Playing the Button

Playing the Button

Playing the button is the best position in many ways, which is why ring games rotate. The button or dealer position in poker is the last position to see action in any round of play. This has a clear advantage as you’ll see shortly. Be sure to use this advantage to take pots that you couldn’t take otherwise and to fold out of pots that you might stay in for if you didn’t know better.

Pre-Flop: Hand Value and the Button

When you get your hole cards in a game of Texas holdem, the first thing you’ll need to do is decide whether your cards have any value. The value of your cards, though, is directly related to the value of the cards of the other players. If other players have cards that have no value, then you can afford to play with a much weaker hand. How, though, can you tell if the other players have good pocket cards or not? You look at their betting! If they hold pocket aces, chances are, they won’t have let the action stay at the very bottom. If no one’s raised, though, then you might have a chance with a weaker set of pocket cards.You might be able to afford to stay in with, say, suited 7,8 if you see at the end of the round, that no one has raised, and you’re still at the value of the big blind. In fact, you might even be able to risk a bluff. If you know that no one raised the whole way through, then maybe no one has anything worth raising for. They may be unwilling to risk a raise. As a result of having had a chance to see everyone play once through before you have to make a decision, you have much more information and have a better chance of playing better. On the other hand, if you’re holding a weak hand and a few players have made even slight raises, and other players have stayed in following those raises, you should be very wary about staying in.

After the Flop

This kind of logic follows throughout the game. After the flop, for example, if anyone in an earlier poker position holds any hand of value, they will probably bet at least at the minimum level, especially in a fixed-limit game. If no one does, then even a low-valued hand is probably not worth folding. For example, a medium pair isn’t considered a great hand, particularly if there are higher cards out on the board, but if you see that no one is betting, then you have some information that you wouldn’t have from an earlier betting position. If there have been some raises, on the other hand, you have the opportunity to fold out quickly before you place any bets and lose any money to a hand that would be risky.

The Turn and River

Likewise, after the turn and the river, with each round of betting, when you are on the button or in any late position, you should make use of the information offered to you by the bets of your opponents. Changing your strategy based on your position is very important if you’re playing with more than two or three players at a table. When you’re playing online poker with real money, you should be certain to make use of your time on the button to make good bets which would otherwise be somewhat risky, and even to make bluffs that you could never risk if you were in an earlier position.