Jim “Pocket Bullets” Paris
We are constantly being asked about playing position in Texas Hold Em . We know that question has been asked and answered a gazillion times but it still confuses a lot of players. Here is a brief description on the positions in Hold Em. Naturally the number of players tends to change the importance of positions, but generally speaking, when a table is full with nine or ten players as in our illustration below, the positions are usually titled Early Positions or EP, Middle Positions or MP and Late Positions or LP. And as their name implies, EPs act first, then MPs and last players to act are LPs.
Early position players:
- The small blind is usually considered the worst position after the flop. This player is always the first player to the dealer’s left.
- The big blind is to the left of the small blind and his position is usually considered just as bad.
- Under the gun is the player who acts first pre-flop. He sits to the left of the big blind and many consider this to be the worst position pre-flop because he must bet or fold first without having any advantage of knowing what everyone else might do.
Middle position players:
- These players have a very slight advantage but they are basically in about the same position as EP players. They just get to see a little more action before them and can act accordingly.
Late position players:
- Hijack is to the right of the cut off player and has the ability to steal the blinds but needs to be careful because he still has 2 more players to act after him.
- Cutoff is a solid position and has the advantage of “cutting off” the dealers chance of stealing the blinds; that is if they haven’t already been hijacked.
- Dealer or Button is the absolute best position because this guy has the advantage of acting last on the flop, the turn and the river.
These are your basic positions but how you play them really varies according to your style of playing and, of course, the style of every other player at your poker table. How to play your position, based on the layout of the playing field is entirely up to you. So the question is; do you really know your position?