Having an aggressive play style is an essential part of any poker strategy. One of the fundamental components of an aggressive strategy is frequently raising preflop. Prelop raises allow you to take control of the hand and puts players that choose to call the raise on a more passive footing. Passive players are the most profitable players to play against because they will allow the aggressor to control the betting action of the hand. The rare situations in which a passive player acts aggressively are easy to read.
Just as important is to know which hands and situations to raise. Although there are many profitable strategies that vary on preflop raise (PFR) frequency, every strategy will have one thing in common: PFR frequency will increase with improving position.
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Position is the term used to describe the order in which players must act. The dealer position, or the “button”, is considered the best position since the button gets to act last. The strength of position moves counter-clockwise until the big and small blinds, which are the worst positions.
A player should be raising the least frequently in the worst positions (the first players to act preflop) and should raise with increasing frequency with each subsequent improvement in position. On the button, a player should be raising with a very wide range of hands, hands that he would not even consider playing in the earlier positions.
The ability to play hands with position offers a significant advantage because players that have to act first must do so without the benefit of knowing what you are going to do until after they have acted. One easy way to make a preliminary determination of an opponent’s ability is to check their positional PFR frequency. If it does not noticeably increase with each position, it is very likely they are a weak player.
Measuring the preflop raising parameter is relatively easy when you are using advanced poker tools like the MagicHoldem Personal Poker Coach. You just need to know how to use the information wisely.