Online poker is still as popular as ever. And while few us can claim to be more than amateur players, there are certain tricks and techniques that can definitely improve your play. For the purposes of this article, I am only going to focus on your ‘Poker Position’ at the table.
Any poker player worth their salt knows that one of the most powerful tools in no-limit Texas Hold’em is their position at the table. Poker position refers to where a player is seated in relation to the dealer button. Action in poker moves clockwise, away from the dealer. The player to the dealer’s immediate left acts first and betting progresses all the way around the table until it reaches the dealer again.
Late Poker Position
So the best poker position to be in is the dealer. That is because you get to see how all of the other players act before you have to. This is quite vital information that you can then use to determine your next play. Also, as earlier opponents fold, the probability of a hand being the best goes up as the number of opponents goes down.
If the other players at the table have checked or made very small bets, you can then put in a raise which will force out any of the weak hands.
However, it doesn’t always go that smoothly. Here is an example. You are sitting at a full table, in the dealer position, and you raise with a pair of tens. A couple of players fold but another matches your raise. Worse still, the cut off (the person to your immediate right) puts in another raise! With the action back on you, you could choose to fold. But you have invested chips into the pot and haven’t even seen a flop. What do you do?
That’s the dilemma. Your late poker position does give you an advantage most of the time. But you also have to be ready to cut your losses if you really don’t have a good hand. Whilst having a solid position is key to success in cash games it is vital in poker tournaments. This is because the power of position is amplified in a tournament scenario simply by the fact that you cannot reload your chips in them for the most part.
In the example above, if you are playing in a tournament you should fold. You will lose the minimum amount of chips and you can let the other two players battle it out. Your hand wasn’t that good anyway! Plus, the chips you have saved could be the difference between a deep run and not even making it to the money.
Having a late position also allows you to exert extra pressure on your opponents. You can pick up pots you usually would not be entitled to by raising the action both pre and post-flop when nobody has shown any strength.
On a table with ten players, the middle positions are considered to be those sitting in spots 4, 5, 6 and 7 to the left of the dealer. Clearly, it’s not as bad as being in the early position and you can get away with okay hands, especially if you get to check. However, there are still a few players to come after you in the betting.
They may sense weakness in you and put in a large bet or raise to force you out. That only works if you have a poor hand. If you have a great hand then raise from the middle and that will force out any remaining players who have yet to play. If they haven’t contributed to the pot and they don’t have a good hand they will simply fold.
Early Poker Position
This is when you are o the small blind, the big blind or the player seated immediately to the left of them. Here you have the least amount of knowledge of anybody at the table. At this stage, you can really only play the hand you’ve got. If you are not on the blind and your hand is poor then fold.
It’s slightly trickier if you are on the blind. It’s tempting to fold if your hand is poor especially if the blind is small. However, if you constantly play like that your stack will whittle away from the blinds. The best advice is to only enter the pot if you have a really great hand. Otherwise, you simply don’t know enough about the rest of the table to risk your chips.