♠ ♥ POKER PLAYER SEAT POSITIONS & STRATEGY ♦ ♣
Poker Table Seat Positions:
As many of us already know, betting is a big part of Texas Holdem Poker. Additionally, when and how much you bet should not be based on exclusively your two hole cards. Your seat position at the table relative to the dealer button is also very important. So it makes a lot of sense that many players not only play their hand but they also play their position. For example, early position is usually considered a weak position because he has to act each round before seeing how most other players will respond to the community cards. This typically makes it very difficult for this position to read other players and therefore makes it very difficult to know whether or not to initiate a bet.
For a better understanding
of why early versus late position matters, note that the
action amongst player positions rotates from one player to the next
in a clockwise direction around the table. Generally speaking, the later
the position, the more free information you will receive from other players
in earlier positions. Later positions will get a hint at the strength of
previous position player hands based on whether they have folded, called,
The Dealer Button position is considered the best position since he is the last player able to bet after the flop, turn, and river. Because of this luxury, the Dealer Button has the opportunity to "steal the blinds" by initiating a fairly large raise if no one has previously raised the minimum bet. So if the Button player feels that all other players are weak and they check to the button after the flop, turn, or river, he would have the chance to make a strategic raise in an attempt to "steal the pot."
The first position immediately to the left of the Dealer Button is called the Small Blind. Traditionally the Small Blind player is required to put half the minimum bet into the pot before the two pocket cards are dealt to each player. This is the earliest of positions since it is the first to act after the flop, turn, and river. As a result, this position is often referred to as the worst table position in poker.
One seat next to the Small Blind and two positions to the left of the Dealer Button is the Big Blind. The player in the Big Blind is required to put the full minimum bet into the pot before the two pocket cards are dealt to each player. The Big Blind is considered to be an early position as well. However, there is a small advantage for this position. Just as the Dealer Button has the ability to "steal the blinds" after the flop, turn, and river, the Big Blind may place a strategic bet at the end of the pre-flop round to "protect his blind" since he is the last to act.
Under the Gun:
The very first player to act at the beginning of the pre-flop round of betting is Under the Gun. This position is three seats to the left of the Dealer Button. Under the Gun is very much at a disadvantage. He has an early position and must take the first action before receiving any clues from the remaining players at the table in the very first round of betting. Unless he has premium cards, it is usually recommended that he does not make a large initial bet pre-flop because of the poor player position.
One of the later positions is the Hijack. Some players in this position will use this seat to prevent the Dealer Button from "stealing the blinds" by making their own strategic bet. Since only two positions are left to act after the Hijack following the flop, turn, and river, this could be a viable option in games that have fuller tables. The Hijack is two positions to the right of the Dealer Button.
Being the last position before the Dealer Button, the Cutoff is the last line of defense to prevent the Dealer Button from "stealing the pot" after the flop, turn, or river. With this type of thinking, the Cutoff may often make large raises before the Dealer Button gets his opportunity to do the same when there are signs that the remaining players at the table have weak hands.