Table position is one of the most important factors of the poker table. Once you have begun developing your poker mindset and developed strict starting hand requirements it’s time to organize your starting hand requirements based on table position.
We will start from under the gun (first to act or directly left of the big blind) and work our way around the table to the blinds. When playing hands under the gun you need to adhere to the tightest starting hand requirements you can. The reason behind this is that the entire table acts behind you and if you try to limp in (a hand like 3 7 off suit) then a hand like JJ, QQ, AKs may bully you out of the pot if you haven’t committed too many chips. You can always play low suited cards in later positions if you feel the need, but for the most part you shouldn’t be playing cards that improve your position from ante to post.
There are really only 3 tables you play aggressively in and this is based on the position you are at. When you are in later positions you can play hands like 5 5, 7 7 as well as hands like KK or even AA. Hands that you would normally consider to be marginal or worse in late position are much more playable, because you can often steal the blinds with raises, whereas if you are in earlier positions you can play tightly, due to less players behind you.
To act in the blinds, you should only play hands that improve your position. Hands that are marginal in early position are still playable, so you should not raise, but you should be much more cautious with cards that give you a good hand because you are throwing money away with a poor hand. Hands like 2 8 of various suits are also hands that you should include in your aggressive arsenal from the blinds and also in later positions.
The key is to not play every hand, but when you have a good hand you want to force out the bad hands. That means that you can win with 7 6 or 10 3 off suit, but you will win less than if you’d raised with 10 10 or a similar hand. The other thing is that you want to win more than you lose and this is easier said than done. You will have to wait a long time between big hands and a flop of cards that hits your cards hard. In that sense, you are like a hardcore fan that wants to get a card to add to the collection.
How do you know when you should play aggressively? It’s basically this: if you are at a table where most of the players know your game or at least are making some sort of shuffle, then you are at an easier time determining whether you want to play or not. If most of the players are putting less than two pence in the pot with their semi-bluff hands, then you really should be ready to drop a good chunk of your stack in pre-flop. Some players call this point play the “atics” of the panen138.
This style of play is also sometimes called “tight aggressive.” If you have a friend who styles himself as a tight aggressive player, you can quote him back to you anytime. This is another football team that only plays when they have a surefire win and nothing to lose, and nothing better than that.
The problem with this attitude is that it’s often a bit too neat and tight, resulting in a rather sterile, formulaic approach to playing. You may want to embrace the riskier, more aggressive side of poker without having to follow a straight track to the poorhouse. Just mix it up a bit, toss in a few curves and you will have both the time and the material you need to hunt down your prey and clean up.