In poker, Ducks should be shot 2s2c

In poker, the term for a pair of twos is “ducks”. Despite their reputation in the movies, by Disney, by Warner Brothers or anywhere else in the media, the ducks sadly cannot come up to quack.

The little pair, if it makes it to heads-up pre-flop is generally ranked 91 out of 169 starting hands. If memory serves, I think it is 22 in terms of hand rank (if I am wrong, somebody please let me know). If you are playing two people your odds pre-flop drop like a shot duck from roughly 47% to 29%.

The problem, like a lot of hands is that you really need to catch the flop to make anything that will improve the odds. If you catch a 2 in the flop your odds of winning jump to 90% if you are heads up and to a decent 83% if you are playing two players. If you were able to limp in to see the flop (and heck, if the blinds were low, why not, right?) you could hold your own up to 4 other players. At five players still in the hand you hold a 67% advantage – even with an an ace and a king on the board. You just have to hope that there aren’t any pocket aces or kings lurking out there. With the odds still on your side, it is worth staying in.


Now something wonderful happens if the board pairs with either aces or kings. If you are heads up, the game is yours with a whopping 92% advantage and even up to 7 players (if they all were still in) would still give you a 70% advantage.

The full house would be tough to beat unless somebody had a king and the remaining two in their hand. But that is the nature of gambling. You also would get a person who might get a flush on the river to bet like crazy. Generally, though, a pair of twos doesn’t win in Texas Hold’em.

Sometimes the ducks can take flight but expect that most of the time that they are best served cold and preferably discarded back to the dealer.

Any questions? Comments? Please drop me a line and check out the other posts and blog on this site!

Kim Greenblatt

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