You can read almost everywhere that you need a stronger hand to play in early position than in any other position. But why is this so and how much stronger your hand must be? This is a question where you won’t find an answer easily and therefore we try to make this clear with this poker strategy article.
One very important thing is the informational gap. Whoever acts first has no idea what the players behind him will do. The big blind sees every action before the flop. But if you act first before the flop you have no idea what the other players might do. A hand like AJ can be easily the best hand but it can also be complete junk because AK and QQ are sitting behind. That’s also the best argument why you should be more selective in early position – you have no idea what your opponents will do and you have to compensate this fact with stronger hands.
But this informational gap also plays a role after the flop. Because if you’re sitting in early position and play a hand you’ll often be the first to act. This doesn’t have to be a disadvantage but it mostly is.
But this disadvantage can also be an advantage. Let’s assume you make a raise in early position then your opponents will expect a very strong hand and will fold most of their hands. And now think about the possible advantage: right, you can steal a lot. The number of opponents to beat is higher though but your raise gets a lot of respect.
Recommended hands for early position
As long as you have no pressure and don’t have to steal blinds frequently you can make standard moves from this position. We’re talking about a full ring No-Limit Hold’em game and the hand requirements may look as follows:
Raising with AA – TT and AK and AQ. Calling with 99 – 66 and AJ and ATs while s stands for suited. Some may think that this is very tight but it’s absolutely reasonable.
Furthermore you should prefer raising over calling. Calling only makes sense to vary your game or to play hands that are too strong to fold and too weak to raise. But if you make a call with the above mentioned calling hands you should mostly fold to a raise after your call.