Free Article 3 - Position
Your position at the poker table during a hand should have a big influence on the way you play any hand. Your position can determine how much money you win, or even whether or not you actually win the hand.
Position in poker is something that is all too often overlooked by newcomers to the game, and sometimes even by some of the more experienced players. To become a solid player, you have to exercise good poker strategy and use position to your advantage. If you are not always trying to keep aware of your position at the table, then you are leaving a big hole in your game.
Your position in each hand is determined by the placement of the ‘button’. The ‘button’ is the dealer’s seat and all actions must take place one after another in an anticlockwise motion from player to player, starting with the player to the immediate left of the dealer.
The group of players who will be the first few to act on each betting round are known as players in ‘early position’, and therefore the players who will be the last few to act on each round are known as the players in ‘late position’. As you might have already guessed, the players in between these two groups are known as players in ‘middle position’. The button is the best seat in the hand because that player will be acting last on every round of the hand, except only for pre-flop.
The players who are in late position have an advantage over the other players at the table because they will be the last to act on every betting round. This means that they are able to see how their opponents act and play their hand before they have to decide how to play their own hand.
For example, if a player in late position sees an opponent check before them, they can infer that there opponent has a weak hand, and so they may decide to make a bluff to try and take down the pot. If the positions had been switched around however, the player now in early position will have a harder time trying to run a successful bluff, because they no longer have any information on the strength of their opponent’s hand. Being out of position in any hand can cause many problems, and hinder any good Texas Holdem strategy you might posses.
When deciding whether or not to enter a pot you should always be considering your position at the table. If you are one of the first to act you have to remember that your opponents will have access to more information about your hand on each betting round, and so will be able to have the greater ability to bluff you off of your hand if you show any weakness. Knowing how to bluff in poker is important, but even more important is knowing when to bluff.
If you intend to play a hand from early position, you should make sure it is a premium hand to give yourself the best chance of winning. Consequently, you can loosen up your starting hand requirements in the later positions because you will have the advantage of acting last on each round.
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