Why is position important in online poker?

Position is where you are seated at the table in relation to the dealer button, with the button being regarded as the most advantageous place to sit and every seat to the right decreases in value until we come full circle again.

The positions at a table of six players

  1. The “button” which is the player who has the dealer button
  2. To the left of the button is the “small blind
  3. Next we have the “big blind
  4. Then we have “under the gun” which is simply a strange name for the person to the left of the big blind who is the first player to act before the flop
  5. Then we have the “hijack” (referring to the act of hijacking the positional advantage of the button)
  6. Finally we have the “cut off” (maybe referring to the last position in which a loose raise is deemed acceptable).

When someone refers to “having position” they are usually referring to being last to act on that street, as this way you get all of the available information before you have to make a decision, whereas your opponent has to act without knowing what you are going to do.

Online Poker is a game of information

You will often find yourself asking the question “what poker hand does my opponent have?” and although there is no reliable way of answering that question 100% accurately every time, there are ways in which we can make an estimated guess on the type of hand.

The way we do that relies entirely on the information that our opponent gives us through their action (betting, raising or checking) and the size of their bets. Position decides when we receive that information, and I’m sure that I don’t need to explain to you that if you get this information before you have to make an action that is much better than getting it after we’ve put some money in the pot.

There is nothing worse than putting in a big bet with your top pair only to be raised and left to wander the confusing world of the unknown. By making sure that we play our hands “in position” as much as we can, we ensure that we have all of the information and all of the tools to our disposal before ever having to put money in the pot.

A quick test of your poker skills

On a 6 player €0.50/1 cash game table, player A raises under the gun (UTG) to €3, player B calls on the button (BTN) and you call in the small blind (SB) with Ten of Clubs and Ten of Hearts.

So three players get to see the flop of 7c 8c 5s (€10 in the pot). You check, player A bets €7 and player B raises to €24.

Which player has the most information to help make a decision?

  1. You
  2. Player A
  3. Player B

And, what is your best play?

  1. Call
  2. Go all in for your €100~
  3. Fold
  4. Wish you were sitting in a different position, then fold.

Test out your poker skills at one of our numerous poker tournaments.

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Answer: 4