If we use “marginal” to describe something, it implies something negligible or borderline. In agriculture, marginal farmland means land that is very close to break-even profitability. The water close to the edge can also be called marginal, so you see the idea.

Okay, so what is a marginal hand in poker?

A marginal poker hand has the potential to develop, but is quite weak preflop. To explain more about them, see the hand strength categories below.

  • Monsters. These are the best possible starters that are given to players very rarely. This includes pocket Aces, Kings and Queens, hands such as suited AK and AQ. How long will you have to wait? For example, the chance of getting AA is only 0.45%, which is equivalent to once every 222 hands.
  • Strong. These are hands that everyone is ready to play with postflop: pocket pairs from Tens and above, strong suited Aces, KQs. You won't always be ready to immediately bet all your chips with such a starter, but you can often look at community cards with it.
  • Marginal (borderline). These starters have some potential postflop, but you almost never want to put all your chips in with them preflop. The exception is a very short stack. For example, suited JT, 89, 76, etc.
  • Junk. These are combinations like unsuited 72, 83, K4, etc. Sometimes even with such hands, players beat strong preflop combinations, but this happens extremely rarely. In the early stages of a career, it is better to completely abandon their play.

Marginal hands are also called marginal hands because their equity is on the border between strong and weak starting combinations. There are situations when they can (and even need to) be played, and in some hands they can easily pass.

Marginal starters can be divided into several groups:

  • Suited connectors and semi-connectors. This group does not include Broadway cards, but combinations like 89, 56, 78. They have good potential on a low flop, so we are not ready to part with connected cards right away.
  • Pocket pairs. We are talking about weak pocket pairs – from Twos to Eights. From a late position we will happily play them through a raise, and in the blinds, we will call one raise from our opponent. What to do with such a hand in early positions? This is the most striking example of a borderline situation, where on some tables it will open, and on others it will fold.
  • Assorted connectors. There is less chance of strengthening such a hand, since we only claim one card for a flush. Therefore, the requirements for their play will be even higher than in the case of a suited connector.
The equity of a marginal suited hand is 5% higher than that of a similar but unsuited hand

You will not see universal advice in this part of the article, since it does not exist in nature. Each hand is unique – and you need to make certain adjustments to the size of your stack, the situation at the table, the strength of your opponents, your previous history of interaction with them, etc. But you will get some basic tips:

In the early stages of your career, it is better to avoid playing marginal hands. Now your task is to learn not to lose chips and understand the basic concepts of poker.

Your task is not to inflate the pot preflop, but to see the flop as cheaply as possible.

If you don't hit the flop, you can calmly part with the starter by discarding it. The goal of the game is to catch a "monster" with which you will win a lot of chips.

Experienced players have their own strategy for each draw. We are sharing some tips on how to improve your poker game.

Study and Train

What do the vast majority of professionals have in common? They, as one, argue that you need to train often and a lot. Otherwise, you risk losing control of what is happening at the poker table. New concepts will appear that you will not be aware of.

And you need to consolidate theoretical knowledge in practice. To do this, you can play in freerolls or create private home games with friends. These two options are completely free or inexpensive, in trusted poker rooms. For example, partypoker runs Round the Clock events every hour, with hundreds on the line

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