Cut-off is a player's position to the right of the button. It is called this way, because this word means “to isolate”. That is, it is good to “isolate” opponents who are in earlier positions from the cut-off place.
Advantages of the cut-off position
Let's consider an order of the positions at the table in Texas Hold'em. First small blind (SB) comes, then big blind (BB) goes, next UTG and then cut-off and button. If there are more than five players at the table, then other participants are seated between the UTG and the cut-off. In each hand the button moves, therefore players' positions constantly change.
So, the player on the cut-off has a strong tactical advantage – he/she sees what decisions are made by opponents sitting in earlier positions. After the dealer deals 2 cards to everyone, the betting round begins and the first decision is made by the UTG, who has the opportunity to fold, call or raise. If you play out a hand on the cut-off and other players fold, then you are able to call or raise, thus demonstrating the strength and increasing the probability that the button, SB and BB will fold. This way you can steal the blinds. You can also bluff by playing out a starting hand may improve on the postflop. As for the quality of the position, it is second after the button and is considered one of the most profitable ones.
Let's summarize the potential of the cut-off position:
- Attack with a strong hand.
- Stilling blinds.
- Applying bluffs to a hand that may improve on the postflop.
It is worth noting that experienced players already know that raising from late positions does not always indicate a strong hand and realize that you can steal the blinds and play out a marginal hand, especially in tournament games. Get ready for your opponents to start raising your bets, especially if you have a reputation of being an aggressive player.
Range of hands to play out from the cut-off
As we have already established, the cut-off is considered to be one of the profitable positions, therefore, it implies a wide range of cards that may be played out from this position. Let's review the cards that are in this range:
- Pocket pairs.
- Suited Aces (they are in the category of fairly promising cards).
- Offsuit Aces (it is necessary to take into account opponents’ play style since these cards are not considered to be so strong).
- Suited connectors (these cards are advantageous to be played out because having them you get the opportunity to hit a straight or a flush).
- High-rank cards such as aces, kings, queens, jacks, and tens (both suited and offsuit).
It is worth noting that, despite all the advantages of this position, you shouldn’t enter the game having garbage hands since they will significantly reduce the odds to win. If your bluff does not work, then you’ll have to play to the showdown, where the probability to win with the weak hand is extremely small. Of course, you may fold, but one way or another, you’ll lose money. Therefore, once in the cut-off position, use its advantage correctly and you will see how your profit increases.