Texas Hold'em is a positional game. Your position is determined by where you are sitting in relationship to the dealer button. Unlike games like stud where the betting order changes with each betting round, the order is fixed in Texas Hold'em. Before the flop the person to the left of the big blind bets first. This position is known as being "Under the Gun" and it is the worst position to be in at a full table limit game. It is the position where you will fold the majority of your hands.
I can't stress enough the fact that Hold'em is a positional game. When you are in early position you need a strong hand to enter the pot. You have no idea what the players who follow you will do. It is extremely costly to enter the pot with marginal cards only to be raised or re-raised. This is where the category of "Big Cards" definitely comes into play and not all big cards can be played in early position. When you are in early position you want to play a hand that can hopefully stand up to a raise. This is especially true if you are "under the gun", the first player to act.
When I am under the gun I will limit my play to big pairs or an ace with a jack or higher. In a very passive game I may loosen up just a bit, but it is usually better to play tight when you are under the gun. I seldom limp in when I am under the gun, preferring to use a raise or fold strategy. The main goal of raising when you are under the gun is to narrow the field of players seeing the flop. Big pocket pairs play best against a narrow field.
If you play a weak or marginal hand before the flop, you are at risk of getting raised by those acting after you. There is also a possibility of multiple raises. If you decide to fold, you have cost yourself a bet without ever seeing any other cards. Before you make a bet in early position, you have to ask yourself if the hand is strong enough to call a raise from a player in a later position. If you would not call a raise with your starting hand, you should throw it away. Some hands are drawing hands that play better with many opponents calling the pot. If you have to act first, you have no idea how many players will call or fold.
You might think that if you always raise when you are under the gun, it will be easier for the other players to read you but that will hardly be the case. If you are playing at a full table you will only be under the gun once every ten hands and the majority of the time you will fold. You might only be dealt a hand to raise with once or twice in a session.
Tight is Right
Until next time remember:
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