Table Position in Poker

Understanding Table Position

Your table position should have a big influence on the way you play each hand including what range of cards you play pre-flop.  It is a basic concept to understand yet lots of new players have no clue about and this severely limits how well they play. Excercising good poker strategy should always take into account your position (and everone else’s).  As an estimate I’d say that table position makes up about 50% of your pre-flop strategy and 30% of your post-flop game, so you should definately take the time to understand it.

Positions at the Table

Your position in each hand is determined by the button. The button is the dealer’s seat and all actions must take place one after another in an anticlockwise motion from player to player, starting with the first position left of the dealer. Players who are sat closest to the dealer are known as players in ‘early position’ as they are first to act. The players furthest from the dealer in the run of play are in ‘late position’ – as they have the latest action in each round that takes place. ‘Middle position’ includes those players located between early and late position.

Technically speaking, the button is the best position as you will be acting last on each hand after the flop, this is important because it allows you to see the strength of everone else hand and gives you a positional advantage both pre-flop and on each of the later streets. If you see everyone is only calling or folding then it provides a chance to steal the pot by making a strong raise, it also saves you chips from calling hands that get re-raised by late position players.  Agressive play such as blind-stealing and double-barreling is most profitable from late position.

The worst position is the person who has to act first in a hand – this is known as UTG. You have to remember that your opponents will always have more information than you on each betting round, and  they’ll have a greater positional advantage to bluff you off pots when you show weakness, by checking for example. 

Pre-Flop Starting Hands and Position

Depending on where you’re sat at the table you should vary which hands you play pre-flop – and the manner in which you do so.  Premium hands like AK can be played in any position pre-flop however marginal hands like 67 suited or KQ should can only be limped in from mid-late position.  Read NL Texs Holdem Starting Hands for a more balanced account of starting hands from different positions.

One Response to “Table Position in Poker”

  1. Socialpro29 says:

    I agree with most of the information with exception to 67s and everyone’s favorite trouble hand KQ, from EP I am trashing them but mid to late depending on the table atmosphere I am opening them with a raise, I don’t want to ever be open limping, particularly in EP-MP2, from my experience limping in from these positions only creates dead chips. It all comes down to the way the table is playing. The saying loose at a nitty, tag table and tight at a loose table.