It’s a fundamental piece of any poker strategy that every player should know, but it’s always a good idea to review position in poker and how it affects your betting and card selection. For those who are completely new to the game, your position in table is determined by its distance from the button as it moves around from hand to hand. As you move clockwise from the button, there is first the small blind, then the big blind then the rest of the players leading to the “cut off” and then the button itself. The button represents the last player to act and in home games; it’s generally also serves to mark who’s dealing cards.
When you’re in the small blind, big blind and chair immediately after it, you’re on the least favorable seats in the hand. You’re going to have to be more selective about what hands you play because you’ll receive much less information about your opponents before you act. Play the cards, not the players from this position and stick to the most basic maths of the game.
You’ve got a distinct advantage over the players in early position, but the players after you are going to have the same advantage over you. You can play a few more hands in these positions as you don’t have as many players acting behind you. It’s important to note that if the small blind, big blind and other early position player folds, then you’re going to be the first to act. This is a not-uncommon experience and you need to bear that in mind when you’re deciding whether or not to play your hand.
These are, with the exception of the button, the best seats in any given hand of poker. From these, there’s a very high chance that you’ll be the last to act on each round and so you can loosen up your starting hand selection a bit after seeing how others play. My advice is to try and play as many hands as are reasonably possible from this position, but keep in mind that being last doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to win a hand: you have to have the cards to back it up.
The Button Itself
The best seat in the house, because on every round except for the preflop betting stage, you’re going to be the last player to act, no matter what. Again: play as many hands as you reasonably can from this position and really maximize the betting when you’re holding a winner.
I know that you probably knew all of this already, but it’s always good to review the fundamentals of poker from time to time. After all, after you’ve spent a few years playing the game, you might be so caught up in the more esoteric areas of strategy that you just plain forget that a 9T off-suit isn’t a go-to hand form the big blind.