The dealer in texas Holdem poker is probably one of the most iconic positions at the poker table. Perhaps if you ask someone who has never played this awesome game about the position at the table, or no one will tell you or the dealer, the person who speaks last and stands in front of the blinds.
Knowing how to play from the dealer in poker is very important because, as we will see in the following paragraphs, these are probably the positions where you will play more hands and with a worse range. You will win more from both the dealer and cutoff (the previous post), but you also have a higher risk. How do you play them?
First, in dealer or cutoff poker, you will only have 3 or 4 opponents. Whereas in the first and even intermediate positions, one of the main restrictions was having 6, 7, or 10 opponents, this is no longer the case. As a prime example, J10 in UTG+3 is a very likely opponent’s best hand.
In other words, if in UTG we play only 5% or 10% better (always taking the game situation into account), which can be expanded to 15% in specific contexts, we can now play to around 30%. Always caveat that the blind might make a re-bet or that the hand won’t be clean. What hands will we play here if it’s going to be clean?
Now, that’s with the theory in hand (top 30% of hands). It will always depend on our stack, style of play, and, above all, the other players.
One of the main problems when facing a dealer or cutoff in poker is the lack of predictability. While we all know what a UTG raise means (unless it’s a bluff), a dealer raise can mean many things. From AK to T9 or A5. And if we have an AT, for example, the situation is very different. But a lot.
Conversely, if he raises the big blind, for example, it could be that he’s just protecting the blind. Or it might be that he has AK, and we have a low-range hand from the dealer or raiser. In such cases, we’d rather not walk if it’s an all-in or calls and watch the flop if the re-raise isn’t too big.
In the case of a clean hand, the general guideline is to raise 2-3 times the big blind. But if someone squeezes first, we’ll double or triple his bet (or bet ⅔ of the pot), but only if we have a premium hand: AK, QQ, JJ, AA, or KK. If there was a raise or a re-bet, only AA or KK would do (who will fold those hands). Now we’ll try to keep only one of them.
As a general consideration, as we said before, the raise in these positions with the above hands is usually 2 to 3 times the blinds. But in some cases, we go all in:
Playing from the dealer in Texas Hold’em poker is probably the most challenging position to play. Why? Because to optimize and capitalize on this position, we have to play hands that aren’t very good but with as much conviction as if they were good. So we will need extra courage and hand reading and trying to win banks with empty hands. It’s straightforward to wait for AK in UTG, but it’s even easier to make a continuation bet with T9.
Playing with the dealer will require experience, which is nothing short of a set of flops. It can be a good idea to use the various welcome bonuses that some bookmakers use. That way, the first steps won’t affect your budget as much.