Positioning Your Place of Power at the Poker Table

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Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

Understanding where you are sitting at the poker table is very important in the overall strategy. You can make people disappear, even if they have a better hand… or you can sucker them into adding their chips to the pot when you have the nuts. He or she who holds the power seat can manipulate the pot and become the master player of the table. Since the position is constantly rotating, it is imperative that you keep a good strategy as your table position changes. Being out of position can still produce a good hand, except that you must force the person who is in a better position to act early.

How to Maximize any Position at a Poker Match

Each person of the ten seats at a poker table plays a role in the overall flow of the game. The first people to act are in first position; and so on. The last around the table are deemed later positions. Because they have the last best, the ladder positioned players have a higher expected value by controlling and limiting the pot size or upping the ante from competitors. However, each player will receive the exact same cards over the course of a poker match – so the real difference between winning and losing is how you play your hand.

Being in the blind positions is different. Often, the two blinds are left to play each other when everyone else has folded. Raising the hand, instead of calling, will be an aggressive poker strategy to steal the blind. Beware of doing this too often, or the facing player may catch on. Weak calls from better players could be poker tells that the opponent may already hold the nuts, rather than being in the draw.

Determining the poker odds is another strategy. In the long run, it is beneficial to raise from the button, even with a subpar hand. Nearly half of those times, you’ll either win the blinds or have a chance to play well on the flop, turn and river. In layman’s terms: You should raise three out of four times on the button unless the majority of the poker players are callers. However, if you have premium cards, you can limp in with the hopes of getting as many players as possible to bite.

Tips for Betting on the Button:

  • Premium Cards = Raise!
  • Borderline Hands = Read the behavior of the blinds for weakness or strength.
  • Beware of Stealing the Blinds = Be incognito and make sure you have good cards.
  • Failing to Steal the Blinds = Observe table image and synergy. Make decisions accordingly.

Factoring table position in your winning equation is a key element of becoming a champion poker player. As with any tools of knowledge, each player must assess the situation at the time and react accordingly. With good instincts and an ability to know when to stay and when to fold can mean the difference between going home richer or losing all the chips.

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