How To Play From Late Position

Oh the fun of playing from late position.  As fun as it can be, it can also be incredibly tough to decide what to open and how often to open.  Open too wide, too often, and you’ll get caught with quite a few three bets and put in tough spots.  Open too infrequently, and lose all those blinds and extra money that you could potentially be winning.  It’s all about finding a good middle.  Being in late position is one of the most powerful spots on the poker table.  You have the ability to put pressure on the blinds, or even back on early callers or raisers from the table as well.  Of course playing late position in each type of game (cash games, tournaments, sit-n-go’s) is done differently, and you should be careful about playing it the correct way.

Cash Games

Playing from late position in a cash game is one of the best and most profitable spots to be.  In most cash games there will usually be action before late position from somewhere on the table, leaving you the option to just flat call a wide range, or re-raise even to put the pressure back on.  Calling in late position gives you all of the power post flop, or three-betting gives you the power from the word go.  As “fun” as it sounds, it can be dangerous too though.  Don’t get caught bluff three-betting too often or you will be in for a long day of getting called, or even four bet.  Pick your spots carefully, but suited connectors make for a great spot to flat call or re-raise, as do pocket pairs.  Pocket pairs especially play well on a lot of flops, and you can continuation bet on quite a few flops with them.

Tournaments

Tournament play is a little different than cash game play when it comes to playing from late position.  You still can be willing to open and raise more against the blinds, but need to always be careful of your chips.  If you are three-bet, you have to seriously consider laying down even fairly strong hands like K/Q.  This  means that a player in the blinds either has a read on your play, or their hand is so strong that they are willing to play out of position for the remainder of the hand.  If you are a deep stack though in late position, I’d definitely be opening very wide, especially if it is folded to you.  If there is a raise before you, adjust back to regular play and definitely be willing to lay down suited connectors unless you have a read on the player, or are a big stack.  Remember that late position gives you the power on the hand (unless you’re up against a monster).

Sit-N-Go’s

This is the one spot where you can’t get too crazy, even if the action is folded to you.  Once the blinds hit 50/100, you only have about 15 big blinds based on your starting stack of 1,500 chips.  You don’t have the wiggle room to start opening very wide, and I think the minimum that I’d be opening from late position if folded to you is probably K/10 suited and maybe Q/10 suited.  Just remember with sit-n-go’s that the general idea behind it is to conserve your stack for a point to double up.  The idea is not to attempt to chip up slowly by semi-bluffing, and especially not with any real bluffs.  When you get to the point where the blinds are 50/100 in sit-n-go’s, you are much more likely to find a lot of players who are open to shoving any ace or king from the blinds, or late position over top of you (which wouldn’t dominate your 10/9).