If there’s one concept that seems to cause discussion at every turn, it has to be hand selection. Poker is all about hand selection. The hands we play can end up making us a lot of money, or pulling us into a losing streak best washed away with the liquor of your choice. We’re bourbon people, if you must know.
Now then, what about this marginal hands thing? If you’re a new player that’s being picked on for playing too many marginal hands, you might wonder what the term really means. That’s what we’re here for — thank us later.
Simply put, marginal hands are neutral — they’re not terribly good, but they’re not the doggy 72o, either. That’s a wicked bad hand. Something like AJ would be considered a marginal hand.
There’s a time and a place to play hands. Even 72o can steal a pot that would otherwise have floated away from you. But when it comes to marginal hands, it’s all about looking at the situation around them. If you’ve got AJ, and the flop confirms keeping it — keep it. On the other hand, if you’ve got AJ and the flop comes down 6-9-3, you really need to go ahead and fold that sucker before you fire chips at a pot you’re not going to win.
Studying past hands gives you an idea of how marginal hands have worked for you in the past. If you weren’t aware of them, don’t beat yourself up. Just study the data. Study how you can become a better poker player. Life is way too short to beat yourself up about anything. In the world of playing poker of real money, you’re bound to make some mistakes. This is why many newbies are better suited to playing for fun before real money gets involved. By the time you start playing for real cash, you should be pretty desensitized to the whole concept of losing. You’re going to lose. You’re also going to win big. Making the numbers average out in the long run is what poker is truly all about.
So don’t get too caught up in marginal hands. For the players that are picking on you… just remember: they were fish once, too. Good luck!