play the hand one is dealt

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play the hand one is dealt (third-person singular simple present plays the hand one is dealt, present participle playing the hand one is dealt, simple past and past participle played the hand one was dealt)

  1. (idiomatic) To use the resources which one actually has available; to operate realistically, within the limits of one's circumstances.
    • 1919, William MacLeod Raine, chapter 6, in Oh, You Tex:
      "Don't you care. Play the hand that's dealt you and let the boss worry."
    • 1992 October 1, Timothy W. Smith, “When the Going Gets Good, Jets Go Bad”, in New York Times, retrieved 9 April 2013:
      "We have the players we have and I've got to play the hand dealt," Coslet said. "We are limited in what we can do."
    • 2001 June 24, Martha Duffy, “Take This Job and Love It”, in Time:
      "I am a great believer in self-management, that you must survive and find a way to play the hand you are dealt."
    • 2012 January 2, Alex Spillius, “Mitt Romney: a safe pair of hands?”, in The Telegraph, UK, retrieved 9 April 2013:
      There were mainstream candidates who seemed stronger than Mr Romney. . . . But the party must play the hand it is dealt, which appears to be Mr Romney.