I only have two points to make in this column: Use the power of position and execute your plan for your hand. Have a nice, profitable month and I look forward to hearing about all of your success.
Ah, if it were only that simple, right?
Keep it simple. Stop complicating your game and trying to play all kinds of hands in all kinds of positions. Stop guessing as to whether your hand is good while you’re check-calling your way to shipping all of your chips to the guy in position with the gutshot that gets because you don’t know where you stand and just keep guessing on your journey to losing session after losing session.
I’ve written about these concepts before, but I’m going to break it down simply this time and tap into the extra knowledge fresh in my brain thanks to the increased amount of live cash games I’ve been playing since Black Friday.
First, if you’re a student of the game and have gone beyond the fundamentals, you’re way ahead of the game. Select games where you have an edge on most of the payers at the table. Sometimes this means stepping down a limit or two, or it may even require stepping up sometimes, but that’s not the focus of this column.
Be the house. Casinos are built on small edges and if you select the right games, you will have a much bigger edge on every betting street than Steve Wynn has on any bet placed at any time. If you select games where you have an edge, you effectively build a little printing press for your expendable cash, bankroll, rent, entertainment, etc.
Play hands IN POSITION! Yeah, I know you haven’t had a hand in a while and that suited K-10 looks awesome UTG+1, but MUCK IT! You know you’re almost always going to have multiple callers who will have position on you postflop and they’ll have the advantage.
If you’re in a loose game then stay patient and wait for small pairs and suited connectors, the kinds of hands that play well postflop vs. multiple opponents. When you get into a pot with these hands, play them for two pair or better. If you simply hit a pair or gutshot draw and people are betting into you, let them go. Don’t get caught up in thinking “my hand might be good.” Execute your plan for making two pair or better and pound your opponents when you crush the board.
Be the player that gets away from the speculative postflop hands and let your opponents be the ones handing you the chips. The exception to this is when you miss, but have position.
There are so many players who are going to play fit-or-fold and you will encounter many pots that no one seems to really want. If you’re playing hands in position, you can pick up many of these pots with little risk. When it is checked to you on the flop or turn, take a stab and try to take the pot.
This is the power of position and if you don’t exploit it, you’re leaving money on the table.
With all this in mind, you must execute your plan for the hand. If you’ve called raises or limped in with a hand passively, then you should have a plan. If you crush that flop then go to war, or evaluate the betting to maybe take advantage of your position to take away the pot.
Most of the time, I suggest following through with your plan for the hand or just get out. Especially when you are out of position. Don’t get too fancy trying to represent hands when you’re out of position. It’s simply too hard to control the size of the pot and be creative enough to show a profit.
Playing in position gives you more options to deviate from your plan, represent hands your opponents may be scared of and to take those pots no one seems to want. You shouldn’t be calling and playing too many raises out of position anyway.
If you focus on limiting your calling to hands when in position and raising or folding preflop when out of position, you’ll set yourself up for much greater success.
Play hands in position, stay true to your plan, let others make mistakes and Decide to Win!
— Lee Childs is a poker pro who founded Acumen Poker. If you’d like to check out his video on Tournament Poker Edge visit tournamentpokeredge.com and register with referral ID: