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Playing Your Position In Poker

PositionAn ever-present awareness of your position and the implications of your position is an absolutely critical skill in poker.  Players who play without taking position into consideration invariably end up being long-term losing players.  Those who play with position in mind and use it to every advantage possible will find success that much easier.

Strong poker players use position as a crushing weapon against their opponents.  The scariest poker players are the ones who constantly attack when in late position but always seem to disappear when you finally get the advantage of late position.  These players know the power of position and they strive to use it every chance they get.

Staying Out of Trouble in Early Position

The first and most basic skill poker players should learn is staying out of trouble in early position.  Every hand you play from early position comes with a single, major disadvantage: you have to act first every time.  During the entire hand, your opponents get to see your actions before they make theirs.

During each street, you have to act blindly, doing your best to anticipate how your opponent will react to your bets and checks.  Your opponent can simply watch what you do and then act accordingly.

The best way to stay out of trouble in early position is to play fewer hands preflop.  Strong hands are easier to play, they win more often and they partially negate the power of position your opponents hold over you.  Weak hands will get you in trouble because it’s incredibly difficult to judge where you stand when you have to act first every street.

Taking Advantage of Late Position

When it’s your turn to be in late position, use it to your full advantage!  Now you’re the one who gets to see his opponent’s actions first.  You’re the one whose intentions are unknown until it’s too late.

You can play more hands in late position because they are easier to play and your opponents will have a difficult time overcoming the disadvantage of early position.  Use your position to attack the blinds, make more preflop raises and become a general terror.  You can also play your draws more aggressively and keep your opponents guessing even more.

Punish your opponents whenever they make the mistake of playing against you from out of position.  Sure, sometimes you’ll come across genuine hands but that’s fine because it’s easy to play against strong hands from late position.  All you have to do is fold.  You can tell an opponent has a strong hand much sooner from late position than you can when you have to act first all hand.

Now don’t go overboard with this and start playing all kinds of junk hands.  Even in late position you should have some standards.  But just be aggressive with the hands you do play and don’t let your opponents off the hook easily when playing against you.  Keep them off-balance.

The best poker players in the world are always a terror when in late position.  They are also rarely seen playing marginal hands from early position.  This is a fundamental concept but even the most experienced poker players swear by it.  That alone should tell you something about the power of position.

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