If you’re just learning how to play poker, you need to know about the positions around the table. The positions around a table in both live and online poker games are not equal in power, and while you won’t see players scrambling for a certain position in poker, the truth of the matter is that many are hoping for certain seats.
Each position has a name and they all come with pros and cons, which could really impact a player whether they play poker online games or in person at a casino. A good poker player knows what each seat entails and how to adjust their game accordingly.
Today, the hijack position in poker is the focus. In this article, you can learn everything you need to know about the hijack position in online casino games and live games, as well as hijack strategies and ranges.
The most important factor in any poker game is the positions, who plays when and the order in which the game will be played. This will determine who has position and who is Out of Possession (OOP.) What is Out of Position in poker? A player is OOP for any player who acts after them in any betting round.
At a nine-handed poker table, there are nine different positions. These are:
- Small blind
- Big blind
- Under the gun (UTG)
- Middle position
- Dealer (button)
A poker game, post-flop, starts with the small blind and then the round continues in a clockwise direction. This means that some positions are early, some are middle and some are late.
The hijack seat is immediately to the cut-off position’s right and is two seats to the right of the button position (which is the last position.) This makes the hijack the third last seat to play and makes it one of the late positions.
Now, many players will begin raising their bets at the button position, which often leads to the cut-off position players raising too. Players in late positions feel that they are able to read opponents’ hands better and they will raise in order to steal the blinds once they’ve seen their opponents’ moves.
Being in the hijack position becomes advantageous because these players have seen the plays before them and can raise their bet before the cut-off and button players, even if their hand isn’t great. A pre-flop raise from the hijack position is usually acknowledged with respect, seeing as it’s a position with tight ranges and is regarded as less likely to be a steal than raises coming from the cut-off and button positions.
What this raise does is cause the button and cut-off players to question the strength of their hand and shake their confidence. In turn, there’s the potential that they might not raise their bet under the circumstances, allowing the hijack player to steal the blinds.
How To Play in the Hijack Position
The strategy that you use when you are playing in the hijack position will depend on quite a number of factors.
First, you have to consider what has already been played in the hand. If there has been a fair amount of raising by the time your turn comes around, it’s safe to assume that those players have strong starting hands. So it could be the right choice here to play it safe and eliminate any middle-starting hands.
However, if play has folded around you or there’s only been one open raise so far, then you can certainly play aggressively from any of the late positions, including the hijack, as you’ll more than likely have the positional advantage should the game go to the flop.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution that guarantees a win from the hijack position, but here are some examples of a few of the more common scenarios.
- There’s been tons of action leading up to your turn: You should fold your average starting hands, such as a 2 and 7. Only proceed with your strongest hands.
- There’s been one raise in front of you: Continue as usual with your strongest starting hands, but try a couple of bluff raises mixed into your middling hands. This puts pressure on early positions, and even if they do call, the hijack has the positional advantage on the flop.
- There’s been no action before your turn: This is good and you should widen the range of starting hands you play. Raise frequently as you are likely to get the opportunity to take down the blinds and antes.
- You open-raise but the big blind, small blind or button raises you: This will completely depend on how strong your hand is, so you must make that call. Keep in mind, however, that if a blinds position has raised you but the button has folded, you’re guaranteed to be in-position post-flop.
Now that you’ve had a quick look at the general strategic outlook for the hijack position, it’s time to look at a few sample ranges. A range is the set of hands that a player could be holding in a certain situation. Here’s how to deal with a few scenarios:
Hijack Defense vs. Lojack Open
Defense against lojack opens isn’t too difficult given that these players tend to open raise smaller bets, and the hijack position can defend wider. In the case of 3betting, however, the hijack position isn’t favored seeing as the range is weighted to high-equity cards. So, it doesn’t make sense to 3bet bluff on speculation here as players tend not to fold when facing 3bets.
Hijack Defense vs. UTG Open
When facing an open from the earliest position, the hijack position should defend in a tighter range. This is because, on average, the UTG raise-first-in range will be a stronger hand than the average lojack raise-first-in range.
This is when the pre-flop has folded around toward the hijack position, and they now have the opportunity to open-raise. It’s absolutely essential to be balanced in this position and not go out too aggressive or defensive in order to get the steal.
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