Only an idiot or a consistent loser ignores position at the poker table.

These may be strong words, but my goal is to make you a better poker player. If I run the risk of insulting a few readers in order to make most of you better, then that is a risk I am willing to take.

The positions at the Texas holdem poker table include the blinds, early, middle and late. Most poker players have a general idea of positions, but few use them to make playing decisions beyond a basic level.

What most poker players don’t know is they should be using their position as one of the first two things to consider in every decision they make.

Though it is a subject for another day, the other thing to consider is your opponent, or opponents.

I didn’t say anything about the strength of your hand, how deep your stack is or your playing ability. While all of these things are important, none of them should be considered before you fully understand the implications of your position for the current hand.

Position Challenge

I would like to issue you a challenge. I promise it will instantly improve your poker game if you accept and follow through with it.

Here is the challenge. Make the commitment to use your position in every decision you make at the poker table for the rest of your life.

It sounds simple but I guarantee that even if you make this commitment you will catch yourself taking action without thinking about your position.

A commitment like this will require you to become a true student of position and what it means. You will have to learn what hands can and should be played from each position against which opponents, which hands should be limped with and which ones require a raise and every other possible position based consideration.

Some of you have already zoned out and don’t think you need to do something as silly as think about your position on every hand. You believe that you’re too good or too smart to need to do something so simple.

You may be a winning poker player, but if you aren’t willing to give position the respect it deserves then you’re costing yourself money every time you play.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the general positions mentioned above and some of the things you need to be thinking about in each.

Blind Play

The biggest mistake, and by far the most costly, I see players make from the blinds is playing too many hands because they already have a small amount invested in the pot. Players think that it only costs another half bet to see the flop or that they have to defend the money they have already invested.

The problem is you play the entire hand in the worst possible position. This alone will cost you money in the long run on anything but your best hands.

Though you have to play them because they are strong, what do you do when you see a flop from the blinds with a pair of queens, three opponents, and a flop that contains both an ace and a king?

This is one of the worst case scenarios, but it brings up most of the issues with poor position. If you check and one or more of your opponents bets you have no idea where you’re in the hand. But if you bet and one or more of your opponents calls you still have no idea where you are in the hand.

What if you bet and one of your opponents raises?

Now let’s play the same hand from late position. Everyone has to act before you so you have more information than anyone else at the table when it is your turn. If everyone has checked to you the best play is to show strength and place a bet. You also may have the ability to take a free card during the hand.

The best way to play the blinds is fold anything that you wouldn’t play from early position when you aren’t in the blinds. As you become a better player you can play a few more hands from the blinds when you take pot odds into account, but be warned that you only play a few more hands per hundred, not dozens more.

I always ignore the money I have already put into the pot. Once it enters the pot it isn’t mine unless I win the hand, just like any money my opponents have put into the pot.

Early Position Play

Early position is much like playing the blinds. You need to play only your strongest hands and those that win huge pots when you hit them.

High suited connectors play well in games where many players see the flop because when you do hit a straight or flush you can usually win a big pot. As long as you’re disciplined enough to fold these hands quickly when you don’t hit they can be played profitably from early position.

You’re playing every hand out of position so you have a natural disadvantage that you have to overcome to win in the long run.

If you question whether or not to play a hand from early position you should probably fold it.

Middle Position Play

Playing the middle positions is only slightly better than playing the blinds or early positions. Unless you can raise to get the players behind you to fold, creating a positional advantage for yourself, you need to be picky about entering hands from middle position.

Late Position Play

Most of your play should come from late position. The power to see all of your opponent’s actions before your turn can help you play a wide range of hands profitably from late position.


Take the challenge and decide to use your position at the poker table to your advantage. Once you start every decision based on your position you will quickly see your game improve.

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