Poker is a casino card game that requires players to have skill, strategy, and a little bit of luck. One of the essential components of winning at poker is understanding table positions, which is very helpful for making better decisions, maximizing profits, and avoiding losses.
There are a few table positions in poker that have to be played differently. Each player should take into account what cards he has according to the table position he's at. The focus of this article will only be on learning more about table positions in poker and how they can affect gameplay.
The early positions on a poker game table are the first few seats to the left of the dealer. Early Positions, EP, also refer to the first three players next to the dealer, including the Small Blind, Big Blind, and the player sitting next to the Big Blind. The third player is known as UTG or Under the Gun.
Players in these positions are at a disadvantage because they are the first to play each round. Those bettors will have to play only by knowing what cards they have, and no information about what their opponents have.
There are two ways for bettors to take advantage of their early positions.
- Play very aggressively. This means to call or raise if someone tries to steal your blinds. Or bluff, if the starting hand is not that good.
- Play selected hands. This includes playing only premium hands such as high pairs, AK, AQ, or other hands, considered strong. This strategy can help them avoid losses and win pots when the starting hand is good.
The middle poker positions on the table refer to players who act after those in the early positions, but before those in the late positions.
- Players in the middle positions have a slight advantage over those in the early positions, as they don’t have to play first. Still, middle positions can be tricky, as they have to play before the players in the latter positions.
- One of the key tricks for playing middle positions in poker is to play a wider range of hands than those in the early positions. Of course, all hands have to be tailored to the player’s cards from early positions.
There is a very successful strategy that can be implemented by players in the middle positions. If they have a strong hand and the early positions already placed a bet, they may re-raise, in order to force blinds to fold and steal the pot.
If a player is in the middle position, he should be very careful with aggressive late-position players and wait for stronger hands, otherwise, fold.
The late positions in poker are the best ones for a player to be in. These positions are the Cutoff and the Button, which are the last two positions to act in a hand. The Button is considered the most favorable position in poker, as the player in this act lasts in every betting round, giving them a significant advantage over the others.
- Playing from the late positions has the advantage of seeing how other players act and making better decisions about whether to bet, raise or fold.
- Another benefit of playing from a late position is that the pot size can be easily controlled. If no one has raised, depending on his hand, the player may decide to bet small to increase the pot or bet big, in order to bluff his opponents.
Playing from the late positions can be beneficial for a variety of poker hands that can be played as well. Both the cutoff and button can play hands, considered weaker, depending on how opponents played, and also what the pot size is.
Understanding the poker table positions is essential to becoming a good player. All positions have a set of benefits and drawbacks, so knowing how to play from each can be a huge advantage over bettors who are not that familiar with gameplay.
Each position in poker is very different and has to be played differently, but they have a lot of things in common, which revert to having a good poker betting strategy. So, bettors should not only be familiar with poker positions, but also be well-prepared with their own game flow.
With practice, players can learn how to read their opponent's actions and make the best decisions from any position.