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Various online poker guides (for example, this one) talk about which preflop hands you should or shouldn't play from a given position, and all say basically the same thing. Basically, they group various hands by position, and say that for beginners just learning the ropes, you should only "play" a hand from a given position if it's in the list for that position. But they never seem to elaborate on what they mean by "playing" a hand. Does that mean you should bet whatever's necessary to see the flop (i.e., call/reraise any raise), or does it just mean you definitely should call the blinds, and whether or not to reraise/call any raise is another question altogether?

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Playing the hand is just a starting point in the learning process. Learning how to play the hand is the learning process. There is lots of commentary on how to play hands, online in books etc. This commentary is the elaboration your looking for. – Jon Oct 2 '14 at 6:06
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Putting any money in whatsoever constitutes "playing" the hand in this context.

  • If you call a blind, bet, or raise, you are playing the hand.
  • If you fold, you are not playing the hand.
  • If you are the big blind and there are no bets, raises, straddles, or other additions of money beyond the blinds -- so you do not have to add any money to see the flop -- you are "playing" the hand in a literal sense, but not in the sense that most books or guides are talking about. You almost never want to fold a starting hand -- even a terrible one like 72o -- if it is free to see the next card(s). But you would only keep playing in that situation if you connect with the board in a meaningful way.
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