Pre Flop Strategies by Position – Late Position

This is the favorable position to be in, especially if you are on the button. The button is the dealer button and indicates who was ‘dealing the hand’ at the time. The dealer button is used in casinos or other establishments where there is a designated dealer. You are assumed to be in Late Position if you are the 7th or 8th person to act Pre Flop. You will also be the 9th and 10th to act on the flop, allowing you to determine how each player is going to play their hand before making any decisions as to what you want to do. If you are not on the button there are only 3 out of 9 other players (33%) who can raise up the pot on you if the pot has not been raised prior. If you are on the button the only 2 players who can ruin your chance at limping in for a cheap flop are the blinds themselves.

The reason you want to be in Late Position is because you now have a good idea of who is in the hand and based on past expieriences / understanding what cards any said player is liable to play out of a specific position, you can better determine your course of action. Typically the play from Late Position is to either raise (regardless of what cards you hold, known as a Position Raise) or call in hopes of catching a lucky flop. Raising is usually the favorable play if there are a lot of players in the hand already and you know by betting (Bet Odds) a good portion of them will fold to a strong raise. The others who stay in the hand will have to act before you on the flop so you will know whether or not to drop your hand or bet strong at the pot again. Raising with any 2 cards is definitely the wrong move over time, however. Any cards that’s face value totals 19 or higher justify a decent sized raise (3x the big blind) but nothing too wild. As with Middle Position a medium sized raise will remove limpers and put the thought of small or medium sized pockets in the minds of your opponents allowing you to Represent the Flop when you are last to act on the flop.

Drawing hands are also more powerful in late position because you know whether or not you can limp in cheaply. The players in Early Position have to worry about up to 9 possible opponents raising Pre Flop whereas Late Position players only have to worry about 2 to 3. This means you know 66% more about your opponent’s hands than the person in Early Position.

Areas where you may land yourself in trouble by raising pre flop from Late Position: A) Opponents who typically limp in with large hands in hopes of an opponent raising for them (a wolf in sheep’s clothing.) B) Opponents who protect their blinds (Phil Ivey is an example of this kind of player, he will typically call raises when he is in the blind to take the pot away from you on the flop even though he’s first to act) C) Opponents who love to reraise every raise. Your raises from the Button will be tested from time to time so beware if you plan on making a habit out of Position Raising. Getting caught once may be to your advantage, however, as your opponents may believe you are making the exact same play when you really hold a monster.

There are a good number of hands for you to play in Late Position, over 80 on our chart. You do not want to play all 80 hands when you are in Late Position. Sometimes the play will be to limp in with 65 suited in hopes of catching a lucky flop, other times the correct play is to fold. It all depends on the types of hands and styles your opponents are using AND what they think about you. If you are playing at a very tight table where opponents fold to almost every bet than it’s a good idea to limp in with 65 and buy a cheap pot. If your opponents are raising wildly with any two cards then it is a terrible idea to start playing weak hands against maniac opponents. They will take your money quickly because they are good at throwing large sums of money into a pot, losing big, winning big, and then losing all over again (or winning even bigger.) You do not want to be throwing your money towards a maniac with weak drawing starting cards. Maniacs most likely have some sort of face card with a weak kicker and are raising because they saw a picture card (picture card=good.) Now if your opponents believe you to be one of these maniacs raising on the button with 65 suited or limping in with any 2 cards you can then betting away at the flop you are much more likely to be called than if they believe you to be a tight player. Tricking your opponents into believing you are a tight player when you are actually a loose player is the key to playing weak drawing hands well.

With K8-2 suited you are mostly hoping to catch a flush or flush draw rather than make top pair to take the pot. If you flop a pair of kings that’s alright but don’t go drop your son’s tuition money on it. K8-2 do best when they flop, or turn, two pair. Most opponents will not put you on two pair Kings and 3’s so you have a better chance of busting out the guy holding K9 or KT. The same applies for the Q’s and J’s although you can make a straight with all the Q and J combinations listed with the exception of Q7. 3 card gappers are not very powerful and the amount of flops that will give you an 8 out straight draw are just as small.

Beware of opponents who hold the Ace or King of the suit you are fishing for on the flush draw. Sure you may make a Queen high flush but whose to say your opponent doesn’t have a King high flush? Q high and J high flushes are best when there is already an ace and a king of that suit on the board so you know your opponents don’t hold any cards that can beat you.

As for playing the Tens and below suited and connected cards you should only limp in with them, never raise unless you know your opponents think of you as a tight player. Tight players get away with buying pots unchallenged. Loose players do not. If you do not flop at least 4 to a flush, a straight draw, or top pair you should drop your weak drawing hands immediately because they are no longer drawing hands, they’re dead hands.

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