Once a novice poker player has been playing poker for a while, they need to understand table position and why it matters. We will explain what the different table positions are first, how they influence game play, and how they should generally be played.
Table position is measured relative to the dealer position, also known as the button. The player in dealer position is only a nominal dealer; the disc placed in front of them indicates where the dealer is. Of course, this is all automated in online poker games.
The dealer is always last to act unless they fold their hand, in which case the player nearest to their right will be last to act. It’s cool to be in the dealer’s position. Everyone else acts before you after the flop. So you’ll know who has something worth playing and who doesn’t.
Early Table Position
In a full table, these are the first three players to the left of the dealer. They are the small blind, big blind and under the gun (UTG). If the table isn’t full, the early table position players are those who must act before most of the other players.
Being in early table position sucks because you don’t know how good/bad the rest of the hands are. Hence, when you see a player raise it up in early position, you can be fairly confident they have a good hand.
Middle Table Position
In a full table, these are the fourth, fifth and sixth players to the dealer’s left. Some players act before you, others after you. This is better than early position but still not a coveted position.
Late Table Position
These are the Us online Poker players closest to the dealer’s right. In a full table, these are the seventh, eighth and ninth players. This is the second-best table position of all, with advantages similar to the dealer’s position.
Note that anyone can be in last position, if all players behind them (those to their right) folds.
Table Position at Work
A better table position enables you to make better decisions because you have the most information at your disposal, while poor table position makes it more likely for you to make the wrong decisions and to extract value since you’re first to act.
Starting Hand Selection
There are general rules for hand selections based on table positions:
Early Position (EP) – Only the most premium hands like A-A and other high pairs, or high unpaired hands like A-K and A-Q. Because you don’t know what everyone else may have, it’s smarter to play only strong hands in EP. In other words, when in doubt bring a shotgun; when in real danger, bring a rocket-launcher.
Middle Position (MP) – Here you can play more hands like K-J off suit. If you’re lucky enough to see later players fold, you will be in a more advantageous position.
Late Position (LP) – The most kinds of hands can be played here. You might like to play any broadway hand or any suited connector/one outer if you’re feeling like it.
All in all, when all is said and done, table position in poker is important. While the hand choices are just guidelines, the general rules on position in poker apply.