Pre-Flop Texas Hold’em Strategy

Texas Hold’em has over 1,300 variations of starting hands available from the 52-card deck. Choosing which hands to play may be challenging. Don’t worry! We will help you choose the starting hands you want to play and from which positions. Pre-flop Texas Hold’em will no longer be a mystery.

Let’s look at the different positions in pre-flop Texas Hold’em and why hand selection changes based on where you sit.

Early Position (UTG and UTG +1)

The first 2 spots to left of the big blind are considered early position. They are otherwise known as under the gun and under the gun plus one. These are the seats you should play most conservatively. You want to play fewer hands from these positions because there are more players behind you and they have not yet acted. A hand like A-9 off suit may look promising but when you have no clue on the actions from your opponent and have to play the whole hand acting before them (other than the blinds), it becomes unprofitable. The table below highlights the hand you may want to play from UTG and UTG +1.

pre-flop texas hold'em
Pocket 6s and up from early position

Middle Position (MP 1 and MP2)

The 2 positions to the left of early position seats are called “middle positions”. You can start to play a few more hands from here but still not too liberal. Remember, there are still at least 3 people to your left plus the blinds. Middle position is a tricky one. When you open-raise you are often called by late position and still acting first post flop (a disadvantage). You can’t be too liberal from here.

middle position poker
Pocket 2s and up plus some more paint cards

Late Position (Hijack, Cut-off and the Button)

Late position is the best place to play from. Acting last every round post-flop is a massive advantage. As such, you can open-raise far more hands from here. There are 3 different late positions – hijack, cut-off and button. The button is the latest position and therefore, you can open even more hands. You can still raise from the hijack and cut-off but there is always a chance someone behind you still plays too.

late position poker
Look how many more hands you can play from the later position!

In Texas Hold’em you want to be the first one open raising. It takes a far stronger hand to call a raise than to raise yourself.

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