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» What is Position in poker
What is position in poker

Position is an important concept in poker. It is relevant both pre-flop and post-flop. You may have heard people talk about position a lot and never really understood what is position, or never really understood it fully. Below we will try to explain it in more detail, right down to the basic dynamics of positional play.

Pre-flop position :-

You may hear people mention early position, late position, Under the gun etc etc.

If we imagine a table with 9 players as below.


Lets say Player 'I' has the dealer button.

Here is the order in which the players act pre-flop (C is first to act):-

Player C = Under-the-gun (UTG)
Player D = UTG+1 (May refer to as EP also)
Player E = Early Position (EP)
Player F = Mid position (MP)
Player G = Late Position (LP)
Player H = Cut-Off (CO) <-- 2nd last to act is called the cut-off (may refer to as LP also)
Player I = Button <-- The button, the most powerful position
Player A = Small Blind (SB)
Player B = Big Blind (BB)

Player C is in the most ackward position. He knows nothing about the status of all of the other players. He is very much in the dark. A lot of hands are weak here. He may have a seemingly attractive hand such as AT,22,33,44 etc, but with so many players still to act after him, it is difficult to know whether these are strong or weak hands for him.

The later the position, the more information you have got. You have seen how many players have entered the pot, what they have done, and how many players are left. Eg If it is folded to you on the button, then you know only the SB and BB are left to act.

Going all-in from early position means you are relying for more players all to have the appropriate cards and fold equity to fold to you. If only one of the players remaining has a decent hand, then a call is likely if they see the price a reasonable. They have the luxury of calculating how reasonable the value is.

The later the position you are, the more likely you are able to see if your bet will go unopposed, especially if you know the relative tightness of the remaining players left to act.

All this is really compounded as we shift to post-flop.

Post-flop position

Here are the post-flop positions from earliest to latest (in the order that they act):-

Player A = Small Blind (SB) (first to act)
Player B = Big Blind (BB)
Player C = Under-the-gun (UTG)
Player D = UTG+1 (May refer to as EP also)
Player E = Early Position (EP)
Player F = Mid position (MP)
Player G = Late Position (LP)
Player H = Cut-Off (CO) <-- 2nd last to act is called the cut-off (may refer to as LP also)
Player I = Button <-- The button, the most powerful position

Now we really start to see the weakness of UTG and UTG+1, not only are they first to act pre-flop, they are also very early to act post-flop.

Post-flop is where the importance of position really comes into play. In late position you have the luxury of seeing how every player responds to the flop (or turn, or river). You do not have to commit any chips yourself without this imformation. If they all check you have the supreme luxury of either making a bet here in the knowledge of all the checks, or you can yourself check and get a free card without anyone else acting behind you.

In late position you can see what price other players set, and can choose if that is good value for you. You can see bets, and raises and get out of the way without commiting a single chip.

In Early position post-flop you are in the dark. If you bet you are giving the opponent an easy choice to fold or re-raise if they wish. If you check then you are showing signs of weakness. If a horrible looking flop comes for your hand you are basically in an awful situation. You know a check probably means giving up on the hand, and you know a bet is putting you in a very vulnerable position as any of the players left to act could quite easily have liked the flop you hated. If they call, then you are in an even more sticky situation. Do you bet again, commiting more chips potentially down the drain, or do you check and put the late position in the perfect decisional position. Eg they can bet here sensing weakness, or they can check to see the river for free, and also your reaction to the river for free.

In essence, you need to be very careful of getting yourself tied up in knots by playing a lot of marginal hands from early position. Conversely dont be scared to exploit the wonders of late position. To the novice this means "stealing the blinds", but really the main benefit of late position comes into the post flop play, and the great advantage it gives you to calculate value, and make cheap low-risk decisions.

Good Luck.
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Page Created at 05-05-2007 - 02:31 PM, Last Modified : 06-26-2007 - 04:08 PM.

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