The Importance of Position

Poker is a game of position. It is one of the most important aspects of the game in my opinion and is often overlooked by new and even seasoned players. Why does it matter so much?

Position is so important because poker is a game of incomplete information. You don’t know what your opponent has and he doesn’t know what you have. But throughout the course of a hand people give away big clues as to what they are holding. Having some information about your opponent’s hand strength before you reveal anything about yours is an enormous advantage.

Being out of position (OOP) in a hand means that you essentially have to play it blind. The person playing the hand in position (IP) has the benefit of seeing what you do and then deciding what they would like to do. This allows them to play the size of pot that they want.

As I will discuss later, the issue of extraction (getting the maximum out of your big hands) is one of the most important keys to your success at the micros. And one of the biggest differences between being OOP and being IP in a hand is the ability to extract.

When you are IP you can always get that last bet in or you can choose to raise. You have all the options, all the advantages in the hand and that just equates to more money, period. As the old saying goes “money flows towards the button” in poker.

But since cold hard facts are the surest way to prove a point lets use that same 700k hand sample from NL2 and have a look at my winrates by position. You can find this information on the upper left hand corner of the “reports” tab in HEM. Choose position from the drop down menu.

As you can see, there are some enormous differences here. In fact, I have “lossrates” for both blinds. And that is actually completely normal! Nobody wins from the blinds. But more on that later. Suffice it to say for now, position is of vital importance when playing poker.

You will probably hear me say it again many times throughout this book that the two “secrets” to poker success are initiative and position. This is why I mentioned these points here before anything else. You need to constantly remind yourself of this when at the tables.

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