Understanding Table Position in Poker

Understanding Table Position in Poker

A lot of players seem to believe that table position in poker is all about sitting in the first few seats that have hard positions and sitting in those middle positions that have the best seats but not the best hands. This is not true at all. What is true is that knowing your opponent’s table position can help you determine when you want to play your hand as well as whether or not it is profitable to play your hand.

The first thing to remember that in poker holding many hands we want to see the flop whichdrops our first couple of cards allowing us to have a better idea about our next move. However, our cards do not mean our hand unless we put a stake in the pot and calling approximately 13% of our stack. This is our pot odds and once we understand pot odds and how they relate to our hand odds and our hand selections then its easy to figure out when to play and when not to play.

In poker there are many different odds. When should I call/not call? First of all, the odds that you will win call or fold are roughly the same and if you are in a pot against more than one player you need to know the pot odds the other player is chasing. Pot odds need to be calculated in relationship to hand odds. Obviously if you are holding AA and you need a 10 to win its the same as if you hold AA and need a Jack and a 9 to win. The odds of making your hand are independent of the odds of what your opponent has.

So what do I mean by this? Well, I would say that it is important to think of hand odds in the following manner. In the above example of the AA vs 10 hand, you would want to call/see the flop if your odds of winning the hand are roughly the same as or less than 10 %. The odds of winning on a call versus an all-in are roughly the same and this relationship will also help us with holding weak against strong opponents.

Oftentimes players will call and go on to win while holding a weak hand against strong opponents but then they will make a fatal mistake and not understand pot odds or implied odds, thus causing them to lose a lot of money. It’s those kinds of mistakes that make money. It doesn’t make sense to bet into a pot based solely on the fact that you have already made money once in this sit and go tournament.

What I mean is holding a strong hand versus a weaker hand, say AK vs QQ where you are the big blind. The blinds are 100-200 and you are the small blind. The flop comes Q-7-2 rainbow. You decide to be more aggressive and raise, obviously with a stronger hand, and you get a call from the big blind.

The turn is a 6 and the big blind bets another 20. You decide to call with the feeling that you are playing the right hand but you want to save your hand for a more profitable situation. The river card is a 9 and he bets 100 and you believe you are probably beaten so you fold. He then moves all-in. You are sure you have the strongest hand in the hand so call but you want your opponent to hit one card higher than the 9. Your opponent calls and you show QQ with the stronger hand and lose to a set of tens.

You might win the hand but from where you are sitting there are a lot of hands that could beat you, even if you hit your set. The best hand was Q-7 and your biggest mistake was folding the hand versus a stronger hand.

This is a common mistake with novice players and they make this mistake over and over and over again. It’s annoying because it takes so much time to learn how to play poker online and so many players will spend almost all of that time playing against you. Be nice to the fish at your table and take advantage of them, while keeping an eye on your own games/abilities and adjustments that you may make as the session progresses.

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