reality we won’t be able to afford a trip back to Houston so we’ll walk.
It’s not that Ace Ace is bad, but it’s difficult to make a profit with it. First and foremost, a lot of players will fold since they don’t have an Ace themselves (and the chances of them having an Ace are very low since you have 2 of 4 available). Secondly, this is not the strongest hand in poker. Three-of-a-kind, flush and straight will beat us. The biggest challenge, however, is building the pot with AA because so many players will fold. It’s likely we’ll only get a big blind or two, if that. With AA, we need a sucker in order to make money. And we need no one at the table to have any good hand.
Underrated: Suited gappers
While everyone is so keen on suited connectors (e.g. 10 and J in same suit), suited gappers (e.g. 10 and Q in same suit) are not as popular because you need to hit that card that’s missing in order to have any chance of landing a straight. However, the chance of landing the card that fills the gap and two more cards is almost exactly the same as the chance of landing three cards you need with suited connectors. It’s still a long shot, but almost the same long shot as the casual-player favorite, suited connectors.
All players hate Jack Jack for a reason – someone will get a pair of Queens, Kings or Aces and easily beat them. But the truth is, it’s still a pocket pair, and a very strong one. Most importantly, this is a flexible hand that you can fold if you need to play safe, or play aggressively if you’re short stacked. Depending on what the situation on the table is, who you’re playing against and how many chips do you have, JJ will fulfill a different role. It is very likely at least one of your opponents – or all of them – are playing the usual pay-to-see-the-flop strategy where they’re waiting for an Ace or a King. Or waiting for something else. Meanwhile, you got a pocket pair and can be the aggressor if you wish.
Here is a list of all poker hands on Wikipedia.