What is Position Play?


POSITION: Position is one of the most basic rudimentary concepts in all of poker; and it is a very important concept to understand as a beginning poker player. Poker is played around a table usually with 9-10 other players (Stud games are played 8-handed). The dealer button is ground zero for the deal for the hand in question. That is the perspective from which the hand is dealt. If you are to the immediate left of the button, you are the small blind and the ’first to act’ in subsequent betting rounds to the pre-flop betting. In the first round, since you have posted a blind, you act second to last and can opt to call or raise, for the fact that you have but one-half of the big blind committed to the pot. The big blind is to your immediate left. The big blind acts last in the pre-flop betting action, but the big blind (hereinafter SB and BB respectively) has an option to raise in the pre-flop action, if no one other player has raised his big blind.

Think of the button again as the focal point of the action and remember that it rotates clockwise (changes or progresses) every hand. This POSITION gets to act last in each betting round. This is a very powerful advantage in the game of poker. The action starts with the player to the left of the button. As players decide to bet, call, raise, or fold, the player on the button has the advantage of seeing the action of all the other players before he is required to make any decisions. (EXAMPLE: You have a pair of sevens (7-7) in your hand. There has been a bet, a raise, and two calls when it gets around to you. It is safe to say that your sevens have shrunk up a bit and right now you probably do not have the best hand. If the raise was a large one, you should likely fold. This is not information that the person to your left, in the SB position had when they originally opened the betting. When the action gets back to that person, they have the choice of folding their investment in the pot, or calling (or re-raising) the raise. You do not have that burden. Your decision can be made with zero investment in the pot at this point. Compared to the player in the small blind, you are buying a stock today knowing exactly what the price is tomorrow. You have insider information and a big advantage because of your position at the table).

As the last player to act, you can also opt to close the betting by calling. No one can raise or re-raise unless you re-open the betting by raising the bet when the action comes to you. Other players have the ability to raise and re-raise, but when it gets to you, you can close the betting.


Posted in: Poker, Poker Terms