Poker Guide: Position

A common beginner mistake when playing Texas Hold’em is to not take any account of your table position. Next to understanding how to assess the values of the hole cards (in your hand) and the board cards (on the table), one of the most important things to learn, and something that if you ignore will reduce your winning chances, is position. We will look at each major position in a game of poker and see how it should affect our game decisions.

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Position is stated in clockwise reference to the dealer. The very best position is that of the dealer, as the dealer does not have to do anything until every other player has made a play, thus he has maximum information to go on.

 

The position immediately after the two blinds, which is the third position, is usually the most difficult as you will be the first one to make a play. This means that the only information you have are your pocket cards and the board cards. When playing from this position it is advisable to use more caution in selecting your opening hands than you would do in a later position.

 

The next few players to the left of third position are better placed to gain information from the manner in which the other players play. They are referred to as middle position; obviously the later the position the better. Here application of  pure logic in selecting on which hands to open is thought to be the best course.

 

The players immediately left of the dealer are the best position to think a little outside the box. They have almost as much information as the dealer (the button) regarding the attitudes of the other players towards their cards. If the way in which these other players play is already known, significant inferences can be made regarding the lay of the cards. If you are intending to bluff, this is the position from which to do it.

 

Understanding how to make use of your position can pay substantial dividends.

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