Postflop Out of Position as the Raiser

Playing out of position as the aggressor is a whole different can of worms. Many players who flat people regularly in position do so because they really believe in their positional abilities. They are unlikely to fold nearly as much as they would if they were out of position.

In addition, in position flatting ranges are generally stronger than out of position flatting ranges. It’s much easier to complete from the blinds for a discounted price with a wide range. In position, having to call the whole bet, and with players to act behind you? You’re flatting with a much tighter range there. People also generally get uptight about having to fold when they are in position. They feel they have more of a right to the pot because they started from a superior plane. All of these factors combine to give us a markedly different strategy out of position than when we are in position.

I noticed when I was younger that the best players would check/fold regularly out of position. “How could that be?” I wondered. “Don’t they pick up more pots than anyone?” I soon came to realize that money saved was worth the exact same amount as money earned. In fact, in tournament poker, often the chips you lost were worth more than what you (hardly) stood to gain.

I also realized later that the pots these players won were much bigger. It’s much easier to launch that triple shell bluff and be believed if you check/folded a few times previously. Furthermore, your continuation bets later in the tournament (when assured success is much more crucial) are far more likely to work. The question then became what hands to check and fold.

To get into the right perspective it’s worth remembering that we are effectively donk leading when we bet out of position. If we would not donk bet with our hand then we really shouldn’t lead. No doubt some of you right now are saying, “But wait, we have the betting lead!” Yes, that is true. That does help us a bit. Our opponent knows we’re more likely to have a hand because we voluntarily entered the pot for a full raise to begin with. However, our bet is actually worse than a donk bet many times. If we flat a raise from the button when we are in the big blind and then lead into the raiser we’re often betting into a 35%+ range. That misses a lot of boards. Alternately, many people’s cold calling range is not more than 8%. That concentrated range hits more boards and has more concealed pairs.

There are boards that these tighter players are likely to miss. Low boards, for example, rarely hit a tighter player’s flatting range. Yet, in general, they are hitting more of the time. When the loaded high-card board comes with flush draws and we have an ace overcard that’s the wrong suit we should just check/fold. We don’t even know if our ace is good if we hit it, because that ace will make our opponent a number of two-pair combinations. We have no backdoor draws that allow us to keep firing. We have nothing.

Imagine the chips you would have fruitlessly thrown out there. Now imagine them going back to your stack. You saved those. You should feel great about yourself every time you do this. Most “professionals” are still throwing those chips into a garbage chute.

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