Poker is an extremely popular gambling game, at casinos online and off, as well as in private homes and other settings. Probably the most commonly played variant is Texas Hold'Em. At land-based casinos, this card game is played seated at a special oval shaped table.
The dealer sits with the other players – up to 10 altogether – and each position at the table is named according to its closeness to or distance from the dealer.
Every position has been analyzed carefully (poker players are experts at analysis of the game) and evaluated for its advantages and disadvantages to the player who happens to, or chooses to, sit in that particular spot.
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The two, or sometimes three, positions to the immediate left of the dealer are known as early position. When the betting starts the player(s) in early position will be the first to act, which can be a major disadvantage. The other players at the table will see what you have done before they themselves are called on to act and therefore can try to disturb or exploit your play.
When going first, you will also not have had the chance to pick up much information about your opponents’ hands. Therefore, you need to focus on your cards and not on the other players.
Moving around the poker table clock wise, the next players after the early position are considered to be sitting in what is called the middle position. This is a tricky position, since you are stuck in between early and late position.
After seeing what the EP players have done, you may wish to react – by, for example, calling someone’s bet – but you leave yourself vulnerable to players in LP, who may foil your plans by taking some unexpected action of their own. If everyone seated in EP decides to fold, you will be forced into acting first by default. When the poker table is not full, it can be tricky to decide where the MP is located exactly.
Players in late position, the position to the left of MP, are generally thought to have an excellent spot at the poker table. They have already seen the actions the other players have taken and are in a position to act or react, depending on their hand.
If nobody has bet at the pot, a LP player can simply bluff his way to winning the pot – which of course would be a very dangerous strategy for anyone in early or middle position. As a player in late position, you also have more flexibility in choosing your starting hand.
The dealer position is often referred to as the “button.” This is the very best seat in the house for poker players. You will always have the advantage of seeing other players’ moves and being the last to act, in each round with the sole exception of before the flop. An experienced poker player will try to sit in this position as often as reasonably possible. He will be in the advantageous situation of “having position” over all the other players.
Position play is often disregarded by inexperienced players; and if you are playing for very low stakes in a limit game, the effect of position will be far less pronounced than if you are playing for higher stakes. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to give position play some of your attention. It will result in more wins for you.
Posted by CCJ Team