This is where poker will become more interesting. The cut off is the first position considered late position and is a spot where you will more often than not be in position. There is a much bigger transition in our range from MP to CO, as will be shown in our hand selection.
The cut off is one of your most profitable positions, second only to the button. This position is where you will start isolating weak players that limp and 3betting players to keep the pressure on. Lets get to our range:
- ● 22+ (all pairs)
- ● A5s+
- ● A9o+
- ● 65s+
- ● JTo+
- ● QTo+
- ● KTo/K9s
- ● T8s+ (suited one gapers)
- ● Q9s+ (suited two gapers)
Roughly 23% of total hands.
The idea here is to steal blinds and isolate limpers. If you successfully steal someone’s blind you have earned 1.5BB’s (big blinds). If you beat a game for 5 PTBB (poker tracker big bets, or two big blinds) you will notice that you earn .1BB per hand. That means that stealing blinds earns you 15 times the average profit per hand. Beginning to understand why it’s so important and profitable?
Believe it or not, but playing from the CO in loose games is more tricky than tight games when it comes to isolating. In a tight game you can raise anything and most decisions will be easy. In a loose game you run the risk of playing a lot of pots with marginal hands and (despite being IP) losing money.
As you become better post flop you will have the capacity to raise more and more hands from position to isolate limpers, but first we have to examine situations where we should and should not isolate a player.
Lets imagine the following scenario:
You are in the CO with K9s, UTG who plays 38/10 limps (you’ve seen this player limp UTG with KQo, and with K4s in LP), This player is on the passive side and folds to cbets 50% of the time. The button is a mediocre TAG playing 18/15 and doesn’t have a penchant for 3betting light IP, though you have seen him do it. The blinds are two half stacks playing 30- 35% of their hands. What’s your play?
Although the player UTG is bad and limps a wide range we can be sure he’s at the top of his limping range UTG and is aware of the significance of position. We also know that he folds to 50% of cbets, and likely less when his range is strong (which it is due to him being UTG).
The button is of very little concern, but we know he’ll reraise us with AQ+ and TT+ and on rare occasion with a bluff, so this is something to consider.
The second biggest concern of the hand is the shorties in the blinds. They play way too many hands and don’t care about position. Without flopping sometime strong it will be hard to play against these players as they will regularly be out of line. You have a hand with some potential, as it is suited, however implied odds come from deep stacks, not short ones. This compounded with dealing with a player limp-calling UTG is problematic because it is very possible you will be three way to the flop.
Let’s examine another situation:
You are in the CO with 65s, MP limps, he has a full stack and plays 25/12, with a fold to cbet of 66%. The button is a 20/10 weak/tight player. The blinds have one good winning TAG who 3bets too much OOP and one donk who plays big pots with marginal hands too often, and has between 140 and 180BB’s, and you cover.
You definitely want to raise to isolate the player in MP who is definitely weak tight. His fold to cbet is on the low end as far as weak tight goes, but you have full stacks and position Combined with a hand that has major potential it is a very profitable situation. We don’t want the button to come along, but if he does we still can represent something by cbetting the flop, and we also have major flop potential.
The TAG who 3bets too much is kind of problematic, but this is a situation where once in a while we can call and bluff some flops.. The other great feature of this hand is the weak player in the blinds who we cover. We will have position on this guy with amazing implied odds, so we definitely don’t mind if he comes in.
If a player calls too much after the flop you want to lean towards raising something like K9s, instead of 65s, unless you are 100bb+ with that player. General against these guys you can milk them with strong pairs/draws, so it supports raising a Kx hand that can make strong pairs.
In the first scenario we didn’t raise K9s due to short stacks, but that was only because we were afraid that UTG would also come along with a hand that might dominate us, also we’d rather have 65s in a multiway pot, as opposed to k9s (with much less potential postflop). It may seem somewhat counterintuitive and as if I was contradicting myself, but focus on each facet of the hand and how one hand can be a more profitable raise than the other, if they are in fact profitable at all. FWIW I’d rather raise 65s in the first scenario, though its close between raising and folding.
Lets focus on a scenario where it would be preferable to isolate with K9s/KTo/A9o, etc.
You are in the CO with A9o, MP limps, he has between 75 and 100BB’s and plays 40-50/5-15. The button is a tight player, and the blinds are also on the somewhat tight side, maybe playing as many as 35% of hands, but less OOP. This player folds to cbet 70%+ of the time. As his fold to cbet increase, so should your isolating range, and visa versa.