Playing Pots in Position vs. Out of Position
Play Poker » Playing Pots in Position vs. Out of Position
When you first sit at a table one thing to first identify is where the dealer button is. If you are entering pots you want to enter them ideally from late position or from the button. The reason for this is because you will have the last action in a hand after the flop. Getting to have the last action in a pot is a huge advantage because you get to see what everyone else does before you decide what to do. If you decide to play hands out of position you are going to be at a disadvantage because you will not be able to see what other players do. Playing pots out of position can get very complex and allows you the slimmest possibility of gathering information with the largest risk.
When you enter a pot from the button before the flop you are allowing yourself first the chance of winning the pot before the flop, and second, allowing yourself to gather a bunch of information. When you play from the button you can manipulate pots much easier and you have all of the control over how big or small a pot will get. Most of the time, on the flop, if you raised pre-flop, the player who is out of position will check to you. When this player checks to you it gives you a chance to fire at the pot to win it there. This is a second way to win the pot along with a raise before the flop from the button. If they decide to bet in to you most of the time it means they have hit some piece of it, but it is a small piece of the board. If it was a huge piece of the board it makes more sense for them to check rather than bet. If they bet then the hand could be over right there and they would gather only what is in the pot. Also, moving along in the hand when a player bets a flop and then checks the next street it shows weakness. If you are on the button and someone bets and then checks, it is like them handing you the pot. This is the third spot where you have the opportunity to win the pot without showing your cards. The fewer hands you show the better your table image is. If you continue to win pots from the button players will no longer call and see flops, they will most likely not mess around in pots with you.
If you are playing a hand out of position this means that you are to the left of the person who has the button. More times than not you will be in the small blind or big blind. If you are in the blinds you should stay away from calling raises. If you start to play a lot of pots out of position you can get in trouble and lose all of your chips in a hurry. The reason is when you just call a raise before the flop you have no clue what their hand range is. If you have no clue what their range of hands could be then you don’t know what the correct action will be on the flop. Since you are out of position, you have gathered little to no information about the best course of action on any given hand. Also, when out of position the standard play is to check and the pre-flop raiser will bet. If you are calling a lot of raises with marginal hands you will build big pots and basically be gambling as to whether your opponent has it or not. If you are doing this throughout the course of a few sessions in a row it could destroy your win rate and cripple your bankroll. This is a spot to stay far away from as much as possible.
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