Grabbing information is one of the most important skills that you need in poker. From your opponent’s betting patterns and the “tells” that they make simply define your hand and are simply integral on your next decision. But you can’t do that without proper positioning, which is on the button or somewhere near it.
But that doesn’t mean that you should fold every hand if you’re not in the proper position, each has its pros and cons, and it should also determine how you should play your hand.
This poses a lot of difficulties if you are a conservative kind of player. You will get bullied and they will bet relentlessly when they know you are in the pot and are sure that you didn’t hit the flop. This is also the case for even the aggressive player when he/she just checks after the flop. So the thing is, make sure you have a hand before even trying to check, in an attempt in showing them signs of weakness.
So, a profit-maximizing play in early position is check-raising and slow-playing. Don’t even think of betting unless you have hit a hand. If you check-raise in an attempt to scoop up the pot, make sure that your opponent is just doing his/her customary continuation bet. Glean this from his/her playing style and how your opponent played the hand before the flop.
Be wary when the game comes to 4th or 5th street. People can get lucky at these circumstances, so you must bet hard before these two events so that your opponent will be discouraged in calling and seeing the subsequent cards. If you did a mistake by betting to little, make a probe bet of around half the pot on 4th street to see if your opponent is still serious in pursuing the hand. So to say, not only do you stomp down your opponent’s motivation of hitting his/her drawing hand, it isn’t too substantial a bet.
Of course, late position is a wonderful thing to have in poker. And when the round goes on to the flop and subsequently, 4th and 5th street, you can bluff your way to the pot and give the impression that you have the best hand. Of course, your betting patterns before the flop and during it should be in line with your sophisticated bluffs. In a nutshell, you shouldn’t slow-play in late position; rather, you have to stomp down on the pot regardless of your hand’s texture. Not only does this conceal your real hands perfectly, it scares your opponent into folding the hand if he/she just checked.