For purposes of this discussion, late position is defined as being on the button or one or two seats to the right of the button. Don’t forget the one major inherent advantage of being in late position: you have more information than your opponents had when deciding what to bet on each round. You’re in a good position throughout the hand, so you also have a lesser chance of being raised when you call a bet.
Before the Flop
When you are in late position and the action comes around to you, other players may or may not have already called the big blind. Whether you’re first in the pot or not, there’s one thing that you must do every time you make a decision regarding whether to play your hand: look at the players between you and the big blind and determine their player profiles.
I’m not saying you have to know everything about your opponents. You’re mainly interested in knowing if they are the type of players that will defend their blinds if you raise. Are they passive or aggressive? Are they tight or loose? Does the player on the button always play his button? Some low limit players see the flop with any two cards when they are on the button.
When you’re in late position, no one else has entered the pot, and you have what would ordinarily be a calling hand, you should strongly consider raising, especially if you have an ace in your hand. There are many good reasons for this play:
1. If you are one or two seats to the right of the button, this raise might force the player(s) between you and the button to fold, thereby making you the last player (by position) to have a hand. This is called buying the button.
2. You might force everyone to fold and you’ll win the blinds. Don’t make the common beginner’s mistake of thinking that it’s not worth winning a very small pot made up of only the blinds. It’s a very valuable win for you, because that small pot will give you the chips you need to post the blinds yourself and play another round.