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Understanding Position in Poker


If you are a football fan, you will understand the advantage that a home team has over the away team. In poker, that advantage is known as position. To understand what position is, you must first understand the layout of a poker table. 

Here is the typical layout of a nine-handed poker table:

Before the cards are dealt in a game of No-Limit Texas Hold’em (NLHE), two players are forced to enter forced antes called the small and big blind. For sake of clarity, let us imagine the small blind takes up Seat 1; Seat 2 belongs to the big blind. 

Seat 3 belongs to the position known as Under The Gun (UTG), while Seat 4 is Under The Gun Plus 1 (UTG+1); Seat 5 is known as Middle Position. Seat 6 is the Lojack, Seat 7 is the Hijack, and Seat 8 is known as the Cutoff. Seat 9 is The Button. 

When playing poker, you always want to be as close to the button as possible, because the button has position on every other player at the table. The reason playing from the button is so important is because you get to see what everybody else does before it is your turn to act. 

In a game of incomplete information, this gives you a lot of complete information, leaving you with less gaps to fill. 

So, in future, remember that the blinds and early positions (UTG & UTG+1) are the most difficult seats to play poker from (otherwise known as out of position) and the hijack, cutoff, and button are the best places to play from (otherwise known as late position).

 

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Last Updated 7 December 2013
Understanding Position in Poker