How To Play From Early Position

Playing from early position is one of the hardest positions on the table to play a hand from.  This is exactly what it’s not recommended to open from this position unless your hand is pretty strong.  A lot of it really depends on the type of game that you are playing as well.  Hands like A/J off suit aren’t bad to open from early position in cash games, but can make playing tough in tournaments, when you have limited number of chips.  We’ll break down a few different situations of how to play from early position, how to play it in a cash game, how to play it in a tournament, and how to play it in a sit-n-go.

Cash Game Early Position

Cash games will allow to play a little bit wider of a range from early position than tournaments and sit-n-go’s, but you should still be fairly careful on how you play it.  You can open much wider such as hands like K/J suited, 10/9 suited, and of course top hands such as pocket pairs and A/K, A/Q.  The biggest downfall of opening from early position in a cash game is that if you are involved with an opponent in later position, they will have position on you.  This leaves them the option to bet at you, and put you in the tougher position.

Tournament Early Position

It will depend on how deep/how early in a tournament you are, but opening early in a tournament is typically a bad idea unless you have a top range of hands, or a big stack.  The minimum that I would probably be raising from early position (if you have an average chip stack), is something along the lines of K/Q suited.  It’s just not worth putting yourself in these tougher spots when you have plenty of chips and can wait for a better spot.  Raising in early position almost always puts you in a tough spot to play, but when you get a big hand that hits, it can set up nicely to take down a big pot.

Sit-N-Go Early Position

Sit-n-go’s are the one game where you almost never want to open from early position.  If you are playing a sit-n-go with nine players, the general idea behind it is to outlast the players into the top 3.  Raising mediocre hands like K/J just make playing that spot very tough, and you don’t really have the chips to be able to do that either.  Now, with that being said, playing early position when it’s down to 4-6 players and if you have the chip lead, may not always be a bad idea to put the pressure on some of the other players.  I still wouldn’t be opening too wide, but it’s not awful to be constantly putting pressure on your opponents.  The widest I would open in a sit-n-go from early position with nine players would be something along the lines of pocket 7’s or pocket 8’s, even pocket pairs below that will put you in a tough spot.