Texas Hold'em Basic Guide P5: How to play from the dealer in Texas Hold'em Poker

If there is an emblematic position in a Texas Hold'em game, that is undoubtedly the dealer. Located just before the blinds, his popularity comes from being the last one to speak during the games, being his move in many occasions decisive for the outcome of the game.

Playing from the dealer, as is also the case with the cut off, involves a greater risk. It is true that when you win you win more, but the fact of playing a greater number of hands with cards of lower rank puts the player who occupies the dealer position in a delicate situation. But don't worry, we are going to explain how to play from this position assuming the least amount of risk possible.

What you should know about the dealer

The first thing you need to know about this position at a Texas Hold'em table is that the dealer, as well as the cut off (the one who occupies the seat immediately before the dealer) only has three opponents, four at the most. This means that the limitations that we can find in the first positions, finding up to a dozen opponents, disappear here.

For example, if in UTG we play only 5% better (it can be 10% depending on how the game is developing), the dealer can increase this percentage up to 15%. In some contexts and under very specific conditions, we could even be talking about a 30% advantage compared to the initial positions, which means that we have a greater margin of profit... at the cost of increased risks.

What risks does the player in the dealer's seat take?

Poker is a game of probability, and that is precisely the biggest problem in a confrontation with a dealer: unpredictability. Everyone at the table will know what they are up against when the UTG raises, but when a dealer raises, a lot can happen. Therefore, the degree of exposure is greater and the outcome of the game can take very different directions at this point.

It can happen that the hand does not come clean and the bet goes up exponentially. If the hand is clean, you can usually double or triple the value of the big blind, but if not, you should only increase the value of the bet if you have a hand of great value: pairs of kings, queens, aces or jacks, or a combination of these. In addition, you should know that, if there has been a re-raise, only a pair of kings or aces will be useful. If we go all-in, we can keep only one of the two.

Keep in mind that we should always go all-in when we have a pair of top cards and we are going to play at least a quarter of our stack, when we extend to any top pair if we intend to increase the bet with 40% of our stack or if the bet exceeds half of it.

Is the dealer the most compromising position in the game?

Although decisive, many players consider that occupying the dealer's position is the most complicated part of the game. And the truth is that, in a Texas Hold'em game, only the most experienced players will be able to take advantage of all the possibilities that their position gives them under certain circumstances. As a general rule, optimizing the dealer's position is more complicated and taking advantage of the possibilities of this position is not within everyone's reach.

A fundamental feature to be able to face the game from this position is to have a great ability to read the game, since the dealer's move can diversify the possibilities and change the dynamics of the game. Experts usually recommend winning the pot with nothing when this game is occupied, although it is something that only the most experienced players can achieve on a regular basis.

What a beginner should keep in mind about the dealer

With the proper experience, occupying the dealer position can be a huge advantage. Being the last player to speak for the entire table without having to meet the requirement of placing a fixed bet opens up a whole world of possibilities. In addition, the dealer can start playing his cards from the beginning of the game, already in the pre-flop, when all the players start with their bets.

The dealer is, so to speak, the one who presides over the table. He is the last to speak and the one who sees all the cards before the flop, so he can adapt his strategies to play with greater guarantees.

Of course, the dealer plays with a very wide range of hands and is usually the highest if the small blind does not try to steal from the big blind (in this case, the range could be equal or even exceeded, but this does not happen if the blinds stay out of the way). Playing the cards right, the dealer position is, for many players, the most complicated position to manage, but the one that gives the best guarantees when it comes to increasing the stack.

More of this Guide:

Basic Guide to Texas Hold'Em P1: Texas Hold'Em, its history

Basic Guide to Texas Hold'Em P2: Texas Hold'Em rules

Basic Guide to Texas Hold'Em P3: Texas Hold'Em hand rankings

Basic Guide to Texas Hold'Em P4: Texas Hold'Em strategies

Basic Guide to Texas Hold'Em P6: common mistakes you make playing Texas Hold'Em

Basic Guide to Texas Hold'Em P7: best Texas Hold'Em tournaments

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