Poker Table Positions - How to Use the Table Position
It is important to use the poker table position to your advantage. You need to understand what type of play is the most beneficial in what table position.
The positions in poker are labelled according to their proximity to the dealer. In online poker the dealer is represented by a button and the early positions are the three places to the left of this button. Early position is not a popular seat and it is easy to understand why. If you are the first player to the left of the button you will have to act first. This means that you have no information about the other players and whatever you do will signal to them a lot about you and your hand.
Because of the tricky nature of early position you will have to play very tight when being there. Go ahead only with strong hands unless you know the crowd around the table well enough to feel comfortable with being more aggressive in this sensitive spot.
Being in middle position is already much more comfortable than the first three seats to the left of the button that are labelled as early position. In middle position you have the chance to learn about the three players before you and this could help you to play more hands than what they could. It is possible that the early positions will all fold, in which case you are the first one to act. This could make it a bit more difficult to play from middle position and you should carefully consider which hands you want to play with.
Most poker strategy will tell you to stick to the tight play also in the middle position. Tight play might be the safest way to use this player position to your advantage but it could also get a bit boring. A beginner player should try to stick to the careful and safe decisions but with time you will learn to assess better when you can be a bit more forceful also from middle position.
Next to having the button position, the late position is the most desirable since it gives the players the greatest advantage. In late position you enjoy seeing the moves of all the players and if you are right next to the button you are in the seat where you have the position over the three early positions, the three middle positions and the other two late positioned players. You will do the best in late position if you know how to read poker tells and understand how to use pot odds.
In a game where you have position over an opponent you need to use his actions to determine what you will do. If he checks it could mean that he is weak and then you should go in and bet to take home the pot. It is good to understand these basic truths about the importance of player position but in the end of the day practise wins over theory. Just make sure to keep an eye on where you are sitting before you decide what to do and also keep it in mind when you evaluate just what you did!