Playing Positions

Determining which hands to play

A key concept when playing poker is position; it is especially important when participating in Pot Limit or No Limit games. The importance grows when playing flop games such as Hold'em or Omaha since your position remains the same for each betting round. When placed in an early position, you'll have to act early in the hand and, therefore, simply will not have as much information available as players in later positions.

Sometimes, you may call a hand when acting from an early position only to find the pot raised and re-raised after you from later positions. Hence, you may be forced to fold a hand that you have already invested funds into.

round bottom
round-top-large

If you act late, you know the pot odds you are getting on each hand and have the advantage of acting late in each of the upcoming betting rounds. As a result, you can play more hands when in a late position than when in an early position. Position is always a factor to consider when deciding which hands to consider playilng. For example, in Hold'em, you should play very tight when you are under the gun, which means you are first to act pre-flop, and add hands as your position improves.

Bluffing

Late positions provide you with more opportunities to use your bluffing skills. If all players check in front of you, for example, you could take the option of betting or seeing the next card for free. The late position offers more chances to semi-bluff as well. This means betting or raising on hands that may not be the best but have lots of outs that can improve them into the best hand. If everyone folded and you are in the late position, you raise with hands that you would never consider calling from an early position because you may win the blinds and antes uncontested.

Tight or loose game

When the game is very loose and not much raising occurs before the flop, position doesn't have as much significant as when playing in a tight or aggressive game. This is because you can now play drawing hands from an early position while remaining reasonably certain you will get the right odds and the pot will not be raised. If the game is tight or aggressive, you should play very tight when in an early position.

An example, Let's say you are playing Hold'em from the worst position which can cost you the pot. Your cards are the #Ah-#5h and your opponent, in a better position, holds the #7c-#8c. You are heads-up and the flop is #Kh-#9d-#6h. Bet a semi-bluff with your flush draw and overcard to the board. Your opponent calls with their open-ended straight draw. The turn is the #Js; no use to either player. You can bet again, hoping your opponent will fold with a pair of Nines or Sixes. Your opponent calls and the river is the #2c. You check and your opponent bets. There is no reasonably cause to call that bet holding only Ace-high; you fold the best hand. You lost a pot because you were placed in a worse position than where your opponent was seated.

Loose or tight players

It is ideal to have loose or pasive players to your right and tight or aggressive players to your left. The loose players call too many hands and give you better pot odds because you act behind them and have position on them. Essentially, this position provides a greater chance to capitalize on the mistakes of others. Having tight players to your left will give you an opportunity to steal their blinds and win post by betting into them with bluffs.

Poker Strategy Guide:

Strategy Article 1. Bankroll Management

Strategy Article 2. Key Tips & Skills

Strategy Article 3. Going On Tilt

Strategy Article 4. Poker Pot Odds

Newsletter Signup - Get 10 free poker tips as well as our newsletter November 21, 2017

GO