The most critical aspect of the game to master are the poker positions. Poker, as a game is played based on knowledge of the game and understanding the importance of positions plays a crucial role in it. In a poker hand, you are only given two positions or two options: either you are in position or out.
So, what exactly is a position in poker?
Playing in position means that you are the last to move on all streets. Playing out of position means you are not playing last. Only the player on the button shall have a post-flop place guaranteed. After the flop, the position of a player in every street (Flop, Turn and River) remains the same.
Quite frequently, the poker position is used to determine where a player sits relative to the dealer, and whether you are going to be the first or the last player to act in the game.
Let us understand the different poker position names:
Early Position: Players on the three seats to the left of the dealer are in "early position." This is believed to be the worst position in poker. This is because you must act without knowing how any of the other players will play their hands. During your turn, you have to act either by checking, betting, folding or raising. Since you are the first to play, a good plan of action is to play only the best of the best cards here. Cards that have the ability to carry the day with their strength alone. Early position is sometimes shortened to "EP."
Dealer Position- The Button: Your position you are in at the table is always relative to the dealer. The deal in poker rotates around the table, making sure everyone gets equal time in every position. This ensures that the game is fair. In the flop round of Texas Hold’em poker variant, being in the dealer position, or "on the button," is the most desirable position in poker. Post the flop, the person on the button will always be the last one to act in each betting round. Being last to play means you have seen everyone play in the hand before you must do one. That is a big advantage, and it means you can get away with playing on the button with more marginal hands.
Middle Position: You get to see how early-position poker players play their hands before you have to play, but there are still a few mischievous players to keep an eye on. In general, in the middle position, you can play a little looser than in early position, but you still need to be careful.
Late Position: The best position to be in, is the last position. This is described as the dealer and these are players just to his right. The advantage of being in this position is getting the chance to see what action has been taken by the other players on the table. This gives you a sense of how poker hand ranks compared to the others, maybe catch a player’s bluff! Based on this you can take your action- betting, calling, raising or folding. If you're not the button, just raising a little more forcefully from the positions next to the button can be helpful in attempting to "buy the button," enhancing your position if you want the button to fold.
Furthermore, if no one has bet in a round, the late-position players will win the pot by only betting.
Small Blind: The small blind is one of the two seats where you need to face up money before you see your side. It is a huge drawback which is why this seat is almost always a losing seat in poker positions. In this place, during the opening round, the player acts second to last but must act first in each subsequent round from that point on. Since you play with stakes "blind", this is considered the worst poker table spot.
Big Blind: The big blind is the latter blind spot. Forcing the BB to front up chips ensures that virtually any player be it a pro or beginner from this seat will lose out.
Under the Gun: It is the first seat to act when dealt with the cards. This is a difficult seat to play because there are a large number of players behind that to act. If there are more players left to act, the likelihood of having a stronger hand is more. Due to this, players can play only a very limited number in the Under the Gun position. This is especially valid for tables with complete rings.
Hijack: You will play more hands in this position. The seat should be considerably more competitive than the previous seats. Every position has individual names from this point forward since they play very differently.
Cut-off: The cut-off is poker's second-best place. If the button does not reach the hand, you are still going to be the last to act. Previously we demonstrated why the last acting is incredibly beneficial. From this position, you can play many hands quite profitably.
Button: The button is the advantageous seat in poker, and from here, you can play a wide variety of cards. Often from the button, you can play 50 per cent or more of the starting hands.
Importance of having a Position
Poker positions are an important element in poker games. If you are out of place you will be blindly acting or betting which will, of course, cause you to lose the game.
You can act independently if you hold a position and make your own rules. You will also be careful when making your bets because you have enough information on your opponent’s actions.
What is the purpose of Blinds in Poker?
The purpose of the blinds is to provide the players with an incentive to fight from the start of each hand. Without any chips to fight for in the starting pot, there would be little action. The game would be dull while all the players were waiting for premium hands.
Playing out of the blinds is challenging, and for inexperienced players, there are plenty of pitfalls. Because of the discount to join the preflop pot, it is easy to overestimate just how bad a starting hand you can play for benefit.
Holding a poker position means clearly knowing whether the other players bet on their hands. The position you hold in such a situation is called a late position.
You need to avoid getting out of positions to be a good poker player, and particularly as a beginner.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of "Early Position"?
The early poker position on a poker table is the worst poker position to have. Not only are you likely to have a weak post-flop position, but you are also not getting any discount to enter the pot. The net effect of this situation is that due to the inherent complexity of making a profit with marginal hands, you need to play a tighter opening range.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of "Middle Position"?
Your possible positional disadvantage is smaller in the middle position than in the early position. In these positions, you can start to open a larger range of hands. This range, however, still needs to be kept under close control, as there are at least four more players left to act preflop.
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of "Late Position"?
The late poker position on the entire poker table is the most lucrative spot. The cut-off and button give you not only the best possible post-flop location but also a steal opening.
How to use table position strategy when playing
The advantages and drawbacks make it clear that your preflop strategy is seriously limited by the poker position you are in. Post-flop, however, is where you can take advantage of a positional advantage to boost gains even more.
Knowing you are going to make the most of your earnings against weak players, make an effort to get a seat to their immediate left. This will ensure you have a positional advantage over them both preflop and post-flop for a majority of the hands.
If you are the last to act with a hand like a two-pair or a one-pair, you would usually consider calling a single continuation bet, with the goal of re-evaluating on the turn. However, if you see a bet followed by two calls from tight players, then this knowledge can be used to make a secure fold. Once a bet is placed, being in the next position to act is difficult because you have to guess what action will be taken by other players. Odds can go against you if you call or bet with a poker hand ranked on the lower end of the scale and two other players are still left to act.
Understanding how poker positions effect your strategy is essential when holding a draw. When you're out of position, drawing is less profitable. This must be factored into your decision making process when using pot odds and implied odds because you may be forced to fold before you see the remaining cards.
Key Points in the Poker Position Chart:
Now that we have explored the various poker seat positions around the poker table in-depth let us quickly review the key points we have learned.
Poker positions at the poker table are classified as early, middle, or late.
The earlier poker positions provide those seated in them with the least amount of information. As a result of which, players play more conservatively.
The later poker positions provide the most information for those sitting in them, who may be able to play hands that otherwise would have folded from other seats. This is the best position in poker.
If you see a lot of players raising before it is your turn, you should probably fold, unless you have an excellent starting hand.
Players that take a long time to find out what to do when it is your turn are on the fence about staying in or folding. They lack confidence in their hands. But this does not mean they made a mistake by staying inside.
If the players before you check that means that while they do not want to fold, they are also keen to keep their chips on. They are possibly holding weak hands, and clearly believe their opponents are likewise. You may be able to succesfully bluff them into folding at such a point, particularly if you have only one opponent left.
The button is the table's most powerful poker table position, followed by the cut-off.
Wherever possible, you should take advantage of a good position and a strong starting hand. But remember, just because you have a good position you cannot get away with playing weak hands. Actually, if you make it a habit, other players might sense a pattern and take advantage of it in the future.
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