Poker Positioning and Its Importance
If you are wondering what people mean when they talk about positioning while watching any poker video or discussing hands then this article will give you a brief overview of what positioning is in poker and its importance.
A crucial part of strategic gameplay, Poker players give utmost importance to their positioning on the poker table while playing poker. If you play your hand in the right scenario (Position and right bet sizing) even weak hands can end up being decently profitable.
What is ‘position’ in poker?
There are two meaning of ‘position’ in poker:
- Position refers to the order in which you act in a poker game i.e. the betting order. It essentially supports you in understanding about the purported strengths and weaknesses of your opponent’s hand.
- In Texas hold ’em, having a position also refers to being last to act on the flop, turn, or river. The player who is closest to the right of the button will be last to act and have a position on the flop, turn, and river.
Most commonly, discussions regarding positions are to do with who acts last in each betting round.
Who has a ‘position’?
Now that we know what position is, let’s discuss who has a position on the poker table before we move on to the types of positions.
- The player who acts last on every betting round is said to be “In Position”.
- The player who acts first on every betting round is said to be “Out of Position”.
Positions on the Poker table
The positions on the poker table are determined by the location of the dealer button and are usually described as being:
- Early position- Refers to the players who post the small blind and big blind as well as the player sitting on the left at UTG (under the gun) since they’ll be acting first in every betting round.
- Middle position- It refers to the next couple or three seats at the table, leading to the last two or three seats depending on the number of players playing (maximum 9) on the table.
- Late position- It includes the button position and the cutoff (the seat that is on the right side of the button) and the hijack seat (the seat that is on the right side of the cutoff)
Coming to the importance of positioning at the poker table, here are 5 reasons why playing on a specific position is preferable by many poker players.
- If your opponent checks and you have a position on your opponent with a drawing hand, you have the opportunity to check and see the next community card without putting in any money. This is also known as viewing the ‘free card’.
Example: You have 8♣-7♣-on a Q♣-9♦-2♣ flop.
Your opponent who has to act first decides to check the flop. You could now bet or check to see the ‘free card’ to see if you can complete your flush.
- Acting last in every betting round gives you an upper hand in controlling how big or small of a pot you end up playing. If you want to play a small pot then you can always check around and flat call your opponent’s bet and close the action. If you want to play a bigger pot you can bet or raise when the action is on you. When you are out of position you can’t be sure if your opponent will check, flat, or raise.
- Having a position on your opponent gives you more opportunities to bluff, hence leverage over what hand you are trying to represent.
- Pot odds- Say you are in a four-way hand holding K♣-10♣, the flop comes Q♦-J♦-5♣, and you are second to act.
The pot is of 1500 INR and the first player bets 500 INR. You’d like to call and see the turn to complete your open-ended straight draw.