Positioning (The Basics)

Positioning is everything. Why? Why would my position at the table mean anything at all? Position, although highly overlooked, can be the determining factor to win the hand and furthermore increase you ability to survive. Position, (the actual seat number you are occupying at the table) is a crucial instrument that can be utilized to its maximum potential or left unscathed and forgotten about. You table position can increase the strength of your hand regardless of the cards you are holding. If you know anything about poker than you know that a large amount of the time, especially at a shorter table, you are playing the player and not the cards.

As your position decreases, (further from the button) as does your ability to use this to its full potential. Thus, the best possible position you could achieve in a hand is the dealer. As an exception to this rule, if every one has folded, in the sense that you are not legally the dealer but are last to act anyways, this will uphold the strength of your position. Okay, now that we understand where you should be in terms of strength we can see why position is essential.

A large degree of winning a poker hand successfully, regardless of your card strength, is deciphering the strength of the other player’s hand. If you can reasonably assume that your opponent’s hand is weak than you can “buy” the pot almost every time, depending on the previous image you have displayed until this point. How can you decipher another’s hand effectively? This article will not be able to cover this as it could induce a large novel regarding the psychology of the game. However, I will provide a couple of ways you can start. Back to positioning. You are last to act, there are two players ahead of you and they are the small and the large blind. Every other person has folded, what do you do? Providing that at this point you know nothing about the players in the blinds, maybe this is your first hand, you position allows you to raise in order to attempt to steal the blinds.

Now I must point out here that there are an endless amount of variables. By this I mean situations can occur in which you would not want to make this move. Maybe you know the big blind to be extremely aggressive and you know he will surely re-raise over the top. Maybe you have a very powerful hand and you do not want to take the chance of having the only remaining players fold. Maybe you feel the other players will call your “bluff” and discredit you from future possible thefts. As one can see, there are an infinite number of circumstances you would have to consider before using this position to your advantage. As any good poker player would agree, judgment is essential to properly executing strategic moves.

Now, take for example you are involved in a hand. You are the dealer and you are left with the small and large blinds. In this scenario, you raised pre-flop but both of the blinds call. The flop comes and it is checked to you.

Your position on the table can prove to be advantageous or result in your downfall. The closer to the button  you are, the better your position.