Poker Position

Lots of inexperienced poker players do not pay enough attention to the position at the table. They often play the same hand ranges regardless of their position. Playing positional poker is crucial if you want to beat the game and move up in stakes.

Poker position

Position relates to the order of action in poker. Early positions are first to act on most of betting rounds and late positions are last to act.

It is extremely important to be aware of your position in poker and to adjust accordingly. When you are first to act, you information about your opponents is limited. Conversely, when you are last to act, you know the actions made by players in early positions and you can use this information to make better decisions.

There is much more guessing involved in playing out of position. This is why you should play much less hands when you are out of position and more when you are in position. Winning players play only a selection of good starting hands from early position because these hands usually play by themselves and do not require much guessing.

Position changes every hand. The easiest way to determine your current position is to check how far the blinds are from your seat clockwise. Early positions are ones located the furthest from the blinds and late positions are directly to the right of the blinds.

Early position

Early positions are 3 seats directly to the left of the blinds for full ring and 1 seat for short-handed (6max) tables. They are always first to act preflop and very often also postflop (when the blinds fold). If you want to be a winning player, you should play a very narrow range of starting hands from early position. I cannot give you an exact list of starting hands to play as it depends on the poker variant and number of players. See full ring shortstack strategy article for suggested starting hands to play.

Middle position

Middle positions are 3 seats directly to the left of early positions for full ring and 1 seat for short-handed tables. They have positional advantage over players in early positions and the blinds but they still act before late positions. You can play a little more starting hands profitably here but not many. Tight is still right when you are in a middle position.

Late position

Late positions are 2 seats directly to the right of the blinds. The best seat (closest to the blinds) is called the button and the other one – cut off. They are always last to act postflop so they have advantage over every other seats. Because of this, they are perfect spots to raise with a very wide range of hands preflop just to steal the blinds, especially when the players on the blinds are tight passive. See poker playing styles article for more information about player types.

The blinds

The blinds are seats that are required to post forced bets preflop. The big blind posts the full amount and the small blind half the amount. Even though they are last to act preflop, they are the worst positions in poker, because they act first on the remaining 3 betting rounds.

While the goal of every other position is to win money, when you are in the blinds your goal is to limit losses, because it is impossible to make profit in the long run from these positions. You have to play considerably tighter than from late positions but looser than in early positions as you will often face steal attempts from the button or cut off.

Conclusion on poker position

Position is the first thing you should consider when it is your turn to act if you want to be a winning player. Play tight from early positions and the blinds and loose from late positions and you will gain enormous advantage at the tables.

More articles on general poker:

 Quick start
 Poker bankroll management
 Poker playing styles
 Poker software
 Optimal poker session length
 Poker history
 Poker glossary
 Poker tips

Go back to the Online Poker Strategy.