Playing the button is an integral part of utilizing position at the poker table and it’s an area of mystery to many. The reality is, the more confident you are with your game, the more hands you should be playing from this position. Words of caution: certain types of players are going to be less likely to “believe you” when you open (or re-raise) from the button, so you’ll want to take that into account. If I have a very good player in the big blind when I’m on the button, I’m more likely to fold the majority of these spots – preferring to open up from other positions, into weaker blinds.
Good players will also be less likely to believe you have a premium hand when you re-raise from the button, so you can use this spot to re-raise with hands you want to get it all in pre-flop, rather than situations where you might normally try and trap your opponent. Also, you’ll want to greatly expand the hands you’re willing to call with pre-flop when on the button. Having “full position” allows us to extract the most amount of chips out of our opponent when we hit our hand; it also allows us to more effectively bluff our opponents out of the pot when we miss. The bottom-line is playing the button can be extremely profitable, but you’ll need to greatly change the way you play the hand depending on your cards as well as the opponent(s) you are going up against.
We don’t want to unnecessarily inflate pots with weak or marginal hands, but we do want to take down as many pots as possible and if we feel we are losing – it’s better to fold or raise than call. Keep in mind, when the average player doesn’t know what to do they tend to call. Don’t let that gut reaction influence you into making inappropriate calls, when you should be folding or raising.