Monday, November 26, 2012

Bug's Poker Tip #20

"Saying Position is important in poker is like saying distance and direction are important in golf." 
-Tommy Angelo

Sometimes it's useful to review the fundamentals, and that's what this Bug Tip is all about: Position. Before you consider doing anything before the flop in Hold'em, you need to consider what position you will be in after the flop. Position means acting last. This gives you information, allows you to control the size of the pot, and makes bluffing, stealing, cbetting, and drawing easier. You having position in a hand puts heartburn into the bellies of your opponents. But none of these things are possible if you don't have position. In fact, your opponent will be able to do all those same things to you, including the heartburn. You have QJs in the SB and an early position player opens for a raise? Fold. Got 33 in the BB and an aggro late position multi-barreller opens from the button? Fold. Got 55, AJ, or 98s UTG at a full ring table of LAgs? Fold, fold, and fold. Poker is hard enough without putting yourself at a disadvantage before anything has really happened yet in the hand. It's like deciding to go to war, but you're letting the other guy take the high ground before the first shot if fired. You had better have a really big gun to make up for the terrain disadvantage.  The same is true in poker; your gun (i.e,. your cards) have to be strong enough to make up for any positional shortcomings.

Bonus Tip #1: Position is even more important in multi-way pots, as your advantages of having position (or disadvantages of being OOP) is multiplied by the number of opponents you face.

Bonus Tip #2: As a general rule, don't bloat the pot preflop out of position unless you have really strong cards, like QQ+ or AKo+.  This is one of few instances in poker where calling is sometimes better than raising.

All-in for now...

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