There’s a lot that goes into any decision you make at the poker table. It goes way beyond just what cards you have, your stack size, and what cards are on the board. To make the best choices, you need to consider all the factors.
Did you know that position is actually one of the most important variables in any hand of poker? Position refers to where you are sitting relative to the dealer button. Going left from the dealer button, we have small blind, big blind, under the gun, middle position, cutoff, and dealer. For a game with more than six players, we simply add more middle positions, such as MP1, MP2, and MP3.
Betting always starts to the left of the dealer and goes clockwise around the table. Pre-flop, the small and big blinds have already posted their bets, so under the gun is first to act. But what’s the big deal?
More Info, Less Problems
Later positions have an advantage over earlier ones because they have more information. They can then leverage this information into making better decisions.
For instance, if you want to call a bet on the flop from the cutoff position, then you only need to worry about being raised by the dealer, assuming they are still even in the pot. On the other hand, if you were in an earlier position, like under the gun, then there would still be multiple people to act after you.
This information is a huge edge. Playing “in position,” or being the last one to act, lets you have the final say in any round of betting. If your opponent bet, then you can simply call and see the next card or fold and get out for free. If you’re out of position, then you don’t have this luxury.
Remember, we make statements with our bet-sizing. If you’re in later position, then you get to hear what your opponent has to say before you need to even put in a word.
Building Ranges Based on Position
One of the easiest ways for you to start taking position into account in your strategy is by changing your ranges based on your position. In general, you want to play a tighter range in early position and a looser range in later position.
Since being on the dealer button, for instance, gives you such an edge over your opponents, you don’t need to worry about your cards as much, and you can use your information advantage to press the attack.
For instance, if your opponent checks to you on the flop or turn, then you might be facing someone with a weak hand that missed the flop. This could be a great time to fire a bluff and take down the pot.
The dealer button goes around the table, so this tactical advantage is shared equally among all the players. Now, make sure that you take advantage of this edge when the time comes so that you can rake in the chips!