Position is a rather important concept in poker, and many new players are usually not aware of its importance. The betting position usually starts with the small and the big blind, which are the first two players who make a bet after the button.
The last player to make a bet in a hand is the one usually holding the button. Being “in position” in poker simply means that you are the last one in a betting round to decide about their bet.
So, how does this help you, and how do you use it to improve your overall success in this game?
There’s but one thing that you get when you are “in position,” and that is information. Being able to learn more about other players’ hands is the most valuable thing in poker, and you can do that by observing the way other players behave, how they bet, and more.
Betting will often give you more info, so it’s essential that you are able to see other players make bets before you do. And the player who is last to bet in a betting round is said to be “in position.” Let’s take a look at a couple of practical examples.
When You’re Not in Position
Simply put, let’s say that you have cards that look good, and you make a bet and even proceed with the river bet, investing a significant part of your money. However, then the two remaining players before you decide to go all-in after you make your bet. What do you do?
Do you go all-in to and risk it or lose a lot of chips and save yourself? In other words, you didn’t have the info that they would go all-in, and now they told you more about it. Therefore, now you must lose a lot, whether you like it or not.
When You’re in Position
Now, let’s take a look at a bit different scenario. Except that you’re in position, meaning you’re the last one in the betting round. What’s different this time?
Let’s say that once again, you proceeded to the river betting round and that there are two remaining players. This time, you get to see them go all-in before you actually make a big bet.
Therefore, now you have an opportunity to fold and lose much less money compared to the first example, simply because you knew the info about them before you made a bet.
This was just a basic example of how we are able to harvest information before we actually make a decision. The position play is something that you need to capitalize on whenever you are in it.
You have more freedom to observe your opponents and their actions, and even try to play hands that might not be premium but still have good potential. After all, you can give up and fold if you think your opponents have better hands than you without actually making a bet before them.
On the other hand, if you are in an early position, then you need to play more carefully. Ideally, you would proceed only with premium hands, knowing that you’re going to do better than your opponents even if they make some unexpected bets.
As you probably already know, positions in poker shift based on the button, which changes every hand. It’s up to you to make the most of it and carefully observe your position every time to know how to approach the hand. Now that you know this, make sure to try it next time you play poker!