Strategies to Play the Button in Poker

Introduction

In poker, the button is one of the most profitable positions you can play from. The button gives you a more advantageous position. If you employ an effective poker-tracking program or keep meticulous records, you must have realized that the button is the position where you can make more money when playing poker.

The best thing about playing from the button is you can see what other poker players are doing before you take any action. This gives you extra information that your opponents in different positions don’t have. The fact that you have access to more information than other players gives you an added advantage. Also, this means you can easily manipulate the hand exactly the way you want to play.

Three basic rules to follow to maximize your profits from the button include:

  • Punish poor players
  • Practice aggression
  • Maintain open range preflop

Maintaining Open Range Preflop

Although this might sound sophisticated, it works; all you have to do is play more hands.

You need to play looser from the button as compared to what you do in other playing positions. While it’s profitable to play between 10% and 15% of your hand in the big blind, the number increases to 30% and 40% on the button and can rise higher based on the game you are playing.

The logic in this is that since you are in complete control of your betting actions, your hand value increases, mainly because you are last to postflop. As a result, you don’t give away any information with regards to betting patterns. Because other poker players will be forced to guess your hand before they take any action, it’s highly likely that they will choose to play conservatively.

On the button, your range should look like this:

  • A8o+
  • Suited connectors 34+
  • Suited gappers 96+
  • Suited 2 gappers 96+
  • J8S+
  • All Suited Queens, All Suited Kings
  • 22+

Essentially, this varies based on how comfortable you are playing the button.

Practice Aggression

Playing multiple hands will only work if you maintain the aggression. This means you shouldn’t slow down. Instead, you should continue betting some more.

Moreover, you should not flat out if there is a chance to increase your bet and punish other players who limp. However, the only time we can recommend limping is when you have a small hand, and you’re looking to play a large pot. Nevertheless, in most cases, the best thing you can do is raise your bet and play your hand harder.

Wondering why you should play aggressively? It’s because you want your opponents to get nervous and make a mistake. There are many mistakes your opponents can make through aggression:

  • Inducing tilt.
  • Encouraging other players to call light.
  • Encouraging other players to draw cards without odds are just some of the examples.

It’s very easy to encourage your opponents to make mistakes in the late position, mainly because they don’t know what you are planning to do. Starving your opponents with information will be your profit. On the other hand, aggression provides you with better ways of winning the pot, why not test it through online poker?

Punish Poor Players

Aggression works perfectly with punishment. This is because you want your opponents to pay for their ignorance. There are many types of players that you want to punish from the button, especially the limper.

Limpers like flat-calling preflop raises with the crappy hands. In most cases, these players call stations. A limper’s prime goal is to see a wide range of cards while playing with the smallest amount of money. Therefore, your aim as you play the button is to harass such players to draw, which basically punishes the limper for playing the crappy poker.

After several orbits at the poker table, you’ll find out who the limpers are. Your goal should be to play pots with such players alone when you’ve got the button position. Because limpers range is primarily weighted towards straight up and marginal bad hands, there are many times when you’ll be ahead, and whatever advantage you don’t have in strength, you can easily make up for those by understanding how to win through aggressive play.

However, always exercise caution if you choose to punish poor players. You don’t want to bluff incase you find yourself in an actual calling station.