Many times, you’ll happen to see an image of a poker table and think that that’s all there is to it. It’s easy to assume that all the positions at the table are equal in power. You don’t see players scrambling to get a specific seat, like a game of musical chairs. But internally, they are. Not only are all the seats around the table at different levels of power, but they also have unique names, such as the button, or the blind or the hijack position, etc.

 

All of these positions bestow some sort of advantage or cripple a player due to some disadvantages. A good poker player knows what each seat entails, and knows how to play from the different positions. In fact, this is one of the most important aspects of poker. Sitting in a particular seat, like the blind, may give you an advantage in the first round of betting, but it also calls for placing an amount of money that the other players don’t have to. Similarly, if you play in a late position, you’ll be playing at bets set by players before you, but you have more information than the other players. You can think of it like choosing a seat in an airplane. Sitting in the economy can be a pain, but it is really cheap. On the other hand, you’ll be comfortable in first-class, but you’ll have to shell out extra cash.

 

Each position comes with its own pros and cons, but today we’re going to focus on the Hijack position. If you don’t know what that means, then fret not. I’ll explain everything, so read on!

 

What is Hijack?

 

As mentioned before, Hijack is a position on the poker table. But where is it? What does it do? All of your questions will be answered shortly.

 

Like I mentioned, all the positions in poker have an important role to play, especially in a game of Texas Hold’em poker. One of the most important things about the positions is determining who plays when, and the order in which the game moves forwards. A poker game, post-flop, begins with the small blind, and then moves around the table clockwise. This allows us to label some positions as early, some as middle and some as late positions.

 

Now, the hijack seat is located two seats away from the button (which is the last position), and one seat away from the cut-off position. This makes is the third last seat to play, and places it as one of the late positions.

 

Now that we’ve understood its position, we can understand the significance of the position.

 

Over the years, people playing poker, began raising their bets at the button position. This in turn, has led to the cut off players raising their bets, as well. In a case of domino effect, this has evolved into bets being raised by the player in the hijack seat, too.

 

These kinds of bet raisings are done by players in later positions, in order to steal the blinds. Stealing the blinds refers to taking down the blinds, in the next round. As mentioned, this move was initiated at the button and then the cut-off, but in recent times, even players at hijack have begun to raise their bets.

 

Basically, a player in hijack raises his bet before the players in the cut off and button position can. This allows him to steal the blinds and in a sense, hijack the move.

 

This is an advantageous position to be in because a player in hijack can raise the bet even if he has a weaker holding. This causes the button and cut off players to question the strength of their cards and shakes their confidence. This move has the potential of preventing the button and cut off players from raising their bet and allows the hijack player to steal the blinds.

 

In common terms, it is like stealing someone’s move and using it before them. For example, I could be in a group project, steal one of my group member’s ideas and present it as my own, to get the top marks.

 

Hijack Strategies

 

We’ve understood the basic elements of the hijack. Now we can look at some of the strategies built around the position. However, before we do that, we need to look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the position, in order to plan the moves we’ll be making ahead. So let’s do a basic overview:

 

  • One of the biggest pitfalls of the position is the limited access to the blinds, because two other positions come between this seat and the blinds; the button and the cut off.
  • The positions that played before the hijack have already open raised their bets, so the hijack has to face those raises.
  • The hijack is also the fifth player to play once the pre-flop is over, so any cold calls made by the hijack can be overcalled by the players who have played before.
  • After the flop is over, the hijack can also be out of position, which means that there are many players playing after him, which gives the hijack a disadvantage.

 

One of the common strategies used in hijack is open raising, which is opening the betting by raising the amount of the bet. And while this is a good move, players in hijack also have to meet the raises made by players in earlier positions. They can make cold call, which is meeting the amount, that has been arrived at by raising on a bet. Or, they can 3bet, which is re-raising an already raised bet. However, playing these moves also comes with some disadvantages, which are as follows:

 

  • The cold calls made by the hijack player can be overcalled or squeezed by the players that play after, which include the cut off, the button, the small blind and the big blind.
  • Similarly, 3 betting also means that the players that play after can also raise the bet and bring it up to a 4 bet.
  • Also, since the hijack plays after the Lojack and other positions, he is already facing opening ranges that have set up by those players.

 

Essentially, the Hijack is not a premium seat and so the strategy that should be followed should be slightly reserved.

 

Hijack Ranges

 

We’ve looked at a general strategic outlook towards the Hijack, but a player can also benefit from looking at some sample ranges in order to sharpen his or her game. A range is set of hands a player could be holding in certain situations. Basically, we’ll go over some of the possible scenarios for playing at hijack. Let’s take a look.

 

1) Hijack Defense v Lojack Open

 

In this case, usually, Lojack potion players tend to open raise smaller bets, so the defense is not that difficult. In the case of 3betting, the chances for Hijack players are not great, since it works mostly when players have high-equity cards. Bluffing, also, may not work; because players tend to not fold when face with a 3bet.

 

2) Hijack Defense v Under the Gun Open

 

The defense in this strategy must be extremely tight because raises by Under the Gun are generally higher than the ones raised by the Lojack position.

 

3) Hijack Raise-First-In Range

 

In this position, the pre-flop round has folded around towards the player in Hijack, and now he or she has the opportunity to open-raise. It is extremely important in this situation, to be balanced and not be too aggressive, or too reserved. A hijack player isn’t immediately up to steal the blinds, but that doesn’t mean that the chances to do so are zero.

 

The raising range usually should be around 18% of the player’s holdings. Any more than that can allow the players playing after, to exploit the hijack. However, if the player succeeding the hijack are weak or tend to fold easily, then the raising range can be pushed to 23 or 24%.

 

4) Hijack v Blinds 3bet

 

Whenever a Hijack player open raises, the player playing after will raise it and play a 3bet. The concern of the player at hijack should be whether the players raising the 3bet are the cut off and the button, or the blinds. This will allow the Hijack player to determine whether or not to raise the 3bet to a 4bet. The decision to raise to 4bet or to call, will depend on the hand of the Hijack player, when facing a 3bet from either group of players.

 

As we conclude our journey towards understanding the hijack in poker, we have covered everything, from the basic concept to the strategies used and also gone over some ranges. We can safely say that it is a position with tremendous potential, and any player can experiment with it, to their heart’s content. However, simply reading about the position is not enough. You need to play from it, in order to get a better understanding. So, don’t wait and join us at Spartan. You simply have to download poker app and get playing!