In poker, "Crabs" is a term used to refer to the a pairs of threes (3-3). The reference originates from the similarity to the shape of the 3 card and a crab's pincers.

Example of the Crabs poker hand
Example of the Crabs poker hand

"What Does Crabs Mean in Poker?

In the context of poker, specifically Texas Hold'em, "Crabs" is a nickname for the starting hand of pocket threes. The term is a reference to the pincer shape of the 3s, similar to that of a crab.

Crabs is a tricky hand. While it is a pocket pair, it's very low value and it has little playability on the flop and beyond. That being said, if you're short or in late position, they could be worth playing.

Example of "Crabs"

An example of the Crabs hand is a player is dealt 3-3 and limps in from the small blind. A three comes on the flop, making the player a set. They check before calling a raise, planning to keep their opponent in and earn more value on later streets.

  • "I was dealt Crabs under the gun and decided to fold."
  • "He flopped a set holding Crabs, as a three landed on the felt."
  • "She folded the Crabs after facing an open from early position."
Should I always fold with the Crabs hand?

No. Crabs are still a pair, so preflop you have an actual hand where AK or other strong holdings don't. However, when facing aggression preflop, it's likely that at best you'll be flipping and should fold.

What are the odds of being dealt Crabs?

The odds of being dealt Crabs in Texas Hold'em are 0.45%.

What is the best case scenario for a Crabs hand?

Realistically, the best case scenario for Crabs is hitting a set.