There are many hands in poker which players often overrate. This misperception of how strong certain hands are will cost them money over time. These hands often look pretty and perhaps that’s why we play them, but looks can be deceiving, (Britney spears for example). Our decision to play a hand shouldn’t be based just on its looks, I will admit that does look sexy – but it’s not always a wise play. Below we will go over the top ten most overplayed poker hands.
#10 Pocket Rockets (Aces)
Pocket aces come in at number 10 on our most overplayed poker hands list. Yes, pocket Aces are the best starting hand in Texas Hold ‘Em, but they are the also over played a large percentage of the time. It’s very difficult for players, especially beginning ones, to lay down Aces. Even when the board is clearly showing they are beat, they will say to themselves, “I have Aces how can I fold.” It is the best starting hand but after the flop it becomes just as vulnerable as any other.
A common occurrence with Aces will be slow playing them and inviting other players to join in the pot. Next thing you know there’s a 4 way pot and you’re facing a large bet. In these situations, Aces are likely to be beat, yet they go with it anyway. Anytime you are in a multi-way pot with Aces and a lot of action occurs, be cautious as its likely your Aces are no good.
#9 Ladies (Queens)
This next most overplayed poker hand is tricky and I almost excluded it from the list, but I felt it gets overplayed enough to make it. It wins decent pots and will be strong enough to get the money in with it in certain spots. The problem is not being able to fold it, much like when you have Aces. It’s such a strong hand that it will cause a player to overlook board texture and what the opponent is representing. Many players almost develop tunnel vision and only see that they have a strong hand like .
#8 Suited cards
This is perhaps the biggest mistake amongst new players, giving it the number 8 spot on our overplayed poker hands list. Beginners often see a pretty looking and limp in hoping to hit a flush or top pair. When you make top pair it’s very hard to get value from it and many times it will be outkicked. The more likely case will be hitting nothing at all and having to fold. A saying I like to use when I see players show down these hands is “They were sooted”.
#7 Connected cards
Connecting cards have little value and are played too much, giving them the number 7 spot on our overplayed list. You can’t make flushes and making top pair is a tricky situation and will be vulnerable to over cards. Yet, I see these types of hands being played all the time. It’s fine to raise from the button or as a steal as they will have some equity in the hand, but calling raises is a big mistake with these types of hands.
#6 Ten-Jack Offsuit
This next hand is tricky as it does have some decent value but it makes our most overplayed list due to the fact that too many players over value it. Whether it’s suited or off suit, TJ will get you into some tricky spots. The most common scenario is when you flop top pair with it and can’t let it go. Your kicker is weak and will often be beat. It’s most over played pre-flop as inexperienced and even some veterans will call a large bet or worse still make a large bet with it. A hand like is much better played by just seeing a flop and playing it accordingly.
#5 Queen-King Offsuit
Smack in the middle at number 5 is one of the most commonly overplayed poker hands. It does have relative strength and can make decent hands, but it makes this list because players call too often with it. A player under the gun opens and you call with . the flop comes . The money goes in and you lose to . This is a very common result and is easily avoided by folding a hand that is often out kicked.
Ace King’s sheer strength and good looks mean that it is also frequently overplayed, giving is number 4 on our overplayed hands list. Too often you see players who cannot fold on the flop when they have AK. Usually when a player has AK they are 3-betting pre flop creating a large pot. Almost 65% of the time they will miss the flop and continue anyway, just because they have AK and two over cards. This hand becomes as valuable as in some cases and should be played accordingly.
#3 All small pocket pairs
Making number 3 on our overplayed poker hands list are all small pocket pairs. This includes pocket Deuces up to pocket Sevens. These hands have little value other than set mining or some show down value. The problem lies with calling out of position too often and just looking to hit a set. Many players simply call a pre flop raise, look to hit a set and fold to a c-bet if nothing connects. The times you hit will be rare and getting paid off on them is another issue altogether. You must find other ways to win these hands in order to be playing them. Just looking to hit sets is a sure way to lose your chips. Check out our guide on playing small and mid pocket pairs for more info.
This is one of the worst starting hands in Hold ‘Em for losing money in my opinion. It has all the aspects of being an overplayed hand. It looks pretty, has some relative strength and it gets overplayed all the time. It will be out kicked many times and players will have a tough time folding top pair. It will have little drawing value as making a straight is really the only draw you can expect to hit. When it does make a straight, getting paid off is difficult. I look at players’ stats all the time and this is one of the biggest losing hands in their database.
#1: Pocket Jacks
Just as playing Jacks can be tricky; finding the right spot for them on our overplayed poker hands list was also a tough decision. I knew they should be here, just couldn’t decide where. They do have a lot of strength and can win big pots, but they can also lose big pots. This is perhaps the most overplayed big pair of them all. Players tend to go all in pre-flop with them and go all in post-flop a good portion of the time. When we look at exactly how the money gets in, you will see that Jacks are usually either way ahead or way behind.
If a player raises pre-flop and we 3-bet then get shoved on it’s very difficult to fold Jacks as they are a strong hand. But, if we look at a shoving range we will find that we aren’t a favorite very often, and when we are it’s not by much. A typical shove range will include Aces through Jacks and AK possibly other hands like AQ or even Tens. Jacks only truly beat AK, AQ (only just – JJ against suited AK is 55% in favour of Jacks) or pocket Tens, with AQ and Tens being a less likely case. All other times we are losing. Granted later on in a tournament (or against a particularly weak player) there will be times a loose opponent will shove much lighter, but the majority of the time we will be a slight favorite or a big dog.
On the flop with Jacks we will flop an over pair a good part of the time making it hard to fold as well. Just as we are usually behind pre-flop with Jacks, we will often find that we are behind post flop. Even if we are ahead in certain hands we will be a slight favorite against many drawing hands and we will have only 2 outs if we are behind to 2 pair or an over pair.
I hope this has been helpful to some of you out there over-playing hands, looking to fill a few leaks. This top 10 list was put together by compiling lots of stats I’ve taken over the years looking at various player’s weaknesses and losing hands. Lots of good players still get stuck with the above hands – don’t forget that you should always be improving their game, and fixing leaks – if you’re not tracking your hands at all, get started with Hold ‘Em Manager. Check which hands are losing you the biggest pots, and see if any of the above fits along with your current playing style, and adjust. No player is ever perfect!