Your position around the table is an important factor when playing Hold ’em. The closer to the left of the dealer you are, the worse the position, whereas the closer to the right of the dealer, the better.
This is because the action on the betting rounds goes from the player to the dealers left, clockwise and ends with the dealer (unless it’s the first round of betting in which case the betting ends with the Big Blind). The dealer is in the best position of all and is said to be Playing on the Button due to the fact that this is where the Dealer button is located for that hand.
Your position in any particular hand is referred to as either early, mid- or late position. At a full table of ten players, for example, the first four players to the dealers left would be playing in early position, players five to seven in mid-position, whilst the remaining three players would be considered to be playing in late position.
Seeing as the dealer is moved one place to the left for each hand, each player will take their turn in playing in each of these positions repeatedly during the course of an entire poker game.
THE BEST PLACE TO BE
The best place to be is to play on the Button, with the exception of the big blind being the last to act in the first betting round. When playing in this position, you are last to act when deciding how to proceed with your hand. All the other players have made their decisions and have either, checked, bet, raised or folded. If you suspect that other players have a weaker hand than you do, but are not quite sure, you can raise the bet and see what their reactions are. If their hand is not so strong and they were trying to bluff, they will possibly decide to fold and not call your raise.
When playing in the late position you have seen most other players act before you and are able to make a more educated decision or even play a risky hand. The less players to act after you the better, however the last player to act will be the dealer.
When playing in early position you will be one of the first to act. It is wise to play only strong hands in this position as others will be looking to see how you decide to act. Fold poor hands quickly and don’t take any unnecessary risks.
Not an overly strong position to be in during the game, but not the weakest either. When playing in mid-position you have seen others act before you, but others after you are still to act.
Playing good quality hands in this position is always the best idea, but it could be worth taking more of a risk on slightly weaker hands than you would when playing in early position, especially if a lot of the players before you have mucked their hands.