The importance of position in poker

July 21, 2010

 An important concept in online poker is position and it is often touched upon in beginner books about texas hold’em , but not enough to give players a good idea of how to use it. Not knowing position is an easy way to lose lots of money in internet poker.

Here’s a quick guide to what Hold’em starting hands to play in different positions :

  1. Early position – This is considered the worst position in poker, since you have to act first without knowing how any of the other players are going to play their hands. Without a lot of data on the other players , it’s a good idea to only play the best of the best of cards here. In early position is best to play high pairs like AA,KK,QQ, JJ, high unsuited cards like AK,AQ, KQ and QJ sometimes, high suited cards like AK,AQ, AJ, KQ, QJ, and so on.
  2. Middle position – You have to act after the players in early position, so you get to see how they play their hands , but there are still quite a few players to follow you. In general, you can play a little bit looser in middle position than early position, but you still need to be cautious. In this position is best to play high suited cards like AT, KT, QT, high unsuited cards like AJ, AT and so on, middle pairs TT, 99, 88.
  3. Late position – Being in late position allows you to have a lot more information about how the hand is going before you have to make your own option of whether to call, bet, raise, or fold. If no one has bet in a round, the players in late position may win the pot only by betting any amount – this is called “betting position”. Many poker players know about betting position and may call a bet as a bluff when the dealer or one before him bets, but it works often enough that it’s worth trying once in a while. You can play a lot of hands from this position like suited connectors, such as 9T, 78, 67 etc. Small pairs like 44, 33, 22 and hands like A9, A8, A6.
  4. The button – This is the best seat in the hand , because on every round except for before the flop, you will be the last player to act no matter what. You should look to play as many hands as possible (within reason) from the button, as you have a big advantage in the hand when you are last to act .

This is a rough guide, pay attention to the other players playing types (tight, loose, etc) so you can presuppose what hands you might be up against. Still, if you stick to this your poker profit should grow.

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