Playing the Button Leads to Strong Poker Success

  • Kevin TaylorKevin Taylor
Playing the Button Leads to Strong Poker Success 0001

Position is everything in poker. You may get tired of hearing people constantly talk about how important it is to play pots in late position when you are at the felt. While it may get annoying, it’s a point that literally can’t be harped on enough about. Here are a few reasons why.

Last to Act

The biggest advantage of playing in late position, and specifically the button, is that you are last to act on every street. But it’s important to understand on a different level why it’s key to act after everyone else to truly realize how big an impact it is. By playing a pot on the button, it is up to you to determine the size of the pot in a hand that you continue to play through the river.

Pot Control

If you are the last player to act, you can choose to keep the pot small with a marginal hand by either simply calling the bets in front of you, or being the last player to check it through. However, if you have a big hand, or even a big draw, then you alone can decide how big the pot will be. If for example, you hold {K-Hearts}{Q-Hearts} on the button, and the flop comes {9-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{2-Spades}, this is the kind of hand that you want to absolutely crush on the button. If it checks to you, bet it. If you are facing a bet, raise it up in position, and put your opponents in a tough place by having to call your bet, and then proceed in the hand while playing out of position.

Poker is a game that revolves around forcing your opponents to make tough decisions, while hopefully cutting down on the amount of tough decisions you yourself have to make. By acting after your opponents, you will have the chance to gather all the information that you have now been given: who has checked, who has bet, and make the best decision from there. If you have to act first, you have to decide what to do without knowing the strength of anyone’s hand behind you. The more that you can gather the limited amount of information that you have on a standard poker hand, the more successful you will be.

Aggression

Of course, the power that you have by playing on the button will be virtually nullified if you aren't prepared to play it aggressively. This isn't to say that you should bet constantly when you are on the button regardless of your hand. However, if you press your draws and marginal hands, then you will get your opponents to fold their draws and marginal hands. If you start to take note of this, and play your button more aggressively, you will see an immediate boost in your poker profits.

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