Poker begins before you have your cards in your hand. The seat you choose influences, especially at the beginning of the game, the victory on the green table. And the sooner you understand the importance of where you sit at the table, the sooner you will start to see the results.
Don’t you believe it? Keep reading this post and discover one of the best kept secrets of successful poker players.
Poker positions: how they work
When determining the positions at the poker table, we have to locate the dealer or the croupier. To the left of the dealer, the rest of the positions begin to be placed, occupying the first two seats, the blinds.
After the blinds place their bets, the game proceeds clockwise. The players, taking into account the position they occupy at the table, follow one or another strategy.
In this sense, the initial positions develop a more cautious game than the rest, since they have less information about their rivals. As we move towards the middle and, above all, final positions, we observe how the game becomes more aggressive.
The blinds or early positions
Let’s start with the positions that we have to know and that are a must in any poker game: the blinds.
These players start from a “disadvantageous” position, since, in addition to having to bet, they are the first positions to talk. That is why they are known as early positions since, after these, the rest of the players have to talk.
The small blind is, together with the big blind, the mandatory betting position. The player who occupies this position will be the first to speak after the flop, that is, the three face-up cards that are placed on the table.
The big blind corresponds to the second player to speak after the flop is revealed and the last to act pre-flop, i.e. the moment in the hand preceding the three cards being revealed on the table.
This gives the player who occupies the position of the big blind a great advantage, since, when it is his turn to speak, he will have the maximum information to act in the best way.
Among the positions in poker, being the UTG is one of the least favored. Let’s place ourselves: To the left of the dealer, we find the small blind. Next to it, the big blind. The UTG corresponds to the position immediately after the Big Blind.
UTG means Under the Gun, that is “under the gun”, a very graphic way of expressing the tension experienced by this player who has to start the game without having more information than his own cards. We are facing a position full of unknowns in which it is recommended to act if you have a very powerful hand or attending to the remaining blinds.
To the left of the UTG, we find UTG+1. In the case of being at a table of 9 players, next to UTG+1, UTG+2 would be placed.
What is recommended in these early positions? Act with caution. We must remember that all the players at the table have yet to speak, so they are considered draw poker positions and not game positions.
Middle position or middle position
Depending on the number of players, we can find UTG+1, UTG+2 and so on.
The middle positions would correspond to the range of players between the first-hand positions and the player immediately to the right of the button, which we will talk about later in this post.
Unlike the early positions, these players have information about the intentions of their opponents, so they can adjust their bets more accurately.
Thus, we find ourselves in a more favorable position with respect to the UGTs, although less privileged than the late poker positions. It is, therefore, that we cannot relax in this location, as there are still players to talk and who will enjoy even more information.
We come to the most coveted locations that we should look for regarding the question of poker table positions. Among them, we find: cutoff and button.
At this point, it goes without saying that we must know perfectly the different combinations of cards, their power, as well as the names of poker hands. This is essential knowledge to know what your chances of winning are.
The great advantage of these positions is that, if the other players have folded, they can have a relatively weak hand and “steal the blinds”.
This is an excellent position, in fact, it is considered the second-best place from which we can play. Also known as the “cutoff position”, this is the link between the starting positions and the steal positions.
Remember that if the last player, the button, folds, the Cutoff will be the last player to speak and, therefore, the one who has more information about all the positions at the table.
We come to the best position at the poker table: the button. This is the last player to speak and, moreover, without the need to bet. This player has been able to analyze the rest of his opponents and decide what to do with a high percentage of success.
The button, in case there is no dealer, corresponds to this player.
In short, the positions that the players occupy at a poker table determine, to a large extent, the development of the game. As you approach the final positions, you will have more information about the hands and strategies of your opponents.
In this sense, you will see that, if many players have bet, you will know that you will need a strong hand to win. In case most of them have folded, a strong pair will be enough to win you the chips.