Definition of Under The Gun, UTG
What is Meant by Under the Gun or UTG?
The player who is "Under the Gun" or "UTG" is the first player to act in a hand pre-flop.
They are the player that sits immediately to the left of the Big Blind.
The player who is UTG has a significant positional disadvantage in the hand, especially pre-flop. Everyone at the table acts after the UTG player pre-flop, so this will normally require a very strong holding in order for the UTG player to remain in the hand.
After the flop has been dealt, the UTG player will be the third player to act, assuming that the SB and BB remained in the hand pre-flop. If the SB and BB both folded, then the UTG player will be first to act through any remaining streets.
In the following example, you can see why the UTG player is at a major disadvantage in any hand:
Example: The UTG player is dealt pocket nines pre-flop. The UTG player raises his pocket pair to 3X the Big Blind. A player in middle position re-raises the UTG player, and the Small Blind pushes all-in.
Now the UTG player is faced with a re-raise, and then a subsequent all-in move. His initially strong hand looks decidedly weaker after two strong moves behind him, and the UTG player will almost certainly fold his hand, as he is very likely way behind in the hand.
In this example, you can clearly see the value of position.
On the flip side, some players will use the perceived positional disadvantage to their advantage, especially while short-stacked in tournaments.
Example II: A player in a major MTT is short-stacked, as they have just 13 BBs left.
They are UTG and are dealt K-10 offsuit. They decide to push all-in.
The other players in the hand naturally assume that the UTG player must have a monster, since they are pushing from early position. The button holds K-Q off-suit and folds, figuring that he is beat. The BB holds pocket sixes and also folds after some deliberation, assuming that he is also beat in the hand.
The UTG player picks up the blinds.
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