Tuesday, April 24, 2018

5 Easy Ways to Use Position to Triple Your Poker Winnings

Using position in poker to win more
One of the easiest ways to start drastically improving your poker winnings is to simply play more hands in position where you get to act last. More specifically this means playing more hands from seats like the button, the cutoff and the hijack.

The cutoff by the way is the seat directly to the right of the button and the hijack is two seats to the right of the button.

But you don't even have to take my word for it. You can go into whatever poker tracking program you use right now, such as PokerTracker, and see the results for yourself by sorting for winrate by position.

As long as you have a decent sample (100k+ hands) I can pretty much guarantee you that your results from these late position seats will be at least triple what they are from the other seats at the poker table.

This is why it is so incredibly easy to significantly increase your poker winnings by using position more. You already know that you are literally printing money from a handful of seats at the poker tables right?

So what's the super obvious conclusion here? Play more hands from those seats of course! Exploit this winning formula. I am going to show you how in this article.


1. Call With a Wider Range Preflop in Position


The first thing that you want to start doing is flat call with a much wider range from seats like the button, the cutoff or the hijack.

I already assume that you are calling or re-raising with hands like:

AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 99, 88, 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22, AK, AQ, AJ, KQ and QJ


But you should also add many of these hands to your calling range as well:

JTs, 98s, 87s, 76s, 54s, KTs, QTs, J9s, T8s, A9s, A8s, A7s, A6s etc.


The "s" stands for suited by the way.

Basically I am looking to flat with a much wider range than most people from these "print money seats" that we already identified before. And this is because I expect to be able to use my positional advantage to outplay them over and over again.

But I am not doing this against just anyone. As I discuss at length in The Micro Stakes Playbook I am specifically targeting the bad regs and of course the fish.

The bad regs are the ones who have big fundamental issues in their game such as betting the flop a lot but giving up on the turn too much if you are still around in the hand.


For Example:

Bad Reg X has a Flop CBet of 70% but a Turn CBet of only 40%


These are HUD stats by the way.

But often you don't even need a HUD to recognize this although it of course makes it easier. The "one and done" players as I like to call them are easy to spot if you are paying attention.

I love to flat call players like this in position preflop with a wide range of hands, call their bet on the flop and then bet the turn when they give up.

It often doesn't even matter if I actually have anything on the turn or not. It's besides the point because we already know that they are often just going to check/fold anyways.


2. Using Position to Pot Control


Another major advantage of playing more hands in position is being able to control the size of the pot. This is something that a lot of micro stakes players struggle with.

Pot control means that you get to decide the pace of the action in the hand. When they check to you on the turn for instance you get to decide whether to check back or to bet. Or if they bet then you get to decide to whether to just call, raise or even fold.

Basically what this all means is that you get to decide exactly what size of pot you want to play. You also keep yourself out of difficult situations.

For instance, do you often find yourself having middle pair on the turn and don't know what to do? The easy fix is to just check it back, keep the pot small, and decide what to do on the river.

One of the biggest reasons why you will win so much more money by playing in position in poker is because you get to wear the pants every single hand. You are in control, not them.


3. Position Allows You to Craft the Perfect Value Bets


Another massive reason why your results will be at least triple from the late position seats in poker is because you can get all those little value bets in no matter what.

What do I mean by a "value bet?"

I mean any bet where you have the best hand and you are looking to get paid off. And you don't need to have the nuts by any means. You can value bet bottom pair or even ace high as long as they can call with worse.

The reason why position helps you get paid off so much easier is because it really looks like you are bluffing to them. They will think you are just "abusing your position" again when in fact you are not.

I played a hand the other day which I discussed on my Youtube channel that illustrates all of this to a tee (including the previous points as well).




As you can see in this hand I was able to control the size of the pot the entire way and craft the perfect value bet size on the river to make sure that I got the maximum payoff from this player.

And as I also discussed, even if I hadn't hit my top pair in this hand I was going to find a way to wrestle the pot from him anyways. So in other words, he was screwed either way because position always wins in poker.


4. Position Allows You to Craft the Perfect Bluffs


Now something else that position allows you to do is make the perfect bluffs. Even though I don't suggest bluffing all too often at the micros (because they will just call your ass down!), there are still a few situations where it can be useful.

Versus tight/bad regs is one of them.

I love bluffing the tight regs who don't go to showdown very often because I am exploiting their #1 weakness. That is, playing too scared and being afraid to put money in the pot without the nuts.

These types of players are literally everywhere these days at the lower stakes especially online. You will see them playing 18% of their hands in 6max or 12% in full ring and their went to showdown % (WTSD) will be in the low to mid 20's.

Once again, you don't specifically need to be using a HUD in order to recognize these guys although it will of course make it a lot easier.

In general it will be pretty obvious who these players are because they will rarely be involved in the action, and when they do finally show down a hand it will very often be the nuts or close to it.

You can bluff these kinds of players again and again when they have slowed down and started checking or calling in the hand instead of betting or raising.

Because this lets you know that they probably don't have much and they are just hoping to get to a cheap showdown with their weak pair or draw. I won't let that happen because I will be using my positional advantage to bluff them instead.


5. Position Helps You Finally Stop Tilting


The final reason why playing more hands in position is likely to skyrocket your poker winnings is because it helps you tilt less.

This is an absolute lifesaver for many people since a huge amount of you identified tilt to me as a major problem in my recent survey of 1,000+ poker players that I conducted for this website.

The reason why playing in position helps you tilt less is because you aren't forced to play the guessing game. You will always get to act after they do and this helps you limit your losses.

For instance, you value bet the river with your top pair and get raised. You know deep down that you are beat but something inside you just won't allow you to find the fold button. You make the crying call and they show you the suckout. Sound familiar?

However, if you were in position in this hand instead then you would have likely lost a much smaller pot. And this is because the guy who hit the suckout would bet out and you would just call, keeping the pot size smaller.

Yes, you still lose the hand but the psychological effect of losing a smaller pot will help keep your frustration levels lower. And this will go a long way towards reducing the overall effects of tilt.


Final Thoughts


I really can't emphasize just how important the power of position is in poker. As I discussed in Crushing the Microstakes, it is one of the twin pillars to your success at the micros. The other being the power of initiative which is a topic for another article.

And this is why I also suggested in that book that you should be playing at least 3 times as many hands from the button/cutoff/hijack as from most other positions at the poker table.

There has been a popular trend in recent years in poker theory and literature which emphasizes flatting more preflop from the blinds in particular.

This is just another example of poker advice that is good for balancing your range against world class opponents in high stakes games. However it is pretty bad advice for you against the half drunk beginners in your $5 games online.

The bottom line is that the money comes from the button, the cutoff and the hijack in poker. It doesn't matter if your name is Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey, you are going to lose money from the blinds, guaranteed.

As in life, it's always better to do things the easy way in poker. Play more hands in position and you will profit more.

Make sure you let me know in the comments below how you use position to maximize your earnings at the poker tables.

Lastly, make sure you pick up a copy of my free poker ebook to learn my complete strategy on how to crush the micros.

Using position in poker to profit more

15 comments:

  1. If you're flatting more in position, whats that going to change your stats to? So if you were playing a 22/19 for ex, wouldn't it look more like a 22/15 or something? It seems to be moving away from tag stats/game to a more weakish player.

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    1. I wouldn't worry about the stats too much. This article is for advanced players who are looking to find new profit sources. You can also 3Bet light with these hands from time to time to balance it out a bit.

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    2. After reading the article I have to say I agree with prety nuch everything but I have a question for you. What do you mean by advanced players? yeah sure if someone has been playing poker for 2 months then this stuff is advanced but if someone is playing for let's say 1 year now then alll of that is pretty much common knowleage. I don't see anything advanced here and I am a big fish so if I understand and use this stuff then it can't be so advanced. Don't take this the wrong way by the way, I think your articles are quite good and informative in general.

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    3. Your focus shouldn't be on your playing stats (pre flop)but your opponents, depending on the right table 15/12 could be optimal but another more like 28/22 - Also with regards to the gap between VPIP and PFR - You assumed that indicates a weakish player but the while it used to be true that we wanted to keep that gap tight in today's game we should be competent in playing a much wider range from the BB so ideal 6 max stats will have a much larger gap, something like 27/22 but again, its a red herring. If the tables is good then you should be playing ALOT of hands, and if the table is so tough that you have to play a super tight game then leave that table :)

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    4. I love this article by the way, I've had the opinion for a long time that while we need to learn how to defend the blinds well our focus should be improving how we defend our BU, we are going to lose from the BB and all we are trying to do with our defends is lose the minimum (less than folding) whereas our BU defends are where we make the money.

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    5. Hey Iakovos, some of the advice that I suggested in this article such as flatting with suited connectors in LP is not something that beginners should be doing imo. But for people who understand the fundamentals and feel confident in their postflop abilities, this is a way to start creating new profit sources.

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  2. With hands like KOo and A6s-A9ss are you playing them on the BU versus every position (FR game) or folding them vs the earliest potions?

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    1. Really depends on the player who raised. I will let them go sometimes versus a good reg. Versus bad regs or fish I am always calling, might even 3Bet sometimes depending on the player.

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    2. I think one of the points of this article is that the closer you are to the button the wider your range for flatting. You do have to assess whether the opener is likely to have a drawing hand or a made hand, that sort of thing, but all things being equal your preflop range widens when you are in the hijack and may open even a bit more from there. Direct opposite in SB, BB, and BB+1, where I may dump the same hand I flat on from late position.

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  3. in a 6 max game ... 3 positions out of 6 are the BTN/Co/Hj ... so basically we raise a lot since the other 3 are only another Mp position and the blinds

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    1. FWIW I forget about hijack in 6-handed when plotting late position unless I have a genuinely playable hand. But that's just me and WTF do I know?

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  4. In the video example; I don't think you can ever rule out any possible hand for your opponent if they are bad enough - and at NL2 many will be. So in the hand shown there's no reason to be confident that the villian didn't have a 2 in their hand. Or they could simply have had AK and have been playing it cautiously for pot-control. The analysis given is perfectly sound for higher-stakes, but at NL2 you can't assume any logic or method in the opponents' play. Any sentence beginning 'he can't have...' can end up being very expensive! He can, and he will!

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    1. I get you, but you can assume certain lines of logic or method at the low limits. Example: if a player is really bad he won't be soft-playing AK when the K hits. He might check the turn, but never the river. He won't have the discipline or patience for that. Most of the time.

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  5. Finally got around to looking up my results by position Nathan and what a shocker!!!! LOL
    I have posted a screenshot in the General Forum within your Poker Forums for everyone to have a bloody good laugh at.
    Makes me have to ask the question .... Should we adopt a strategy where we only play from mid position to the button and fold everything else including AA UTG????

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    1. Hehe Mike ya the results can often be a real shocker. To answer your question though it is still important to play hands from other positions as well just for some semblance of balanced hand selection. And this does become more important as you move up versus players who are actually paying attention to your VPIP in the big blind vs button for instance.

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