PokerListings.com is the world's largest and most trusted online poker guide, offering the best online poker bonus deals guaranteed, over $1m in exclusive freerolls every year and the most free poker content available on the Web.
Fixing Your Redline: Stop Playing OOP
In the last article of our Fixing Your Redline series, we're going to beat a dead horse:
Stop playing out of position!
It's been said a thousand times, but if you're playing out of position you're going to lose money. And when it comes to non-showdown winnings, it's extremely true.
When you play out-of-position you're at an extreme disadvantage. You have to act with no information and your opponent gets the huge bonus of getting to see what you do before he acts.
What that means for your redline is that you're going to be left guessing a ton.
You're going to peel with your second pairs and your weak top pairs, and then you're going to fold to further action.
Putting money into the pot and folding = redline cancer.
An extremely basic example, and one that happens several times a session:
$1/$2 game online; effective stacks $200. You're in the big blind with A♣ T♣.
It's folded around to the regular on the button who makes it $7.
The small blind folds and you call. The flop comes J♥ T♠ 3♦. You check and he bets $12 into $15.
You make the call and the turn comes K♥. You check and he fires $28 into $39.
Now here's your problem.
You know that the K♥ is a great barrel card. And you know your decent opponent is going to second-barrel it with almost 100% of his range - just because you're going to fold so often.
So your options are fold and forfeit 10BB, or call and hope he shuts down on the river.
If he fires the river, you definitely have to fold and now you're forfeiting 23.5BB.
Neither option is good. Especially if your opponent is capable of firing multiple barrels.
Because your opponent is in position, he's entirely in control of the hand.
He decides whether to bet or whether to check, and he always has the last say.
If you lead, he can fold, call or raise. If you check, he can check or bet.
Where your hands are tied, he has complete control. With similar hands taking place all the time, it's easy to see how you can bleed money from out of position.
Though it's impossible to completely avoid playing out of position (you can't just fold TT because you're out of position for example) you can (and should) tighten up your out-of-position calling range.
When you play fewer hands, you play better hands pre-flop. When you play better hands pre-flop, you'll make better hands post-flop.
When you make better hands post-flop, your decisions will be easier and you won't have to check-fold on later streets nearly as often.
The end result is you'll save money and you'll improve your non-showdown winnings.
And, most importantly, your overall win-rate will improve.
Related strategy articles: