Much is made about what hands beginning poker players should play preflop relative to their position. In fact, some poker theorists go as far as to create charts regarding what hands players should consider in each position.
And these charts can be useful to total beginners who don’t have any clue about what preflop hands to play. But eventually, you need to get away from these charts and start playing hands past the flop based on your observations of the table dynamic. And after making some good reads on how your opponents play, there is one main thing you need to think about preflop: what you’re going to do with the hand postflop.
For example, let’s say that you’re on a six-handed table under the gun (UTG) while holding Ad-9d. Now this is certainly a solid hand because it gives you top pair potential with an average kicker. In addition to this, you also have the ability to get the nut flush on a diamond-heavy board. The downsides to this hand is that your kicker is not exactly perfect, you have little straight potential, and your table position is terrible. So the big point to think about here is how many profitable scenarios will arise postflop.
You could flop top pair, but you also have to consider that somebody with a better kicker and position could hold an ace. There’s also the slim chance that you flop the nut flush, in which case you’ll have a very tough time extracting much value from this hand because of the suited board. A more likely scenario is that you could flop a flush draw, but with poor table position, this is a very tough hand to play.
In a general sense, hands like A-9(s) are difficult to play postflop – especially when you don’t have late position. However, if the table dynamic gives you a strong chance to limp UTG and still see the flop, it’s worth calling the big blind just for the nut flush potential. So don’t forget to include your table dynamic when thinking about how you’ll be able to play a certain hand.