Abusing the Button Part 1

Abusing the button in poker
Hey guys, I made a couple mini strategy videos for my blog. Today I will be posting part 1. The hands were taken from a short NL5 session that I played a few days ago while working with a student. Unwittingly I kind of played like a maniac overall and especially in late position. I don't want anybody to get the wrong idea here though. While I do think that LAG is optimal at the lowest limits I am only playing 4 tables in these videos. I would never attempt to play like this while 24 tabling. And if I was playing at a higher limit where some of the regs might play back at me some more I would also tone it down quite a bit.

Also, you don't have to open this wide either (I am raising some pretty junky stuff like K2s, T5s). The main idea here is just to open your eyes a little bit if you are currently playing a really nitty game. And believe me I used to be that nit. But a couple of years ago I started realizing just how profitable it was to start isolating much wider than I normally would versus the legions of limpers that you will find at these limits. It definitely was difficult at first because I had it engrained in my head: only play good hands. However when you start to open up your range even a little bit it eventually becomes second nature to you.

You learn to think less about the strength of your hand and instead focus on the strength of your position. As I talk about at length near the beginning of my book, with a huge sample of Hold'em Manager data to prove it, money flows towards the button in poker in a big way and there is just no denying it. It might seem like an overly simplistic view of things but if we know that the blinds and early position aren't very profitable, in fact losing in the former case, why not just play less hands there? And conversely, if we know that the cutoff and button are wildly profitable why not just play as many hands as possible from them?

This is the overall approach that I have tried to take over the past couple years and I think it has paid dividends in my winrate. I hope you enjoy these two videos and if you have any questions or comments about the hands, please post them below.

Lastly, I would just like to thank Pokerlistings for the recent article that they did on me. I was thrilled to do the interview with them and I thought it turned out excellent. The article can be found here:


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  1. I have abused the button (thanks to your great book!) a lot in NL2 and NL5, but I am facing a lot of 3Bets in NL10 from players with a 3Bet stat of 5% and more...

    I tightened up quite a bit on the button if I have those players in the blinds, but I still feel that I am losing quite a bit of money against them!

    What do you do in these situations? 4Bet light?

    Thank you for an answer and best regards!

  2. Hi Kai,

    You are right. You can get away with this easily at NL2 ad NL5 but by NL10 some regs start fighting back. You should tighten up or float more (IP) and 4bet light. I would try not to get too involved with it though at NL10 because you don't want to be wasting your time with it. Moving tables and getting nits or fish on your left is often easier.