will often hear spiels about location in everyday
life, especially when buying a house, or talking about
holiday destinations. So what has location got to
do with a poker game? You will also often hear players
discussing poker position with the terms like, "I
was in bad position, so I folded" or "I had position
on him so I called." What does this all mean?
is actually extremely important in the game of poker
and if you pay extra attention to your position during
a game of poker, more often than not you will find
yourself in more favourable positions than otherwise.
position in poker refers to where you sit in reference
to other players on your table, or in the context
of hand to hand play, refers to where you are sitting
in relation to the button.
In most cases, the ideal position to have is to be
to the left of a certain player and this is referred
to as having position on that player. The reason for
this is that if you are on the left of the player,
you have the luxury of acting after them, and hence
have the added benefit of knowing what they decided
to do, before you have to make your own decision.
However, for certain types of players, it is often
desirable to be seated on the right of that player.
The common rule is that you would prefer to be seated
on the right of a tight player, and on the left of
an aggressive player. In other words, you want a player
that plays fewer hands on your left and a player who
will play more hands on your right.
reason for this is that the players to your left will
often be the last ones to act after you and it is
beneficial if they fold their hands more often than
not, so that you can pick up the pot easily. Tight
players are often less aggressive and hence you will
feel safer putting your money into the pot, without
the fear that these tighter players will raise, which
will often result in you forgoing your bet.
the other hand, having aggressive players on your
right is great, because you have position on them.
These players will often play more hands and raise
more frequently, which gives you the option of playing
your hand many different ways if you happen to pick
up a hand. It is not uncommon for smart players to
move to a different seat if it becomes available,
because they want to get into a better position on
the table. Next time you are seated at a table and
have an aggressor to your left and a seat opens up
on his left; don't miss this opportunity to move into
The best position to have during each hand is to act
last. Hence being on the button will prove to be the
most desirable position in most cases. It is one of
the main reasons why the dealer button rotates around
the table every hand, so that everyone on the table
gets their equal share of the button and no one is
disadvantaged. While you get to act last from the
big blind pre-flop, this is the only round in which
you get to do so, which also happens to usually be
the most insignificant round in terms of the size
of the bets. You would much rather have 'late position'
on the remaining three rounds, the flop, the turn
and the river compared to just having the best position
before the flop.
strength in being on the button derives from the fact
that you will always be the last person to act on
each round of betting after the flop. This means that
you have the most information out of anyone for that
This is a particular name for the position that is
first to act before the flop, which is the position
directly to the left of the big blind. A particular
name is given to this position, because many strategies
are used from this very position. Often players who
pick up a big pair will limp in under the gun in the
hope that someone later down the track will put in
a raise, prompting a re-raise from the under the gun
position. It is often useful to observe what players
do in this position, because knowing what they are
capable of from the under the gun position may save
you some money down the track.
This is the worst position to have on the poker table
and often refers to the small blind, big blind and
the under the gun positions. These are the most undesirable
positions to be in for a particular hand, because
you have to make your decision on most betting rounds
without a lot, or any, information from the other
players at the table. As a result, if you are playing
a conservative strategy, you should only play the
best range of hands in this position. These include
high pairs, high suited cards and the highest rung
of unsuited cards such as AK, AQ and KQ. Other hands
are usually not recommended, because the risk of being
raised, or even re-raised is quite real and you may
be wasting money by putting money in the pot.
reason not to play other hands is that you may be
caught by catching the flop softly. For example you've
made top pair with a weak kicker, which may get you
into trouble, especially because you are in bad position.
For a full ring game, middle position refers to the
first person to act after the 'under the gun' position
and three or four positions after that player, depending
on whether it is a nine person or ten person table,
respectively. While you have the benefit of observing
how the early position players have acted before you,
there are still quite a few players who have yet to
act. Hence while these positions are better that being
in early position, they are far from optimal and plenty
of caution should be shown in these positions. You
may play more hands such as middle pairs, more suited
cards and more marginal hands such as AJ.
Late position often refers to the player on the button,
the player before the cutoff and the player in the
cutoff itself. These are obviously the best positions
to be in, because it gives you plenty of information
on each betting round, on how most of the other players
have acted. Knowing what most players have already
done will make your decision to bet, check, call,
raise or fold that little bit easier. Being in the
best position gives you the luxury of playing all
the other hands that you would want to play, that
you might have folded in other positions. These hands
include suited connectors, smaller pairs, and all
starting hand selection is based on a conservative
strategy and a lot of the hands should not be played
to a raise and definitely not to a re-raise, even
if you are in the best position possible. You should
try to use this hand selection as a basis to build
your game on and expand as you see fit.
Questions and Answers
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