Obviously position is a huge aspect of NL Texas Hold em. You need to be aware of your position at all times. It is one of the things that will influence your decision making the most. If you are not aware of your position at the table you can, very innocently, find yourself in a lot of trouble.
Everyone knows that you want to make “plays” when you have good position. When you are on the button, etc. But, what many online players lose track of, is how to play hands from early position, or simply, when you don’t have good position.
Here is a classic example that you will see every time you play in a NL game online: Player A limps in from early position. The Button raises. Player A, feeling the Button is pushing him around re-raises all-in. The Button calls. Player A flips over K-J suited and the Button shows A-K, Big Slick. Player A busts out.
The moral of this story is, playing hands out of position is much more tricky than playing the same hand from late position. You just do not know what everyone else will do when you try to limp in from early position, and worse, you are suspicious of anyone who raises you. Why? Probably because you are playing a hand out of position that would have been better folded.
Would you try to play Q-T off suit from “under the gun?” Would you play the same hand from the Button?
If you answered “yes” to both questions, then you may have a problem.
Q-T off suit is OK to try and steal a pot with from late position, but you are going to land yourself in a heap of trouble 9 times out of 10 if you insist on playing it out of position. Unless you are willing to lay these hands down to ANY aggressive plays, then you shouldn’t play them at all. The problem is, a hand like K-J or Q-T is not strong enough to stand up to raises, nor is it worth raising a lot in the first place. Because you cannot know what everyone else will do behind you, you cannot know if they actually have cards, or if they are just punishing you for trying to limp in. Hence, the dilemma.
If you want an easy, basic, overall, rule of thumb, stay away from marginal hands if you have them in early position. It is just too likely that you will end up in trouble by playing them, or throwing away chips if you have sense enough to lay them down. Either way, the outcome is not good. Play strong cards from early position, or just make your life easy and lay down the trouble hands that are tempting to play. Too many things can go wrong if you don’t.