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Poker position – how position affects your play

The importance of position in poker

Position in poker means where you are seated in relation to the dealer.  It’s an important concept, since being in late position (one of the last to act) is a big advantage over players in early position (first to act).  The importance of position tends to be massively understated by beginners to the game, who tend to play the same hand choices in any position.  Proftable players however understand just how important position is, how it affects the hands they choose to play, and how to use it as a tool to manipulate their opponents.

This video gives an overview of position, what it is, and why it’s no important in poker.  Learn which positions are good, and which are bad, how to play from the blinds, and what difference it can make when the dealer position folds pre-flop, and you’ll become a much better player.

Position in Texas Hold’em poker

In holdem, position is hugely important.  At a full table early position is considered to be the small and big blinds, and the player under the gun.  The next three players are in what is considered “middle position” and finally the 3 or 4 players last to act, including the button and the cutoff (player to the right of the button) are in late position.

Notice that the blinds are considered early position, even though they are last to act preflop.  After the flop however they will be first to act, hence they are early position and therefore have a disadvantage over everyone else at the table.

In a short handed game, or in the final stages of a tournement with only a few players left you’ll find that position becomes even more important, with many players raising lots from late position, and hardly playing any hands from early position.  In the extreme example of playing heads up you want to be raising most hands from the button (in position) and folding most hands out of position.

Position example

Let’s take a look at a quick example hand to see just how important position in poker is.  Let’s say you’re holding KQo (a king and a queen of different suits)  Now, if you’re in early position and you make a small raise, and then get a reraise and a call behind you there’s a good chance you’re against 2 stronger hands.  They could have big pairs, or hands like AK or AQ or even just small pairs and against 2 players that makes you a big underdog.  Sure you could call here, but chances are you’ll miss the flop and have thrown good money after bad.  So this type of hand tends not to be playable from early position.

Now what about if you were on the button, the last player to act?  Well, if there had been a raise and a call before you, you could simply fold and save your chips since you’re pretty sure you’re beat.  However, if you have 3 or 4 limpers and no raises then you can be fairly sure that your opponents have weak or medium hands.  A raise here could take the pot right there and then, or at least narrow the field and force off any players with small pairs hoping to flop a cheap set.  Now all of a sudden a hand which was unplayable in early position looks wuite promising from late position!

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