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The Importance of Position in Poker

  • Published Date August 31, 2016
  • By Jimmy Butler


Poker Table Postion


Position to Poker is what food is to mankind.


The importance of table position and hand matrix in Poker can never be ignored and is an utmost essential factor in defining the success of a Poker Player.


Whether it is a Low, Mid or High Stakes Online Cash Game, a Sit n Go or a Poker Online Tournaments, position will always play a huge part in shaping your overall game.


Position simply implies to act last or late in a hand. The perfect examples of ‘Position’ in Poker are Dealer (Top Position) and Cut-Off (Second Best).


For those who are still fresh to the game, we’ll describe the best, worst and moderate positions to play. Whereas for others who have been playing the game for while but are still bewildered about relevance of position, we’ll explain why it is a vital cog in Poker.


To provide the best explanation, we will take into consideration, a full ring game consisting of 9 players!


Worst Positions


Aka Early positions, are absolutely the worst spots to play, on any table for a player. Early positions refers to Small Blind, Big Blind, UTG (Under The Gun) and UTG+1.


These Positions are simply bad owing to a number of players who will be acting after you. Post Flop, any player on these position will find it tough to continue even with a decent starting hand. In Case you miss the flop, you will be left with no option but to check, hence handing all the advantage to the players playing in the later positions.


The misery does not stop here, you will be tested at every street (level), be it Flop, Turn or River!


Lets explain this better with an example, say your hand is Pocket 7’s which is clearly a decent hand to raise with Pre-Flop but as you will be the first one to act post flop, so either you go berserk, Pre-Flop and win the hand with a massive raise/re-raise. Alternatively just flat call, a raise by another player.


In the first scenario, it is likely that you may win the hand Pre-Flop but again, there is every possible chance that someone else is holding better Pockets or even a hand like AK or AQ. If this is the case they’ll definitely be calling you to see the flop, if not going All-In. Now if you miss the Flop and there is even one higher card (very likely) on the Flop, all you can do is check and even a ‘Half the Pot’ sized bet from your opponent should be enough to close the hand as it will be extremely difficult for you to continue investing in that hand. In the second scenario it should be a somewhat similar scenario, with the only difference being, if you miss the Flop, you may easily be facing more than one opponent, due to the min raise or no raise Pre-Flop in that hand.


More often than not you will end up leaking a lot of information about your hand to every other player and it is highly recommended to play only premium hands in early positions. It may come as a surprise to you but even the most experienced players find it tough to play a hand from an early position.


Middle Positions


The Two positions after UTG+1, are known as Middle Position 1 and Middle Position 2.


Playing a hand in the middle position surely gives you more freedom than the early positions but only to a certain extent, as you still have three more players acting after you.


So although you are not as bad as the early positions but you may still face flak from the players playing from a later position as long as you stay in a hand.


Middle position can also be termed a ‘Moderate Position’ as it allows you to play a wider range of hands which you wouldn’t have possibly been able to play from the Earlier positions. Hands like Suited Connectors (5/6, 8/9, J/10) and Small/Middle Pocket Pairs (55, 66, 99) are perfectly fine to see the flop with, unless there is a 3 or 4 bet (Re-Raise).


You should avoid getting involved in hands with players from later positions still in the hand. Also it is advisable to let the hand go if you don’t connect well on the Flop and with multiple opponents alive.


Best Positions


In Poker it isn’t ‘last but not the least’ infact it is ‘last and definitely the best’


Everytime we are talking about a player playing in position it simply implies to the player acting last (dealer/button) in a hand. The best positions to play a hand in any form of Poker are Hijack, Cut-Off and Dealer (The Boss!!).


What separates you from the average Poker player is the ability to play in position, knowledge to calculate Poker Outs, getting involved in huge pots and dominate. Everytime you are on the Button or Cut-Off, it should be seen as a fresh opportunity to win some chips. Infact the cruel truth is that if you can’t use position to your advantage you can never be a winning player in the long run.


When you are in position you have the privilege to gather all the information of every player who has acted before you and then act accordingly. This otherwise is not possible if you are playing from one of the early or middle positions. Besides this, it is the only proven spot on the table from where you can bluff and actually succeed often.


Position combined with aggression is a successful player’s biggest weapon and every established player ever in the history of the game had the ability to use it to their advantage throughout their Poker career.


Thus everytime you consider getting involved in a hand, you should always contemplate your position on the table. Infact it should be your top priority while playing, Yes! Sometimes, even ahead of the strength of your hand.


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