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Playing Position In Texas Hold'em
  Benefits of Position

Location, location, location. We hear it all the time. Location, or in the poker world, position is essential and one of the key elements we need to consider in any hand we play. While pocket A’s look great at anytime it is always better to have this hand in late position. Just like any hand. The best position in Hold’em is the dealer button. The dealer button only has the blinds to act after him pre-flop and will act last on every round of betting after the flop. This is key because you get to gain information before you have to act. You get to see the bet, raise or checks before you decide if remaining in the hand, calling or even raising is beneficial to you. Some pros say they just won’t play out of position without the nuts. This is sometime hard to do but does however make a lot of since. Let’s look at position betting and position hands in a few examples and see why it is important to hold superior position to your opponents.

Let’s look at position betting.

Pre-flop position is excellent because you can see more flops with weaker hands that have a chance to hit big. A hand like 6h 8h is great to see on the button looking at a limpers with no raise. You have the opportunity to see a flop for cheap. This same hand in early position should, in most cases, be folded. Because if this hand is raised after your call, you almost always have to fold it away. What about no callers at all and you see K 4 off suite on the button? Well this junk hand is perfect for a raise here. The same hand you would gladly chuck away in any other position. Now a raise forces your blinds to have a hand and could likely be ahead in a call anyway against a 9, 10 or similar.

Now you see how you can play more hands in position but what about post flop?

Playing position well constitutes reading players well also. This is they key to taking advantage of position. You also have to be aggressive if you’re going to take advantage of position. You need to be able to not look at your hand and put your opponent on a likely hand. If you ever really pay attention to TV poker you will notice that when players make raises with less than average starting hands, it is based on position, opponents and aggressive play. This is the only way it works.

After you can successfully tell what your opponents are doing to some clarity. (You will rarely know for certain.) Then you can really start using position to your benefit. If you are last to act against a single opponent you are in good shape. Here’s why. Your opponent has only 2 options. He can check or he can bet. However he really can’t fold. You on the other hand have an ultimate option he does not have. That is you can fold, call or raise. This allows you to say I’ve had enough and throw your hand away and It allows your opponent to make a mistake by letting you draw to a winning hand and it also allows you to put real pressure on your opponent. A bet by an opponent first to act is not always that threatening, but a raise from you in position should almost always represent strength and even if he calls you are now likely to be able to see the river for free. If you have the nuts and you are in position you are in a much better position than you may think. Your opponent may have a decent hand and bet into you. You can than just call all the way down or better yet raise for maximum value as you opponent may call raise after raise in some cases.
Just remember to play less in early position and play more in late position,

         Don P -


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