Position is hands down the most important facet of a strong poker strategy. It is also the most consistent source of leakage found in your average player. While most players generally understand what position means, they still typically play way too many hands out of position and not nearly enough while in it. Situational factors can modify your range on a given hand, but generally, you should be relying less on the quality of your starting hands and more on where you are seated at the table when deciding whether or not to enter a pot.
The strategies in this book will have you playing the vast majority of your hands in position. If you are a beginner, you don’t need to completely understand why position is so powerful. Just follow the opening ranges I have provided, and you will be playing a positionally sound game.
Basics Of Position
To be in position means to act last. This is determined by your seat at the table. Starting with the small blind and working your way clockwise around the table, your position at the table progressively improves. This is because there is one less person that can act after you as you move toward the button, and the likelihood of you being in position after the flop increases.
If you are the last player to act once the flop comes down, you are in position (IP), and if you are not last to act after the flop, you are out of position (OOP). The small blind never acts last. The big blind only acts last after the small blind. Under the gun only acts last after the blinds. You get the idea. The button always acts last on every single post-flop poker hand played and, as a result, is the absolute best position from which to play.
As you move closer to the button and are more likely to be in position after the flop, you will be opening progressively more hands. The only exception is that you will steal a ton of hands from the small blind. Many other factors far outweigh being out of position in this situation, which makes open raising here very profitable, assuming you have a sound post-flop game. I will go deeper into small blind play in Chapter 8.
This heat map highlights your frequency of open raising hands pre-flop using my strategy.