When it comes to poker gaming, position is one of the most frequently overlooked concepts in the game. And precisely why that is, is curious. Any self-respecting poker player, or poker expert, will attest to the significance of position in tournaments. In fact, poker position makes the difference between winning a tournament and losing the tournament. Chances are that you've watched poker tournaments on the television – things like the World Poker Tour (WPT), the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT) and the World Series of Poker (WSOP) – and you've seen how vital position is to the outcomes of games. It can't be stressed enough.
Let's take for example the first and second seasons of the WPT where Daniel Negreanu used position to cement his success at the contests. The same can be said of his videos where he discusses – in depth – the significance of position and how to make use of it. There are three fundamental positions in poker, including the likes of: early position, middle position and late position. We will look at each of these in detail in the following sections.
Early Position and what it's all about
In poker there are two positions: the Small Blind and the Big Blind. When a player is in Early Position he or she is seated in the 2 immediate seats next to the blinds. The position after the Big Blind is known as 'Under the Gun.' Players in this position will always want to raise only on high-quality hands such as an Ace/King combination. Note that you will need to avoid rag Aces and avoid what is known as 'limping' as it proves very costly and post-flop, you will be first to act against a player who raises.
Middle Position and How to Play it
Fortunately, middle position is pretty self-explanatory. It's the position between the blinds and the button. It's a tough place to be. Players in this position are advised to play very tight poker. It is acceptable to limp in with what are known as creative hands, especially if the early positions have already limped. Take note however, not to make big raises with average-value hands. This is true also of calling big raises – unless you have a monster hand. The reasoning is simple: there are players who will act after you and they will also act after you post-flop.
Understanding Late Position
Late position is otherwise known as the cut-off position. The player in late position is the final player before the button. For poker greenhorns who don't quite understand what the button is, it is the dealer button. It is the marker used to indicate which of the poker players is dealing – usually the house dealer. When it comes to raising, this area is ideally where you want to make your raises and limps with all types of poker hands. Take note that you should vary your hand selection, owing to the fact that you are the player acting last post-flop. You will have loads of information at your fingertips. And it is this information that you will be using to make decisions on calling and raising.
It cannot be stressed enough how significant position is in poker. When there are players ahead of you, you cannot anticipate what cards they have or how aggressively or passively they will play their games. But when you are last to act, you've already seen what is happening at the table and you can anticipate what the likely outcome may be. Position is crucial when the blinds get high later in tournaments. Let's say for example that you had a 10/Jack off suit – the advantage of this particular hand is that if you get called, you have plenty of outs. For example, you could pick up loads of poker chips with no effort and no thinking if everyone else folds!