Taking Advantage of Your Position in Texas Hold Em’

Your position will dictate what hands you can play. The blind structure and fixed Texas Hold Em’betting sequene in Texas Hold Em’ make positional considerations critcal to profitable play.

You see, poker is a game of information. When you are first to act you know noting about any other hands. Each subsequent player has a little more info and therefore is better able to judge how the hand may play out.

Early Position (the 3 positions after the blinds) puts you at a disadvantage so you will need to be much more selective. Obviously, big hands are playable. Raise with big pairs or AK/ AQ. You should re-raise with monster hands, pairs down to JJ, AK or AQ suite d. Only call a raise with very strong hands form early position. Even KQ should normally be mucked to an early position raise!

As your position improves you’ll be able to add some hands.

Taking Advantage of Your Position in Texas Hold Em

From Middle Position (the next 3 positions) add pairs down to 55. Raise pairs down to about 8s or 9s. Also you should raise high cards such as KQ, AJ or suited high cards down to ATs, QJs. Call with high hands down to JT. Suited connectors can be added to the mix if a few people limped into the pot. You want to play these with lots of other players to get sufficient odds when you hit your hand. Be sure they are suited and don’t play the really small ones. 56s is about as low as you should go. Gapped connectors are not as strong and most should be thown away. Occasionally you can play something like 79s at a loose passive table. You may also add Ax or Kx suited (x is any value) from this position. Also, If no one is in the pot ahead of you, you may want to raise with a hand which you normally wouldn’t. This will do two things. You may “steal the blinds” when everyone folds . And, if you do get callers they will likley check to you because you showed strength. Don’t do it every time but raise often with a variety of hands. Mix it up. other players will get a read on you if you only raise with your strongest hands.

Late Position When you are in late position (the last 2 or 3 positions) you have a lot more information. Note the action ahead of you. If a large number of players limped in your small pair or drawing hand will get good odds to continue. When there are only 1-2 players in you may be better off to fold your tiny pair or other draw. Raise bigger pairs . Again if no one is in ahead of you be more inclined to raise any hand you would play anyways. Unpaired high cards play better against fewer players. Unless they are suited hands like KT or QJ are dangerous if there are early position callers. You may be dominated. If you can’t lay down top pair with a weak kicker after the flop you may be better off tossing them pre-flop. You’ll need to use good judgment either way. Suited connectors and Ax & Kx suited need to use the same caution. The late position helps only if you are willing to lay down some marginal hands when you can see you are beat.

The Blinds Since you already have money in the pot, the big and small blinds allow you to play hand you otherwise wouldn’t. In an unraised pot you can often pay the 1/2 a bet from the small blind to see a flop. Do this with hands that aren’t likley to get you in trouble. Keep in mind your position is the worst at the table. You don’t want to get drawn into hands that will cost you. Throw away garbage hands like Q3 or J6. You can call with odd suited cards or unsuited connectors, just be sure to getaway from them unless you hit your hand or have a good draw. In the big blind you’ve got a full bet in. Unless the pot is raised you’ll see the flop for free. If there is a raise you’ll need to decide if you want to call it. Depending on the number of people in the pot you’ll be getting pretty good odds. Nonetheless you don’t want to throw good money after bad. Be more inclined to call a raise with small or medium suited connectors or small pairs rather than with mediocre high cards such a QTo. These have a good possibility of being dominated by something like AQ or KQ. If the pot has not been raised, go ahead and raise most of your very strong hands. High pairs, high cards and such. Small to medium pairs are a problem. If you think a raise will thin the field go ahead and raise. Most people will call 1 raise so it may be better to see a cheap flop with something like 77.