How Not to Suck at Poker: Play in Position

dealer button
The button is your friend.

Part 2 in our 10-part beginner series on how not to suck at poker, this article will drive home the importance of playing in position.

Position is simply the single most important and valuable commodity to have at the poker table.

If you're unfamiliar with the term, position simply means you are the last to act in the hand (meaning you have the dealer button, or the players acting after you have folded).

The worst places, position-wise, are typically the blinds, as after the first round of betting the whole table acts after you for the rest of the hand.

Regardless of your skill level, the situation, or the hand you're playing, being in position will always give you more information in the hand than any of your opponents.

And in the world of Texas Hold'em, information is the most valuable commodity there is.

Four Biggest Reasons to Play in 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.

To give you an idea of exactly how important position is:

Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Patrik Antonius are in the middle of a $1.5 million, 50,000-hand heads-up challenge online, with the winner getting the money from the game plus added money in a side bet.

Barry Greenstein
Your hands always look better in position.

These two players are arguably two of the best online poker players in the world. And if you look at the stats taken from all the hands they've played so far, you'll see an almost shocking theme.

If you compare money won or lost out of position to money won or lost in position, each player's results are a mirror image. Both are substantially down when out of position, and both are showing a substantial profit when in position.

Even though they're playing the same game, against the same player, simply having position is the difference between winning and losing millions.

For this reason, if one player was to give the other player position in every hand they play, there would be no contest; the player with position would dominate.

No matter what style of poker you plan on playing, if you want to make money you need to play as many of your big pots in position as possible.

Every large pot you play out of position is a potential disaster.

As Daniel Skolovy says "Playing out of position is like walking through a dark cave with no flashlight. You never know what might lurk behind that next corner."

Stay tuned for Part 3: Count Your Outs.

More on how not to suck at poker:

  1. How Not to Suck at Poker: Play Fewer Hands
  2. How Not to Suck at Poker: Play in Position
  3. How Not to Suck at Poker: Count Your Outs
  4. How Not to Suck at Poker: Learn Basic Odds
  5. How Not to Suck at Poker: Pay Attention
  6. How Not to Suck at Poker: Have a Bankroll
  7. How Not to Suck at Poker: Stop Bluffing
  8. How Not to Suck at Poker: Keep Your Mouth Shut
  9. How Not to Suck at Poker: Keep Records
  10. How Not to Suck at Poker: Discuss the Game

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