Poker Player Positions
Position is important for players to understand the actions taken by other players and accordingly make the move. It is a way of calculating who all may have a strong hand and who all may not. For eg. If players before you simply call, then it mostly implies that they have average cards or just want to see the other community cards first. The reasons could vary player to player but it is for you to analyse & then act.
An “out of position” player (who acts first in a hand) plays the same hand differently from when he plays “in position”.
Obviously more the players before you, the more you benefit in getting a better picture. This is exactly why later positions are favoured in poker instead of the early positions. But the dealer button keeps on shifting so everyone has to go through all the positions.
Let’s just see what the different positions are called and how to usually play in each.
Positions at a 6-max poker table: Small Blind, Big Blind, Under The Gun, Middle Position, Cut-off, Dealer.
Positions at a 9-max poker table: Small Blind, Big Blind, Under The Gun, UTG+1, UTG+2, Middle Position, Hijack, Cut-off, Dealer.
The game starts with dealing hole cards to everyone on the table, starting from the player on the left of the dealer button player. The dealer button player is the last to act in all rounds post-flop. The dealer button moves clockwise after every hand and the player who puts the small blind in a hand becomes the dealer in the next hand.
Early position (EP) - Players at the Early Position are the initial ones to act in the betting round. The player on the immediate left of the dealer button posts small blind and the next player posts big blind. Before the flop round, the players sitting left of the big blind (Under The Gun) starts the action and players at UTG+1 and UTG+2 act second and third respectively. As the players in the early position act before everyone, other players can figure out their strength by their moves. EP is considered an unfavourable position to play in majority of the situations as there is no idea of how the opponents are going to act after. So play in this position mostly when you have strong cards.
Middle position (MP) - MP players are those who act after the early position players. Players at this position can see the actions of EP players and take a calculated decision based on their observation. It is still not the best position as the late position players can ruin the strategies of MP players by making an unexpected move. If EP players fold their cards, MP players become Early Position players. If Late Position players quit the game before making a bet, MP players become the LP players.
Late position (LP) - LP (Hijack, cutoff, and button) is considered as the most favorable position on the game table. LP players can observe the actions (bet sizes, playing style) of EP and MP players and get valuable information about their hand strength. Because of this positional advantage, they can play a wide range of hands.
Now that you are aware about the basics here’s a quick summary on how to play poker.