playing poker

Tip 5 Position of importance

As detailed earlier, you should strive to play most of your hands from the late position, since this allows you to ascertain more accurately the strength of your opponents.  At no point in the hand is this more evident than in deciding whether to open a pot for a raise.

  Very few hands should be played from early position, which can be classified as the first three seats in a 10-handed game.  You won’t go wrong sticking to only premium hands, such as J-J, A-K, or A-Q suited.  In good games (those with several weak players), money can be made by playing T-T, 9-9,A-J, and K-Q suited as well.  This is because the poorer players will be calling your raises with worse hands than these, which would not necessarily be the case in tighter games.

  If the other players have folded to you and you are sitting in any middle position, you can add a few more hands to your opening range.  Now, pairs such as 9-9 are definitely worth a raise, as are big suited cards such as A-J or K-Q.  A-Q offsuit is also worth raising now.  The hands 8-8, A-T suited, and A-J offsuit are marginal here, becoming more playable in later middle position.

  On the button, you can dramatically expand your poker playbook when it’s folded to you.  The primary reason for this is that you have only the blinds to contend with, meaning that even if they should decide to defend (call from a blind position in a raised pot), you will hold position on them for the remainder of the hand.  Pairs such as 5-5 should be played in virtually every situation, and you can raise with the baby pairs too, if the blinds are either very tight or poor players.  You want to capitalize on players who play too tight in the blinds by raising them at every opportunity.  When a poor player is in the blind and you hold the button, you shouldn’t mind playing quite a variety of hands either, as you hold position on this inferior player for the rest of the hand.  This is a good way to attract chips your way.

  In addition to any pair, you can open on the button with hands as weak as K-T or Q-T offsuit, or with suited hands such as K-8.  The button is the one time you may wish to open with a drawing hand.  Again, position is a major reason, along with the fact that if both blinds fold, you win the pot right away.  Even if you do get called, your position and aggression will often allow you to pick up the pot with a bet on the flop.