Under The Gun in Poker

Understanding the positions at the poker table is fundamental to developing a comprehensive strategy, and among these positions is the under the gun (UTG) position. Throughout my poker career, understanding the importance of this key position has dramatically influenced my approach to the game. The term under the gun refers to the position immediately to the left of the big blind. It is the first player to act in a preflop betting round, setting the dynamics of the hand.

What makes Under the Gun special is its inherent possibility. By acting first, you make your decisions with a minimum amount of information. Each player following you will make their moves based on your actions, which can be a significant disadvantage. However, this position also allows you to start the game by setting the tone for the round. The UTG player can put pressure on the table by raising the bet, signaling a strong hand, or fold if his hand doesn’t have much potential.

Playing Under the Gun requires a keen understanding of the game, a narrow range of starting hands and the ability to quickly identify table dynamics. This is where calculated risk and a conservative approach often go hand in hand, determining my strategy in subsequent betting rounds. Realizing the critical nature of this position has played a crucial role in my poker experience, teaching me the importance of being aware of the position and the strategic adjustments it requires.

The Importance of Playing the UTG Position

In my experience as a professional poker player, Under the Gun (UTG) position is one where discipline and vigilance are paramount. When you sit in UTG position, you are the first to act on preflop, which puts you at a distinct information disadvantage throughout the rest of the hand. This position requires a more conservative approach, as all players at the table will make decisions based on your actions. This is where caution meets opportunity, and owning it can have a significant impact on your overall strategy.

Under The Gun in Poker

I always advise players in UTG position to tighten up their starting hand selection. The reality is that with so many players yet to act, the likelihood of encountering a stronger hand increases. Therefore, when you decide to enter the pot from this position, your hand range should be toward the higher range. However, having a strong hand or even nats does not mean that you should always be aggressive postflop.

Let’s say you are UTG and you are dealt a strong hand. Preflop, you might simply call the big blind or make a small raise in an attempt to hide the strength of your hand. This initial passivity serves the dual purpose of keeping the pot size intact and reassuring your opponents with a false sense of security. On the flop, whether or not you hit the nats, continue your cautious approach – either call the raise from the big blind or check – to allow you to gauge how your opponents are evaluating their hands.

This stage of the draw is very important for gathering information. As others reveal their intentions by betting, you get an idea of the relative strength of their Hold’em. If, as the hand progresses, you do indeed discover that you have nats, this early passivity will turn into an advantage. At this point, calling any raises becomes a powerful tool. This is a move that can take your opponents by surprise, especially those who have misinterpreted your early caution as a weakness.


To conclude my thoughts on the Under the Gun (UTG) position, it must be emphasized that despite its inherent difficulties, UTG can be one of the best positions at the table due to the element of surprise it offers. Through my extensive poker experience, playing from UTG has given me unique opportunities to outsmart my opponents in ways that other positions cannot always afford.

UTG has the advantage of being able to surprise your opponents by calling a 3-bet or raise when they least expect it. While the conventional rule of thumb warns against playing too aggressively from this position, judicious use of aggression can really turn the tide in your favor. When you call a 3-bet or respond to a raise from UTG, it sends a subtle but powerful signal about the strength of your hand, often causing your opponents to rethink your strategy.

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Written by Alisa Kotsar
Over the past 7 years, Lean has diligently tracked the progress and transformations in the gambling industry. His distinctive writing style has contributed to the dissemination of important news and updates from the gambling world and clarified important trends in the industry.