Playing Hands from Late Position

As you have probably guessed, if no one has raised in front of you, you can play a lot of hands when you're last or next to last to act. You can also raise a lot with the goal of stealing the blinds, but you have to be on the watch for players who will defend their blinds aggressively. It's one thing to call $10 with 8V7V when you're the first to come in, but it's another thing entirely to raise in an attempt to steal the blinds, only to have one of the blinds pop you back and make you decide if you want to put in a total of $30 on a marginal hand. When you get re-raised, you have to use your judgment to decide when to stand and fight and when to give it up without throwing any more gas on the fire.

Table 8.3 lists the hands we recommend playing from late position.

Table 8.3 Weaker Hands You Can Play in Late Position

Pairs

Suited Cards

Offsuit Cards

44

Ax

A9

33

Kx

K9

22

Q8

Q9

J8

J9

T8, 97, 87, 86, 76, 65, 54

T9, 98, 81

These are the speculatin' hands, folks. You want to flop a set, flush (draw), straight (draw), or two pair. If you don't flop something good, get out of the way and let the real hands take over.

If everyone passes to you, you should strongly consider raising with any pair of Eights or better, ATs or better, or KTs or better. Your raise will either push the blinds out of the pot or make them put in more money to defend. Your raise also camouflages your hand a bit. The remaining players will figure you have something, but they'll have no idea exactly what. Of course, you have no idea what they have, either, but you do have one big advantage: position. You get to act last during every betting round for this hand, so you can go after the pot aggressively.

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