Delving into the area of position in NLHE Poker

Let us say that you are in the big blind with 6c-6d and a player UTG raises to 3.5bb and two other players call them. If you call then you have the worst absolute position of the four players who will be active in the hand. However your position relative to the action is very good because if you hit a good flop then you can check and allow one or more of your opponents to bet. Online poker and the strategy that underpins it is often a balancing act between numerous different conflicting factors.

In this example then your absolute position was very poor because you have to speak first before your three opponents. This is not a great situation to be in when your hand is marginal. However in this example then you have the chance to simply check-fold if you hit a bad flop. There has been a raiser and two callers to speak after you so if the flop comes something like A-6-2 then you can check with the confidence that there will be action after you check.

In online poker then it is often assumed that you have a greater advantage if you get to act after your opponent. However in heads up pots then it can often be that the player that bets first has the advantage and wins the pot. Quite often in online poker both players in heads up situations will have no hand and so many online Texas hold’em hands are where both players have nothing. If a player raises with A-Js and is called by a player with A-Q and the flop comes 10-9-4 then the A-J hand will likely take the pot if they bet first.

The power of having first bet can be a strong one in online poker and is one that if used at the right time can be a very effective weapon. Sometimes in online poker then you can have great absolute position and great position relative to the action. Let us look at an example here to show you what I mean. An UTG player raises to 3.5bb and two players call and you call on the button with 8h-8d. Here in this example then not only do you get to act last but you are also acting after the other players who have voluntarily put money into the pot. The action is likely to come from your right and that suits you just fine because you could hit a great flop and your opponents will not know that until it is too late.

This is a better situation to be in than if you were in the big blind because you could check a powerful hand and your opponents could in fact have missed the flop and simply check it back. So remember that there are several different types of position in no limit poker and it is helpful to know how each type plays out.


Carl Sampson is an online poker player and poker ambassador for 888poker

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