Is Position That Important?

A few years ago, most books on Hold'em poker stressed position. Very few of the

newer books do. It's a shame, because in modern games position is still a VERY

important concept. It is the single most valuable thing that you have playing a

hand. More than your cards.


There seems to be an assumption that most players are well aware of position. Even if that is true, It's a good idea to remind yourself, from time, to avoid falling into bad habits. First, let's start with the definition of position.


Position refers to the order in which players are seated around the table. Players

who act first are in "early position"; players who act later are in "late position";

players who act in between are in "middle position". A player "has position" on opponents acting before him and is "out of position" to opponents acting after

him. Because players act in clockwise order, a player "has position" on opponents seated to his right. The Button has position on everyone else at the table.


The primary advantage held by a player in late position is that he will have more

information with which to make better decisions than players in early position,

who will have to act first, without the benefit of this extra information. As earlier

opponents fold, the probability of a hand being the best goes up as the number of

opponents goes down.


The blinds are the least desirable position because a player is forced to contribute

to the pot and they must act first on all betting rounds after the flop.


Four advantages of Position:

1. When it's your turn to act, you have more information than your opponents.

2. Position gives you "bluff equity," meaning simple, cheap and effective

bluffing opportunities.

3. Acting last lets you make more accurate value bets.

4. Having last action gives you control over the final pot size.


Your opening ranges are based on position.


Then it all changes! The first round of betting changes everything. You are the UTG and raise, all fold to the Big Blind who re-raises. Now you have position. Are your preflop ranges still good? They are not. It is suddenly new categories, First, Middle, Last, First Heads Up, and Last Heads Up.


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