Listen, seasoned players: this isn’t your guide. Maybe if you don’t know anything about poker position it might be useful to you, but we’re not talking to you today. Later, we’ll talk about other things that might be of value to you. But for right now, we’re talking to new players that are trying to get that horrible fish smell off of them. You know that smell, right? It’s the smell of desperation, of helplessness, of ignorance. Mind you, ignorance is used here in its most polite form — you didn’t know what you don’t know, and it’s not because you’re stupid. You’re just uninformed of real strategy at this time.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about poker position. If you’re going to play out of position, you’re in for a rough time. If you’re in position, you’re the last person to act on a round. This is the best place to be in a poker game, because it means that you get the most information. Contrast that with early position, where you’re the first person to make a move. If you raise, then you have to realize that other people are going to fold or even go in stronger because you put blood in the water.
Playing tight out of position is the key to making sure that you can stay in more hands. But if you’re playing aggressively out of position, you’re missing out on key information that’s going to make your poker play a lot smoother.
Maybe in low stakes cash games this out of position play isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg. But if you have hopes of playing in tourneys, you’re going to get serious about position play or you’re going to get eaten alive. The type of players that really aim high for tourneys aren’t going to watch you play out of position and not take advantage of it.
Keeping this in mind will help you out tremendously. But what about that early position part? Someone has to be that guy sooner or later, and chances are good that it’s going to be you. So what do you do then? You need to make sure that you’re going to play only what’s valuable and ditch the rest.
You might notice that is going to be a recurring them in a lot of poker advice. The trouble with playing a lot of hands is that you add in a lot of luck, which could go either way. The odds are usually not in your favor, so it’s best to save your money and play only when you have something worth playing.
Over time, position will make more sense to you. In fact, you’ll get so good that you’ll be able to spot when other players aren’t playing in position and be able to take their chips more efficiently. After all, they theoretically have the same access to great poker advice. It’s up to each player to put in the strategy that works best for them and continue learning, always.