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  • Playing the Button in Cash Games and Tournaments

Playing the button can either be one of the toughest, or one of the most profitable spots to play from at a poker table. And this all comes down to a few different things, with one of them being whether or not you are able to play the role of the raiser or re-raiser. We’ll cover a few different strategies of how to play from the button, and we’ll break it down into both cash games and tournaments, and also give different scenarios and situations that you may run into. One thing to remember right off the bat, is that while you do gain position from playing on the button, there are quite a few times that you need to just lay down your hand on the button; and being on the button definitely does not mean that you should play any hand. Let’s get right into it.

*Cash Game Strategy*

Playing cash games is a completely different strategy than tournament play, and one thing that you’ll have to remember is that players are willing to play a much wider range of hands. This means that your raises, three bets, and continuation bets, will all get more calls than you would in a tournament. This means that your play from the button will be loose, but you can’t get crazy with re-raising in these spots. If someone has raised from an earlier position, and you three bet with a weak hand; you’ll find that you’re going to get called down or even four bet more often than not. In a bit of a better situation, if everyone does fold to you; you’ll be in a great spot to not only raise pre-flop, but also to continuation bet after the flop comes out. You might find that the small and big blinds could protected their blinds often, and this is why c-betting is so important. Overall, the strategy for playing on the button in cash games can be tough, and you should definitely pay attention to how loose or tight your opponents are.

*Tournament Strategy*

Playing the button in a tournament is incredibly important to being a successful tournament poker player. Picking up any amount of chips in tournaments is always important, and the idea through the early and middle stages of the event is to slowly build up your stack, and you can do that without even getting into big pots. You’ll find that players in tournaments play very tight and just wait to pick their spots. Opponents are much less likely to defend their blinds in tournaments than they are in cash games, and this could make for a great spot to steal the blinds on the button. Three betting pre-flop is also a great option in tournament play, especially if you have the chips to be comfortable doing that. It can be tough to read your opponents pre-flop, especially since most players wait for big hands in tournament play, but putting pressure on them isn’t a bad idea.

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