Ask any great poker player what the most important concept is in poker and they’ll all give you the same answer position, but what is it, and why is it so important?
The person who throws first in darts is mathematically more likely to reach the double first; in football – all things being even – the home team is more likely to beat the away team and the server is always king in tennis.
Poker is no different.
There are many edges in poker, but the biggest is your position.
What is Position?
You have position on a player if you get to act last in a hand of poker. The best possible position is when you’re on the button. The worst position is the ‘Small Blind’ because they always have to act first.
Since the dealer button moves clockwise around the table with each hand, choosing to play most of your hands in position is a massive first step to winning at poker.
But how do you take advantage of position when you have it?
1. Using position to value bet
The bulk of your poker profits will come from extracting value from your winnings hands. This is much easier to do when in position, because by acting last you have more information at your disposal when deciding what moves to make.
For example, if you’re out of position you might decide to check-raise for value, and then curse as your opponent checks back to see a free card. When you’re in position you get to see what your opponent is going to do before making a decision and you can use that information to extract maximum value.
2. Using position to bluff
Even though you’re not doing it every hand, bluffing is an important of poker.
By playing a lot of hands in position, you’ll be able to steal a lot of blinds and antes.
Stealing your share of blinds and antes and winning pots with position-bets after the flop gets more and more important as the tournament enters deeper waters, and this is very difficult to do when playing lots of hands in early position.
The concept of ‘floating’ involves calling a flop bet, as a bluff, with a view of betting on the turn when checked to by your opponent.
3. Using position to control pot size
The player in position always has control over the size of the pot because they are last to act.
If your opponent checks you can bet as big as you like, and if they bet you can raise as much as you like. It’s far more difficult to do this when you’re out of position.
There is nothing more annoying in poker than to have a decent hand that you can’t get to showdown.
If you are playing in position you’ll have the option off checking it through or just calling your opponents bets in order to get your medium hands to showdown.
Getting to showdown not only gives you greater opportunity to win money, but it also gives you more information on your opponent that might prove valuable in a later hand.
5. Picking off the fish
In addition to everything we’ve discussed always remember to sit to the left of the weak players at the table.
Sitting to the left of the fish means you will always have position on them. You will always get to act last, be able to value bet more efficiently, bluff more regularly, control the size of the pot, and get to more showdowns.
Content credit: mirror.co.uk