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The Importance of Position

In many circles, there is one thing that drives players to certain games or tables and that is by having a certain position at the poker tables, this of course is power. When you have the advantage of seeing what cards the other players at the table are playing before you it gives your hand the element of surprise. This way you have the benefit of seeing what your opponents do. Their actions and facial expressions provide valuable hints about the real or implied cards in their hands. This is true in all poker games, and is particularly important in a game, like Hold’em. In this game the position is fixed for the entire hand, unlike 5 card or 7 card stud, where it can vary from one round to another.

Here is a scenario for you on Position: you’re sitting in eighth position in a game and raise before the flop with a pocket pair of Tens only to see a Ace, Queen, and a eight flop. Now the player in seat three comes out betting only to be re-raised by another aggressive player sitting in seat #5. At this point you should re-examine the plays being made and the validity of your possible upper hand. Ask yourself; Are one or both of these players bluffing? This is extremely unlikely, Now is the time that the position has probably given you the edge and saved you from another loss.

Ok now let’s try another hand. Right off the Flop, then again on the turn your hand is checked. Now you can probably bet on your pair of Tens and take the pot, or simply check and give someone with a hopeless hand a chance to at the pot. What if you were first to act with the same hand? What would you do with your Tens then? If no one holds an ace or queen, you can bet and probably take the pot. The outcome can turn at any point but having a good position during the game can make all the difference.

You could steal the pot by betting right off, but if someone holds a better hand you can be sure you will be called, or maybe even raised. Scenarios like this one are played over and over all because some players get into a predicament by being forced, again by not being observant to the present game they play the hands with no clue of what their opponents are holding, or any idea as to how they might play their hands or respond, you are forced to guess what the right play might be. If someone opens, then you are forced to consider calling or just throwing your hand in.

No matter how you position yourself in this situation it still remains a very unfavorable outcome. Although it is safer by acting last, it does not bring in the income. The biggest advantage of position truly comes early and allows you to bluff and try to steal the pot. Bluffing is always a risky strategy because you might be up against a better hand, and find that you’ve been raised for your troubles.