Be a Poker Cash Game Pro II. - Position
Be a Poker Cash Game Pro II. - Position
In short, a player, who is in position, acts last in the hand. It is one of the most important aspects of any poker strategy. If you are to take anything from this series, it is that position is extremely important and we should always take it into consideration and at all time think about the benefits of being in position and disadvantages of being out of position. The most advanced player you are, the more you will realize that being in position is often more important than the cards you are holding.
It doesn't mean that you now should disregard position and just play your cards. Just by being in position will make every hand so much simpler and so much more profitable. We don't always have a choice, but when we do, we should always prefer playing in position, or end the hand early.
How We Beat Our Opponents
Poker is not a game of luck, even though in the short run, it will affect your profitability. In the long run, all of the players will encounter the same situations and those who make the best decisions will come out on top.
The more information we have about our opponents, the more educated and better our decisions are and the more profitable we are. This is where the position comes to play.
When we are in position, we act after our opponent has made a decision. We then know if he checked or made a bet and we can adjust accordingly. When the opponent is makind a decision, they don't know anything about what we are about do to as we didn't give him any information beforehand. This means that the player in position is always one step ahead and can make better decisions in the long run.
It is quite impossible to cover every aspect of being in or out of position, but it is safe to say that players in position simply play better just by having that one advantage and playing better leads to better results. Sometimes just mucking your hand just to avoid playing out of position is better than to attempt to beat your opponents with a huge disadvantage.
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Position Controls The Money Going To The Pot
Say we have a mediocre hand and we would love to showdown our hand cheaply. Being in position helps us do exactly that and control much more efficiently how much money goes into the pot.
If the opponent checks to us on the flop, we can then very easily decide whether to see the turn for free and check behind, or to bet and maybe get some money in the pot. The choice is then ours and there is very little our opponent can do about it.
Now if we have the same hand and are out of position. We want to see a cheap showdown, so we check. The decision whether the money goes or doesn't go into the pot is not ours. If the opponent bets, he may do it for the reason that he saw us check and wants to push us out of the hand. Or maybe he just has the best hand. We have no idea and it is extremely difficult for us to do anything now. We know that our hand is not awesome and that the opponent might just be bluffing, but are we really willing to pay 3 streets to find out? Right now, it might just be best to fold if we expect our opponent to be aggressive on the future streets.
Being in position with the same hand can lead to whole different results and a much harder-to-solve situation when out of position.
Another Example of Position in Poker
Say we are in position with a super strong hand and the opponent checks to us. We will not make a bet and can do so on every single street getting a lot of money in. Our play is very simple and straightforward.
However, this completely changes when out of position. We can bet into our opponent, but this might scare him off and make him fold something weak. So we will usually check (if we are not a pre-flop aggressor) and wait for the opponent to bet. Now, they can make a bet and we are fine and can then call or even make a raise.
The bad thing is when they just check. We now lose a street of value from out very strong hand. The next bad thing is that we are still playing a guessing game on the next street. Do we bet when we know that the opponent is not very strong, or check again to maybe make him bluff, but risking that he may check again resulting in us losing possible two streets of value. Of course, he might have just folded against our bet, but still, being in position would have made the whole situation a lot simpler.
Position at the Poker Table
Another form of position is that of at the table and when we are sitting at the start of the game. We will usually discuss the 6-max game:
- Early Position (EP) - The first player to act in a hand pre-flop us also called Under The Gun (UTG) and in the case of 6-max it's also infrequently called Lo-Jack (LJ). It is the most disadvantageous position pre-flop as we have no idea how many players are willing to invest in a game and all we can go from are our cards.
- Middle Position (MP) - Also called Hi-Jack (HJ).
- Cut-Off (CO) - The position on the immediate right of the Button.
- Button (BTN) - The position on the immediate right of the Small Blind. The Button is the most profitable position at the table as it is always in position after the flop.
- Small Blind (SB) - The position on the immediate right of the Big Blind. Small Blind is always out of position after the flop.
- Big Blind (BB) - Big Blind is only in position post-flop when playing against the Small Blind.
Both Blinds are very bad in regards to position post-flop, but as the obligatory bets pre-flop are already paid for, it is cheaper for them to join in the game.
Position is an extremely important aspect and every hand really revolves around who plays in position and how advantageous is it for them. The cards are also very important, but having a very strong hand might not make a lot of money, because the player in position is so much more in control of ho much money goes in the pot and has better information on their opponent's hand.
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