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The Importance Of Table Position

Posted on November 17th, 2010 | by Dean in Poker Strategies

A player’s position at the table in relation to the dealer is an extremely important strategic factor when playing Texas Hold‘em and is sometimes ignored when playing online poker. Table position is a major factor when deciding which start cards should be played and which should be folded. Example a top hand can be played in any position while the lesser hand should be played only in a late position where informed decision can be made based on how many previous players took action.

Poker Table

Early position

The four player sitting to the left of the dealer, including the two blinds, are in the early position because they have to act first in the betting, they are at a disadvantage as they cannot observe how their opponents will act before making their move.

That’s why it is very crucial to only play top cards in early position because if another player raises you it doesn’t matter because you’re going to play these cards anyways. It’s actually a good thing they raised because you might have the best hand at this point.

Middle position

The three players to the left of the early position players are said to be in the middle position. Pre-flop, these players don’t have the benefits of late position but neither do they have the disadvantage of being in an early position. Because they are between the two, they are able to play a few more hands than they would in early position but not as many as they could have been in a late position.

After the flop they have the benefit of having seen half their opponents act, but also at a disadvantage because they do not know what the other half is going to do.

Late position

The final three players are in the late position. This is the best position on the table as it provides many advantages the most importantly they have a lot of information available to them before making a decision on their play.

Being one of the last to act gives you three pieces of crucial information the other two positions did not have the advantage of:

1.)    How many opponents you’re playing against

2.)    The amount of money immersed in this pot

3.)    Your chances of winning based on the above two factors

Being the last to act, you’ll know exactly how many players have made a bet. Being the last to act tells  you if no one has raised, you can see the flop for one bet which makes play worthwhile. If someone has raised, however you will have to pay two bets also the raise indicates they might have a good hand, so basically being in the late position helps you make a better decision on your play.

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