It can take years to learn how to become a winning poker player. One of the things that holds most players that back is playing too many hands. Another problem is putting yourself in a situation where you only win a small pot, but lose a larger pot when you take a beating.
The list of no limit Texas holdem trap hands on this page can help you avoid playing hands you shouldn’t play and help you avoid hands that yield lower rewards. After reading this page, I hope you learn something to apply in your next game of poker.
1 – Ace King Suited
Ace king suited is the most dangerous trap hand in no limit Texas holdem. It looks like a great hand before the flop, but it’s not going to win in a showdown unless it improves. It also tends to payout small pots when you do win with it and take big pots when you lose at the showdown.
When you flop a pair of aces or kings, your hand is decent, but you’re way behind a flopped set and you’re not much better off against two pair hands. If you get much action after the flop, the odds are good that you’re still behind.
As you can see by the titles of the sections on this page, many suited hands are dangerous. When you complete a flush with ace king, you always have the best possible flush, and as long as the board doesn’t pair, you have the nut hand.
The problem is that it’s hard to get paid after you hit the flush because your opponents can see that an ace high or king high flush is possible.
Possibly the biggest problem with ace king suited is the inability to fold the hand on the flop. Many players fall in love with the hand before the flop and continue putting money in the pot after the flop even when they don’t improve. When you miss the flop, you simply need to check and fold.
2 – Ace King
The unsuited version of ace king is even more dangerous than the suited version. You often see pros move all in before the flop with ace king on television and videos, so many players think it’s a strong hand. But they miss the context of the situation.
In a no limit Texas holdem tournament when you need to make a move, usually because of a short stack, getting all in with ace king before the flop is a good play. The only hands that dominate you are pocket kings and pocket aces.
When you have ace king, you hope the flop has an ace or a king, giving you top pair and top kicker. While this is a strong hand, the only way you can usually build a large pot at this point is when you’re behind. When you flop top pair and top kicker and bet, most players are going to fold unless they have you beat or have a strong draw.
3 – Ace Queen Suited
Ace queen suited has the same problems as ace king suited in no limit Texas holdem. It looks good, but when you win the hand, it tends to be a small pot and when you lose the hand, it tends to be a larger loss. So keep that in mind when you’re gambling with real money.
Most of the value derived from ace queen comes when you complete a straight or receive the correct pot odds to draw to a flush. Hitting an ace or a queen on the flop is barely a breakeven play because of the small-win, lose-big dynamic.
4 – Ace Queen
Ace queen is worse than ace queen suited because you don’t have the flush possibilities, so it shouldn’t be played in many situations.
Ace queen looks like a strong hand to inexperienced and weak players. But if you don’t flop a straight or strong straight draw with limited betting action, the hand is dangerous and costly. Even when you flop a pair of aces or queens, you’re weak because an opponent might have a set or two pair.
5 – Ace Little Suited
Many Texas holdem players play any ace suited with their other hole card. They see an ace with the added benefit of being able to complete a nut flush and decide that it has to be a profitable hand. But if you watch what the top players do with this hand, you’ll see that they fold it almost all of the time.
When you complete a flush, you have the nut flush, but everyone else can see the flush possibility so it’s hard to make much more money in the hand. If you flop a pair of aces, you either win a small pot because you have the best hand and everyone folds, or you lose a larger pot because you have a second best hand to a better ace or a set.
It might surprise you, but the most profitable way a hand can work out with an ace and a small card is when you hit a straight with ace five, ace four, or ace three. It’s hard for an opponent to put you on a wheel straight, so you can extract more money from them. The problem is you rarely complete a wheel straight.
6 – King Blank Suited
This is the worst hand on this list. King queen and king jack suited can be profitable, but any other suited king should be folded before the flop. When you enter the pot with a king suited to a 10 or lower, what do you hope to hit on the flop?
The best you can hope for is a flush with the ace on the board, but when this happens, you’re not going to get anyone to stay in the pot with you most of the time, which limits your upside.
Even if you flop two pair, it’s not the strongest possible hand. King suited is weak, and profitable players don’t play it. It’s not worth ruining your casino bankroll.
7 – Middle Pairs
Middle pairs aren’t as bad as other hands on this list if you play them correctly. Almost the entire value of middle pairs comes from flopping a set. Nearly all of the money you lose with middle pairs comes when you don’t flop a set and stay in the hand.
When you miss the flop, you don’t have a good chance to win the hand, so you should check and fold when this happens.
The other issue some players run into is calling a raise before the flop, hoping to hit a set when the player who raised doesn’t have a deep stack. You need to have the opportunity to win eight or more times the bet you have to call when you hit a set to make it profitable. If the pre-flop aggressor doesn’t have at least eight times the bet in their stack, it’s not worth a pre-flop call.
8 – Small and Medium Suited Connectors
Some players overvalue small and medium suited connectors because they’ve read that it’s the best type of hand to have against a large pocket pair. While this is the truth if you have to play heads up against a large pocket pair, this is still a weak hand.
When you hit a flush, it’s never the nut flush, and when you hit a straight, it’s rarely the nut straight. When you hit a pair or two pair, it’s also rarely the nut hand. All of these things mean that when you win a hand, it’s likely to be a small pot, and when you lose, it’s likely to be a bigger pot.
9 – Small Pairs
Small pocket pairs can be quite dangerous in no limit Texas holdem play. If you flop a set, it looks like a strong hand. Usually, with a set, you should try to get all in as soon as possible. The problem with small sets is when you lose, you lose a huge pot. Set over set is one of the most painful and costly ways to lose in no limit play.
The other way that small pocket pairs can cost you money is when the flop doesn’t have any high cards. You’re tempted to stay in the hand because the flop doesn’t look dangerous, but your small pair still isn’t likely to win the hand.
When you bet on the flop with a small pair, if you’re ahead, all of your opponents are likely to fold. This lets you win a small pot. But when you bet and are called, the odds are that you’re behind, and you’re going to lose more than you win when everyone else folds.
As you can see from this list, it’s dangerous to overvalue suited cards. Most of the hands on this list also have the problem of winning small pots and losing larger pots. You need to put yourself in the position to lose small pots and win big pots if you want to be a profitable no limit Texas holdem player.