Playing UTG Advice

Playing in the UTG position can sometimes be a difficult position to play in. For those who don’t know UTG means Under the Gun and is the position immediately to the left of the Big Blind and is first to act in a round of betting. In my opinion I think there’s two ways to play when in the UTG position.

I think when your in the UTG position you should either be folding or raising.

In my experience when playing UTG if I try and just call often times their will be a raise or multiple raises. In my opinion it doesn’t make much since to call from early positions. Most players in the UTG position play tight. For example a hand like A, 10 in the UTG position will often be a fold for most players. If you were in another position at the table and dealt that hand a lot of the time you would either call or raise with that hand.

I think when you have a strong hand and are in the UTG position you should be raising at least 3 times the Big Blind. I think 3 times the big blind is a good amount because the weaker chip stacks will usually fold to your bet and your not risking much in chips especially considering you have to pay the big blind the next hand.

Remember when your UTG your in the weakest position at the table. You are the first to act before anyone else so you’ll have the least amount of information on what your opponents could possibly have. In general it’s best to play tight when your in the UTG position. What is your strategy when playing from the UTG position?

-Marc

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I typically also raise or fold UTG. I think that strategy is nearly mandatory if you are short stacked, with the exception of limping with the intent to 3! or 4! on a table where pre-flop raising is frequent.

Deeper stacked, especially with 200 or 300 big blinds or more, and other players also with deeper stacks, your implied odds are so much better that limping with Ax suited or small pocket pairs is probably usually fine, especially if you have opponents that frequently take aggressive lines post flop, or that over value top pair. But how viable this is depends a lot on the way everyone else is playing. If you are at a really aggressive table where people are 3 betting and 4 betting often, or even going all in, then your chances of seeing a flop with a large stack to pot ratio are diminished, and you usually want your effective stack to be much larger than the pot on the flop, to allow your rare paydays to be big enough to offset the large percentage of hands where you won’t connect with the board.

Another exception is on tables where pre-flop raising is rare, and you think you’ve got a fairly significant post flop edge, and this probably comes up at Replay a lot, as passive pre-flop play seems to predominate, and if you select your tables thoughtfully, you can find players with very exploitable tendencies (always bets pot when bluffing, and small with value, for example).

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To me, the answer to this question is “It depends.” As Yorunoame has discussed, it depends on your perception of the players at the table (passive, loose, tight, manic) and stack sizes, and it additionally depends on how you think the players at the table perceive you. It also depends on the stakes level and your objective.

With a raise UTG or in any other position, my objective is to either win the pot preflop or get to the flop heads up. This is a rather difficult task on Replay unless you are willing to raise 8-10 bbs, which can get costly, depending on the level you are playing at.

I definitely agree with you Marc that it is a bad idea to limp in UTG. Raising 3x with a strong hand in the UTG seems to be a fairly conservative strategy and would like to know how well it works for you. At higher stakes levels I would not be surprised to get multiple calls with a bet this size, which makes post-flop play all the more difficult, and could be a set up for trouble. I think that a larger bet (say 5-6x) is probably more appropriate (for someone with a tight table image, at least) and I would not necessarily tie your bet sizing to your hand strength.

While I also think that it is generally a good idea to narrow your range OOP (I would fold AT off-suit UTG), I think there are spots that this can be used to your advantage, and you can play less than premium hands, such as smaller suited connectors or middle pairs, in a profitable way.