Maximising Poker Position
Table position is a factor that novice poker players might rarely consider, but it’s a concept that veterans frequently use to their advantage.
Players directly after the blinds are in the weak early positions, whereas the late players at the end of the hand are in a much stronger place.
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Betting in the first position after the big blind is the weakest at the table, which is why players refer to this as being “under the gun”.
The next couple of seats are stronger than yours, but only marginally so, as you are the only player they can get a quick read from.
So, why are the early positions weak? Well, this is because players in those positions are forced to make the first betting decisions, whereas the blinds are forced into their betting situations.
These are some key tips for playing in the early positions:
• Great hands only: pocket pairs are just about enough for you considering to call the blinds and see the flop.
• Vary your approach: make the decisions time after time and the late position players shall see you as an easy mark. Try to change things up by calling or raising when you have low pocket pairs.
• Trap your opponents: early position can be a tremendous position from which to trap your opponents and wreck their stack. Pocket aces, kings, or queens are ideal for trying to limp into the pot with a call. If the late position pounces with a raise, then you can come right back at them with a huge re-raise.
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The player with the button and those just to their right are in the late positions and hold a much greater degree of strength.
This is due to the fact that they have just witnessed a number of their opponents make betting decisions based on their first two cards and before the flop has been shown.
Some early players want to limp in to see the flop cards simply by paying low-cost blinds.
This is because they don’t have a good yet. From a late position, you can take advantage if you think they are afraid of responding to a raise.
• Steal blinds: players in the late positions can seize opportunities to steal blinds by raising against the weaker players who have merely called the blinds.
• Short/big stacks: Short-stacked players make desperate moves, while those with big stacks can pay more to see the flop. Try to be smart when stealing blinds and not take on players with those stacks.
• Good cards: in the late position, you can act more aggressively to seal blinds if you have pocket pairs or two cards worth 10 or higher.
• Fold off suit: there could be a temptation to call or raise with a face card and a nine or lower, but this is extremely risky at busy table when your cards are off suit.
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Position has to be part of you strategic online poker arsenal. Try experimenting with some of the above moves in your next game. Stay clear in your strategy and you stand a greater chance of making gains.
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