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What Is Cutoff in Poker?

The positions around the Texas Hold ‘em poker table are all named, and playing in each position requires a different strategy and playing style. But here, we will discuss one particular poker position, that is, the position right of the button or the second-to-last player to act in the poker round. It is named the cutoff position, and while other positions have apparent names, the cutoff has a somewhat unique name. It is also one of the strongest positions around the poker table, and the cutoff can often be the most powerful place on the poker table.

The Cutoff Position

The cutoff position is on the right of the dealer button position, and this can be potentially just as powerful as the button position. There are two popular opinions on how the cutoff got its name, but none that directly ties it to the game, like the other poker positions.

The player on the right of the dealer button cuts the deck of cards, ensuring there is no arranging of the cards in a favorable way when the dealer shuffles them. In private poker games without a dealer, indeed, the person on the right of the dealer cuts the cards, which is one opinion on how the cutoff position got its name. But this makes sense only for the land-based and home games, but not when playing poker in an online casino.

The other explanation for why this position is called the cutoff position is that the player in this position has the chance to cut off the playing options of the button position. If the cutoff position makes a raise, then the button position can’t make a compelling play.

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Advantages & Disadvantages of the Cutoff Position

The player in the cutoff position plays at a late poker position, and this is the second-to-last position to act pre-flop. It is a preferable position, as you can see the others’ play before you need to make your own.

It gives you a positional advantage; for example, if the cutoff open-raises, it steals the initiative from the button position and causes the button position to fold, placing itself in the in-position play or the most powerful position around the poker table. The table below compiles the pros and cons of the cutoff position in poker:

✅ Pros ❌ Cons
The cutoff can play with wide hand ranges and starting hands The button remains the strongest position on the table
The cutoff can steal the button It can lose money to the button position
The cutoff can make a 3-bet more easily Can fall victim to 3-betting from the blinds positions
The cutoff has a post-flop position advantage
The cutoff can flop if there is strong pre-flop action
The cutoff can more easily bluff

Cutoff Position Strategy & Tips

Playing at the cutoff position has incredible pros that are more advantageous than the cons. But to make the most of your turn at the cutoff position, you need to apply some poker tips and strategies that will help adjust your poker playing style:

  • You will see how most of your opponents act before you make your move; observe their actions and analyze their poker tells, and adjust your actions
  • You will have the positional advantage in every street over your opponents, not considering the button
  • If the others before you fold, you can open first and steal the initiative from the button
  • If you have a solid starting hand, you can apply pressure to the blinds positions and steal the blinds and not let the game go to the flop
  • When playing in the cutoff position, you can assume a more aggressive poker strategy and playing style


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What playing style should I assume when playing at the cutoff position?

When you play at the cutoff position, you should assume an aggressive playing style, as in that case, you can put pressure on the other players and use the positional advantage to the maximum.

Why is the cutoff poker position advantageous?

The cutoff position is advantageous as you can see the other player’s actions before you need to make your own. In these cases, you can observe their body language and their playing style and adjust your strategy.

Can I steal the blinds more easily when in the cutoff position?

Yes, you can more effectively steal the blinds when playing in the cutoff position. You have the positional advantage, but you also can put pressure on the button and the blinds, and if you have a particularly good hand, you can steal the blinds without allowing the game to go to the flop.

Can I play wider ranges when playing in the cutoff position?

Yes, when you play at the cutoff position, you can play with a broader range of hands. It is because you are in an excellent position to see the other’s actions, and you can play more aggressively.

Can I 3-bet from the cutoff more easily?

When you play at the cutoff position, you can make a 3-bet and gain more advantage, especially when you play with players who tend to rise often. Use this to your advantage to build the pot and then play aggressively to win the pot.

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