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Marginal starting hands in Holdem (Play Video Poker)
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Marginal starting hands in Holdem


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Marginal starting hands in Holdem

It’s a simple fact that in Texas Hold’em any hand can be a winner. If played correctly, with the appropriate attitude and fortitude, a marginal hand –even an absolutely terrible hand, can take down a huge pot. Play like this however, is usually better left to the pros and those of seemingly infinite bankrolls. For the rest of us, there are a few guidelines we can use when dealt a middle or poor hand.

To decide how to proceed we need to first define what a marginal hand is. This can be a tricky matter as your hand is often as good as your opponents think it is, in relation to their own hand –follow that? What I mean is, if your opponent(s) are meek players, and you’ve followed a tight poker strategy and have cultivated a tight table reputation, then any bet from you will probably scare them off, if they’re not confident in their own hand. However, for the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that a marginal starting hand is a hand that can turn into something good if we hit the flop. This could be a low pair –say deuce through four, suited connectors (6h,7h) or 1 face card and a low card off suit. Any of these hands could turn into something good after the flop but are probably not the best hand pre-flop.

So how do we play it?

First we need to consider our opponents, or at least those that are still in when it’s our turn to act. If we’re playing at a table of very aggressive players and there are raises already out there, then we should probably simply fold –preflop. Aggressive players often won’t back down, thinking they can bully you out of the hand. With a “not very good” hand, we’re better off not getting into a spitting contest.

If our opponents seem to be from Missouri (the “show me” state), we’d probably want to limp in just to see the flop, then fold if we don’t hit. Players like this will often stick around with nothing –just the faint hope of hitting that one card on the river that will give them a monster hand. With a marginal hand, I’d rather not take that chance of getting into a showdown.

Next we need to consider our . If we’re in the big blind then we’re last to act pre-flop, if no one else has bet, we can simply check and see the flop. However, a bluff may also be in order here, if the remaining players tend to be on the meek side, we may be able to put in a decent sized raise (say two or three times the blind amount) and scare them off. On the other hand, if we’re first or second to act pre-flop, I’d probably recommend folding and waiting for better cards.

Finally, the fewer players there are at the table the better our odds of winning become. In a head’s up game, a low pair has a pretty good chance of being the best hand. Keep that in mind and watch how your opponent acts. I’d probably stick around and see the flop even if I had to call a marginal raise if I sensed any type of weakness in my opponent’s behavior. Obviously if I miss the flop completely and my opponent comes out betting, I’d probably fold pretty quickly.

Tags: Texas Hold'em Strategy

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