Most of the players that I speak with do not understand the full depth of having a positional advantage over your opponent. This may seem quite a startling statement to make because after all, position is fundamental. However the average knowledge level of a decent regular is that getting to act last after your opponent is very important and most poker players know this. So they pitch most of their range from early position and learn to adjust their opening ranges based on position. They then feel that they are now playing a positional game.
The more advanced players learn how to fluctuate their opening raising ranges and also 3betting ranges based on tracker data on what their opponent is doing and their respective range width. Taking this a step further and we then go into 4betting ranges and shoving and the level of equity in hand vs range and range vs range. This all gets very involved but one thing is certain in all of this analysis and it is that you could be widely wrong in your equity estimation. This could be because you have misjudged your opponents range because they are either deviating it themselves or you have simply made an error.
Let me get one thing straight here…… however involved and deep you get with your pre-flop analysis then you are not maximising your positional advantage if you only ever strive to play pre-flop. This is the stage of the game that is the easiest to play and fathom and it can be analysed simply by using range estimations and looking at it in terms of hot and cold equity. Trackers assist us even further by helping us to see our own as well as our opponents’ frequencies pre-flop. However the pot escalates post-flop too and it is post-flop where having a positional advantage does us the most good.
We get to see more data on the hand and more data than our opponent. In my estimation then hand reading is one of the pivotal skills that a good player has over a mediocre one or a weak one. If you can cultivate this skill then you will have an edge over most opponents including many winning regs. Not getting into 3betting and 4betting pre-flop wars when in position will separate you from the crowd that do. Having position pre-flop is important but it is even more important the deeper into the hand you go…… so why always look to end the hand pre-flop?
It simply doesn’t make sense unless you fear playing post-flop. Any edge that you are trying to extract from your opponent pre-flop will be thin compared to the edges that exist post-flop. Remember also that it is pre-flop where your opponents will find it the easiest in which to counter your play. They too will be using tracker data and some of them will have significant sample sizes on you with regards to your opening ranges per position and your 3betting and 4betting frequencies. If you learn to play post flop then you are learning to truly exploit a positional advantage.