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The Importance of Table Position in Poker

Table position in poker is about as important as it comes and this is key in minimizing the risk that you take in a hand. In a game, the dealer button is used to indicate who is on the small blind, and the big blind. An important point to make is that everyone is treated equally in any game. The dealer button moves round the table clockwise and everyone gets a turn to post each of the blinds.

With this in mind lets assume that you are in a 10 handed game. You are just left of the big blind, and are first to act. You hold APoker Rankings -10Poker Rankings which is a pretty solid hand. You choose to raise it up. Now the problem here is that you are out of position. What i mean is that you have 9 players behind you to play, or 9 opportunities to have your A-10 beat. Lets look at the guy that is sitting on the right of the dealer button who is last to act. This is the best spot to be in for a number of reasons. Firstly, he has an advantage in that he gets to see what the whole table does before he acts. Let's also assume that he holds APoker Rankings -10Poker Rankings and being last to act he sees that there is a raise and a re-raise before the action gets to him. Do you think he still likes his A-10? No he will think he is beat for sure and will through the hand away. If the action had passed round to him with no raises, he would think his A-10 is probably the best hand and could try to steal the blinds. This is the power of being in late position, you have far more power and a lot more information to determine how to play the hand.

So to recap, as players fold round the table, the probability of a hand being the best hand goes up. Players who act first are in 'early position' and players who act last are in 'late position'.

As already stated, playing in early is a disadvantage. You really don't want to commit too many chips with marginal hands. You will often see hands like A-J and A-10, whilst strong hands in late position (assuming no major plays), are not very strong in early position. You may want to just check or put in a very small raise but if you are re-raised by someone in late position you should be wary of a player having a bigger ace. When playing small to mid sized pairs from early position, it is sensible to check and hope that you can get to see a cheap flop on the cheap. If you put in a raise with your pair and are re-raised, what do you do? The key with pairs is to get in check for a very good reason. The probability of you hitting your set is such that you will do so every 7.5 times you play a pair so you are not odds on to do so. It is therefore important to get in cheap and when you hit, you have the potential to win big.

You can afford to be a little more aggressive and have a wider range of playable hands from late position. When the action folds round to you, you also have more of an opportunity to steal blinds which can help maintain your stack. You don't want to be bluffing with more than one or two people in the pot, the reason why stealing in late position is far easier and less risky.

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Poker is one of the top favorite sports and games on TV. According to TV ratings, it comes third after football and car racing in that order.

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