The Doyle Brunson hand

It is well known that Doyle Brunson won a couple of big tourneys with T 2, a hand usually regarded as completely useless.

What is the worst starting hand in No Limit Holdem? The general opinion is that 7 2 offsuit is about the least likely to win as it cannot make a straight with 2 cards and has no high card value. In addition a pair of 2s, should you flop one, will always be bottom pair.

However I noticed that T 5 seemed to be awfully useless too. You would think it had some value since every straight must include either a T or a 5, so it has some blocking value to prevent opponents making a straight.

But over a period of months I noticed that I never, ever won a hand with T 5. Of course a large part of the reason for this was that I never played the hand unless limped to in the BB, in which case there was no choice (it would be silly to fold it.)

Then after months of observation, I did win a pot with T 5 in the BB when I flopped a set of 5s, but it wasn’t a big pot as my reputation for trapping opponents had obviously gone before me.

However, finally, last night I got lucky and T5 became my Doyle Brunson hand, and this is how it happened.

(I had never seen this opponent before, but he is ranked #10 on the site, so I was well pleased with the outcome.)

What is your Doyle Brunson hand?

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I think of A-2 suited as the worst hand. Not because it’s not likely to win, but because it’s so often over-valued. It’s an ace and a suited connector, so people play it all the time. But it’s beaten by any other ace in the deck. It’s only good for the bottom end of a straight and has the same odds as a gutshot. Really, its only value is in catching a flush.

It’s especially maddening when you get a hand like this:

You: As 2s
Flop Ah Ad 3s 5s 6h
Opponent: Ac 8c

You’ve got the set, the gut shot draw, and the nut flush draw and lose on the kicker.


You: As 2s
Flop: 3s 4d 5s Qd Jc
Opp: 6d 7d

You lose to a crap hand because he flopped the strong end of the straight and you flopped the wrong end.

if 76 suited is for you crap hand it just mean u cant play suited connectors…

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I think the question is whether 6 7 suited is high enough.

In conventional rankings of hands it is always assumed that two hands are heads up against each other, so hands that have no high card strength are automatically starting from behind and will have to fold to a flop bet unless they catch something on the flop, at least a pair or some kind of draw.

With several players in a pot, the odds in favor of the suited connector are much better. Just yesterday I won a monster pot and trebled my stack with QT suited when two opponents both had AK.

However, I look at it this way. There are 13 cards and the middle card of the 13 is 8, so in general it is better to play no hands that have a card lower than an 8, so that you always have at least some chance that if you make a pair on the flop, it will be top pair.

Of course there will always be special situations where it is advantageous or the odds or position favor playing a small suited connector, but it needs be done with a definite plan in mind. For example if you play 6 7s and flop second pair, will you lead out with a donk bet (and how much?), or will you call a bet from an opponent, or check raise an opponent who continuation bets. How large a bet will you call, etc., etc.?

My own feeling is that if you play something like 6 7s in a 4-way pot in a tournament, then second pair on the flop is not worth much and you should proceed with extreme caution, because if opponents stay in after the flop, you are so vulnerable to further overcards.

Obviously you will win some pots, but in tournaments my mantra tends to be win big pots and give up small pots, whereas many opponents use the opposite strategy.

Another point is that so much depends on your table image and what you can get away with. My usual Doyle Brunson hand is 6 3. If you are playing very tight, you may raise with this hand as if it were AA and taken down the blinds, but it is even more delicious when the flop hits you, because no one expects you to have a 3 in your hand, and you may stack an opponent who shove-bluffs, believing you have 2 high cards and will fold. One hand I had recently I raised with 6 3 from the button, and was called in the BB and flopped a boat, going on to make quad 3s on the turn. Opponent did not know what hit him.

A2 suited is OK to play from the blinds. If you are small blind and it is folded to you, you are ahead of most random hands held by BB. Only pocket pairs and Aces other than A2 are ahead of you. Unfortunately, if you raise from SB, the hands most likely to call you are pocket pairs and other aces, and if the opponent has a pocket pair, making a pair of 2s will not help you.

If you limp A2 suited from the Button, and neither SB or BB raises, you can probably hypothesize that neither of them has an A and the pot may often be checked down to the river with A winning on showdown. However, if SB calls, as they often will with 5:1 odds preflop, the odds move in favor of one or the other of your opponents making a pair by the river.

Another issue with A2 is that if you flop two pairs, you may commit a lot of chips, but if another A pairs on a later street, or the board pairs, then your pairs of 2s is counterfeited, it will probably cost you a lot of chips.


lol so funny but i will u say about not playing if one card is lower than 8 ofc i know u mean shortstack however i will never listen advice of player calling 105off in HU especially OOP so u can keep talking and give ur poor advices btw i saw ur game and it was nothing special u could only hope to be lucky with ur play

Luck is a huge factor everyone overlooks.

Cash games and tournament play are very different. When you get heads up with an opponent to play for the first and second place in a MTT, there are two objectives. 1) Get to position where you have the larger stack, 2) Get all your opponents chips. So clearly when you get your nose in front, you are going to loosen up on calling requirements hoping to get lucky and be able to ambush opponent and take all his chips.

In the hand in question both players had about 30 BB and you raised PF to 4000, meaning I had to put in an additional 2000 to see a pot that already contained 6000. Odds of 3:1. Of course I would call with odds of 29% of flopping a pair, plus the odds of flopping a straight draw with T 5o is 9.66%, plus about 1.35% odds of flopping trips. So total odds of a decent flop around 40%.

After already playing for more than 2 hours most people are looking for a quick ending. Often tournaments end when both players have roughly even stacks and both get hit hard by flops. For example one player flops a set and the other flops top two pairs. Neither will give way.

u did fishy call because ur play is weak not need to explain so much and saying about differences between tournaments u can keep talking u played ft weak and got lucky u were ahead maybe 1 blind loosing up range doesnt help i end discussion for me u played weak

A win is a win is a win…