Play From All Poker Position
Poker position in a game, positions are divided into four groups. In this poker school you will learn how to play from all poker positions and find many useful tips, but let’s begin with the basics. The first group of positions consists of the blinds (small blind and big blind). These poker positions are special in that they act last during the preflop betting round, but act first postflop, and to make matters worse, they are forced to place bets (blinds) in the pot preflop. The number of other positions in a game depends on the number of players at the table.
Let’s consider two of the most typical types of tables you will find. At 10-max tables, the first three players after the blinds are in early poker position, the three after them are in middle position, and the last two are in late position. At 6-max tables, the player after the blinds is in early poker position, the next one is in middle position, and the last two players are in late position.
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Positions in Poker Preflop
Most preflop betting round starts by someone raising the blinds, but it’s usually not enough to make everyone fold, so it’s just a way of building a pot. If you always raised, and you could steal the blinds twice by the time the blinds go round, you would make a 1, 5 blind profit every game round (assuming your small and big blind would be stolen by someone else). That would be more than satisfactory, but things are a bit more complicated than that. This theory is a good starting point however, since if there were no forced bets before the cards are dealt called blinds, everyone would fold in the game unless they were dealt pocket aces, and that would kill the action completely. Blinds encourage betting, since it’s worth trying to steal them.
As for the basics of poker strategy, and how you play from all positions in poker, there’s an important distinction to be made between 6-max and 10-max tables, since the less players at the table, the more often you have to post the blinds. That means you’ll have to play looser, raising with a lot wider range of hands than at a full ring table.
Position in Poker at the Blinds
We will be focusing mostly on late position in poker where you make most of your profit. Playing from the blinds, your goal is to minimize your losses, something that is more or less true to early position as well. What this means in practice is that you’ll have to be much more active in late position than from the blinds or in early position, and play more aggressively than in middle position. Why so? Because in late position you’ll have information that others acting before you don’t have. You see if someone limped or raised before you, making your decision much more informed on whether to fold, raise or call. When you raise in early position, you have no idea how other players will act after you, and a lot of poker starting hands will be unprofitable just because of that simple fact. The lack of any action before you is also valuable information since it gives you the green light to try and steal the blinds with relatively weak hands too. If there’s a high number of curious limpers (players with a tendency to just call the big blind) acting before you, you will have a chance to make some extra profit by stealing their voluntarily posted blinds as well as the small blind and the big blind.
Position in Poker Postflop
Being in position in poker is even more of an advantage postflop than preflop. Knowing the action before you, is invaluable information postflop. If someone bets before you postflop, you will have an opportunity to make a profitable decision whether to raise as a bluff, as a semi-bluff, just call considering your pot odds, or fold. If your opponent checks before you, you can choose whether to bet to win the pot right there (something that you’ll do quite often, one of the things that makes being in position so profitable), or you can check back either to keep the pot low or to avoid your opponent check-raising you. You often fold the best hand out of position simply because your opponent’s position is so much more favorable, or to put it another way, because your position is so much more unfavorable.
Conclusion On Poker Position Strategy
A simple example of poker position strategy: you are dealt AQ in the big blind, the player on the button raises, you call, the flop comes K83, or JT6 or any other board that doesn’t improve your hand (that’s the most frequent case). You opponent will often bet here, and you’ll have to fold. Even if he is raising pre flop on the button very often, so there’s a good chance that your hand is ahead, you can’t do much because of the lack of information, unless you want to turn your hand into a bluff. A better solution might be to reraise preflop, but more on that later.
There are a lot of weak players of course who don’t take position in poker into consideration and play predictably (only bet or raise when they have a strong made hand). Against such opponents, playing out of position is less of a worry since they won’t bluff you out of the pot when you have the best hand.
There’s one more crucial aspect of position, and that is playing your winning hands as profitably as possible. What this means is that in two very similar situations (hand, opponents) being in position as opposed to being out of position means you will make a lot more money because you will be able to control the hand by knowing what your poker opponents do before you act. If one or more of your opponents have a hand they’re willing pay you off with, you will find out about it in position a lot easier than otherwise. Acting before other players with a very strong hand, you’re left with less profitable moves like check/raising that might be unsuccessful by your opponent checking back, keeping the pot lower than you’d want. Such a loss of profit because of unfavorable position makes a whole lot of decent starting hands unprofitable out of position. This is one more reason why you should learn to play a lot tighter in early position, looser in late position. Poker is a game where you always have to adapt to the factors, positions in the game is one of the factors.
To draw an analogy and learn from tennis: position is your service game, and since most of your opponents consider the role of position a lot less important than it actually is (meaning they’ll play roughly the same range of hands in all positions), that fact alone grants you an edge they won’t be able to overcome in the game.
- Rarely, if ever bluff out of position!
- Learn to be shamelessly aggressive when in position!
- You should be the least concerned about the blinds when you’re one of them!
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Good luck at the poker tables!
Team Chocolate Poker