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Playing out of position is bad...

Playing out of position is bad...

 

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2008-03-24

I always need to keep reminding myself of the importance of position when playing no limit hold em. Although Iíve been playing for years, I still occasionally fall into the trap of playing hands I shouldnít play out of position.

Even though you know this is undeniably true, sometimes we just canít help ourselves and when we do, it can become a serious drain on your bank roll. This is especially true in crazy, aggressive games. So what do you do to combat this? Well, for starters, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

Am I prepared to call a raise if someone raises?
If I am willing to call a raise, how much am I willing to call?
If I flop some kind of draw, how much will it potentially cost me to try to hit it?

By asking yourself these questions, you will make better informed decisions during the course of the session or tournament. For example, say you are playing a large multi-table tournament. The blinds are about 5-10% of your total chip stack and you are dealt 4-4 under the gun. What should you do? Well, if there has been a lot of preflop raising and re-raising, I think this is an easy fold. If you put in the 5% it takes to call the big blind and someone raises, are you really going to consider smooth calling with 2 outs for 25% of your chips? I sincerely hope not because doing so will cause you to put yourself in a super short stack position with the money bubble approaching

As such, when out of position, you should be focusing on playing premium hands and only premium hands. You should muck those A-10ís, A-Jís and small pocket pairs. Conserve those bullets for when you really do have a hand.

When I keep these things in mind, I find I am conserving chips and when I do, I normally spend them more wisely and move steadily up the pay chart.

Until next time, may the chips fall your way.