Poker position
Jun 2019

Should I Change How I Play Poker Depending On My Position?

by Christine in Features, Gambling Tips category

When you’ve been playing poker for a while, you start to realise a few things. One of those things is that your poker position at the table can have a big impact on how a hand plays out.

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And now let’s get back to the task in hand: poker positions in Texas Hold’em.

What is my poker position?

Your poker position is the place where you are on the table. This changes with every round, which is nice. And no, you don’t have to physically get up and move from where you’re sitting.

The handy little dealer button determines your position and it moves clockwise from player to player after each hand.

What is the strongest poker position?

The person with the dealer button is the last person to act and that makes it the strongest poker position. That’s because they can see how all the other players have acted before they need to make their own decision.

It also puts you in a perfect position to bluff.

So in general, the later your turn is on the felt, the stronger your poker position.

What are is the weakest poker position?

It should come as no great surprise that the weakest poker positions are the ones that have to act first. They don’t get the gauge the temperature of the table before they make their decision. These are the small and big blind players.

Early, middle and late poker positions

If you take a table of 10 poker players, here’s how to determine your poker position:

  • Early poker positions: big blind, small blind and the first two players to play after the blinds
  • Middle poker positions: the people who are fifth, sixth, seventh and eight to act
  • Late poker positions: the last two players to act

When does my poker position affect how I play?

The short answer is always. The long answer is all to do with how your opponents react.

For example, if you’re dealt a solid hand like a K-Q and the flop shows something like 8-6-2, you might be tempted to stay in the game if you’re in an early position. However, if people start going crazy and betting loads or even re-raising, you know that it’s likely they have a great hand that would beat yours. So if you were in a later position, you can take that on board and fold, thus saving you a losing hand.

So, generally speaking, you should be more conservative in an early position and exploit your edge in a late position. That’s why if you’re in a late poker position, it’s the perfect place to bluff.

What starting hands should I hold on to if I’m in an early poker position?

If you’re one of the first two blinds or the first two players to act after the blinds, these are the hands that you should be holding on to:

  • Pairs: AA through to 99
  • Suited or unsuited: AK
  • Suited: AJ, A10, KQ, KJ, QJ, J10

How about if I’m in a middle position?

If you’re one of the middle players to act, these are the hands that you should be holding on to:

  • Pairs: AA through to 55
  • Suited or unsuited: AK, AJ, A10, KQ, KJ, K10, QJ, Q10, J10
  • Suited: Any A, K9, Q9, J9, J8, 109, 108, 98, 97, 87, 86, 76, 75, 65, 54

And finally, what if I’m in a late poker position?

If you’re one of the last players to act, that’s great! These are the hands that you should be holding on to:

  • Any pair
  • Suited or unsuited: AK, AJ, A10, KQ, KJ, K10, QJ, Q10, J10, J9, 109, 98,
  • Suited: Any A or K, Q9, Q8, J8, J7, 107, 97, 87, 86, 76, 75, 74, 64, 53,
  • Only play if nobody raises: A9, K9, Q9, J8, 87, 76, 65, 54, 108
    • Suited: J7, 96, 74, 42, 32