Poker Table Positions | Decode Each Position's Importance - BLITZPOKER

Poker Table Positions | Decode Each Position’s Importance

Poker Table Positions

In poker, understanding the rules and hand rankings is just the first step. True mastery lies in understanding the significance of poker positions. Without a firm grasp of how positions work in poker, it becomes nearly impossible to understand other crucial aspects of the game. Positions hold such great importance in Texas Hold’em that players often refer to them even before revealing their cards, shaping their strategies and decisions accordingly. In this article, we will dissect the different poker table positions in poker and shed light on why they play a vital role in the game of poker.

Most poker tables accommodate a varying number of players, ranging from two to nine, depending on the format being played and the circumstances of the game. For e.g., online cash games usually involve a 6-handed format (6-max), while both online and live tournaments in casinos commonly embrace a 9-handed setup (9-max).

In a 6-max poker table, as the name suggests, there are six different poker positions on table that fall into different categories:

  1. Under the gun (Early)
  2. Hijack (Middle)
  3. Cutoff (Late)
  4. Button (Late)
  5. Small blind (Blinds)
  6. Big blind (Blinds)

Transitioning to a nine-handed table requires making adjustments to reflect the additional positions. In such games, players act in the following order before the flop in 9 max poker table positions:

9 Max Poker Table Positions

  1. Under the gun (Early)
  2. Under the gun + 1 (Early)
  3. Under the gun + 2 (Early)
  4. Lowjack (Middle)
  5. Hijack (Middle)
  6. Cutoff (Late)
  7. Button (Late)
  8. Small blind (Blinds)
  9. Big blind (Blinds)

Before we dive deeper into poker positions on table, let us try to decode each position at the table:

The Under The Gun (UTG): This position is the least desirable preflop. The player in this spot possesses the least information about others at the table. As a result, the UTG relies heavily on the strength of their own hand, leading to a tight playing range.

The Under The Gun + 1 (UTG+1): Although slightly better than the first position at a full table, the UTG+1 still faces limited information with seven opponents still awaiting their action. While they can incorporate a few additional hands into their opening range, playing relatively tight is still recommended at this position.

Also See: Flop Turn And The River

The Under The Gun + 2 (UTG+2): Along with the previous two seats, the UTG+2 falls into the early positions at a 9-handed table aka the 9-max table. Players seated in these positions have minimal info about their opponents’ preflop actions & have a disadvantageous position after the flop. Restricting their range to approximately 15% of hands is advisable.

The Lowjack: Equivalent to the UTG in 6-handed poker, the Lowjack faces the same number of players yet to act. Therefore, the range of hands played from this position remains relatively tight.

The Hijack: The player in the Hijack position gains an advantage by observing the actions of early position players before making decisions. Moreover, they have fewer opponents to contend with after them, enabling them to introduce more off-suit hands with blockers into their opening range.

The Cutoff: This position marks a turning point. It is where aggressive blind stealing becomes more viable since there is only one player left to act in position (IP). If successful in making the Button fold, the Cutoff enjoys positional advantage against the blinds throughout the hand, exerting control over the action.

The Button: Undoubtedly the most favorable position at the poker table, the player on the Button possesses the privilege of observing the actions of the first three positions and adjusting their play accordingly. They also enjoy the advantage of acting last on every street after the flop. Consequently, the Button boasts the widest range of hands among all players at the table.

The Small Blind: While the Small Blind has the advantage of observing others before their turn, this alone does not compensate for the fact that they will be the first to act on every street after the flop. Additionally, they do not have the luxury of closing the action, as the Big Blind remains to act. Consequently, their playing range is considerably narrower than that of the Button. Furthermore, the Small Blind is forced to contribute money to the pot without seeing their cards, placing them at a significant disadvantage.

The Big Blind: Being required to contribute the full Big Blind amount without seeing their cards and being the second player to act after the flop, the Big Blind holds the least favorable position at the table. Although a wider range and more defensive play are necessary, they cannot fully compensate for the disadvantage of investing the entire Big Blind without card visibility.

After going through each of these positions, you may now be having an idea why poker table positions hold so much significance in the game. They wield a substantial influence over players’ chances of winning a hand. Consequently, positions rotate in a clockwise manner after each hand, ensuring all players have a fair opportunity to secure the pot.

Significance of Poker Table Positions

The position is among the first concepts aspiring poker players must grasp to thrive in the game. The term “position” in poker serves two primary purposes:

  1. Describing the seat a player occupies at the poker table.
  2. Identifying the player who acts last in a hand.

The term “position” can also describe which player acts last after the flop. In such scenarios, the player acting last is referred to as “in position” (IP), while the player acting first is described as “out of position” (OOP).

Playing in position offers various advantages to poker players, some of which are as under:

Extracting more value

With position, players can exploit their opponents’ weaknesses and maximize their profits by making informed decisions based on the information they grab.

Gathering more information

Being in position allows players to gain insights into their opponents’ actions before deciding their own course of action.

Exercising control over pot size

Players in position have more control over the pot’s size. They can dictate the betting pace and potentially manipulate opponents into making unfavorable decisions.

Enhanced calculation of odds

Calculating odds becomes more accurate and easier when in position, allowing players to make more informed decisions.

Leveraging free cards

Position grants players the opportunity to take free cards more effectively. By acting last, they can choose to check and see the next community card without investing additional chips.

Poker Table Positions FAQs

What is The Most Profitable Position in Poker?

The most profitable position in poker is the late position, particularly the cutoff and button positions. These positions provide players with significant advantages, both in terms of their post-flop potential and the opportunity to execute steals. Stealing involves opening with very weak hands, aiming to win the blinds without engaging in post-flop battles. By making use of the late position, players can strategically exploit these advantages and enhance their profitability in the game.

What is Cutoff in Poker Table Positions?

In the game of poker, the cutoff position refers to the seat immediately to the right of the button. Meanwhile, the button itself is widely recognized as the most advantageous position in terms of profitability. This position enjoys the privilege of acting last during every betting round, granting players a distinct advantage in making informed decisions based on the actions of others. By capitalizing on the strategic benefits of the button position, players can maximize their potential for profitability in the game.

Is Late Position Better in Poker? | What’s the Best Seat in Poker?

Late positions, particularly the cutoff, and button (dealer), are widely regarded as the most advantageous positions in poker. These positions offer significant benefits, primarily due to the ability to observe the actions of other players before making decisions. In a late position, if other players have folded, there is an opportunity to exploit the situation by “stealing the blinds,” which involves winning the pot immediately even if you have an average hand. This strategic advantage of late position can lead to increased profitability and success in the game.