Under The Gun in Poker

Table of content:

The position of the player has a huge bearing on the winnability of a hand. Most good players play the majority of their hand in position. It, therefore, becomes imperative that one learns the advantages and disadvantages of being placed in different positions on the table and how to leverage it to their best.

What does the term under the gun mean in poker?

It is typically used to refer to a player who is seated directly to the left of the player in the big blind position. The name is derived from the simple understanding that such a player is under immense pressure to make a strong action in the game.

What is the significance of under the gun?

·         The player sitting in this position will be the first to act in the preflop stage.

·         The player sitting in this position will be the third to act in post flop (assuming that the small and big blind are still playing).

Strategic considerations that under the gun players must keep in mind

·         Avoid limp raising at all costs – not only is this an unsustainable long-term strategy, but also, you run the chance of weakening your open raising range.

·         Open raise a very tight selection of hands.

·         The other players will have a positional advantage over the player under the gun after the preflop stage.

·         The under the gun player must restrain his or her aggression when holding small pocket pairs like two twos or two threes as they aren’t really valuable in themselves. Both hands play best for set value, meaning that one will toss them if they do not hit on the flop. Since that gives you less equity overall, it is advisable to tone down the preflop pot-building with small pocket pairs when under the gun.

·         One can play a little loose in the turn and river stage, on learning about the ranges of the other players on the table.

·         Be flexible when you are under the gun.

·         Lean towards value plays and avoid speculative bluffs.

·         The ideal range of hands one can play with at this position –

o   Ace-king off suit

o   Ace queen suited

o   Pairs which are above eight in rank/ value.


Though early positions are seen as the worse positions in a poker game (due to lack of information about the opponents’ play), it is important that one does not give up and plan how to use the position to their advantage. Under the gun is not the best position to play from, neither is it the worst. Practice and a lot of planning will help you make you turn the game in your favour. Just persevere!

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