Position and Information

If poker were played with open cards, it wouldn’t be any fun. Everyone could see who has the best hand and play perfectly. In reality, you cannot see the cards dealt by your opponents and therefore the game is much more interesting. It’s fair to say that the more you know about your opponents’ cards, the better you can play. You will never be able to define your opponent’s cards with certainty, but with every action he takes, it is possible to acquire more information. If someone bets or raises, it looks like they have a good hand. If someone calls, your cards shouldn’t be too bad, and if your opponent folds, you shouldn’t worry about him anymore. If you have good position at the table, which would ideally be the button, you are last to act (the meaning of the term ‘position’ is explained in the Glossary).

You are on the button, holding A♠10♥ in your hands. This is a good starting hand, but not great. In this favorable position, you can watch what the players in front of you do and adjust your game accordingly. Let’s look at two possible scenarios:

    1. All your opponents fold. This means that there are only two players we should be concerned about (the two blinds). You probably have the best hand and should therefore raise.
    2. A player in early position (previous position) raises and all opponents fold. You are probably after him. Generally, a player in early position will only raise if they have a very strong hand, usually a big pair or AK . Your chance of winning with such a strong starting hand is very small and you should therefore fold.

In this case, the additional information you received allowed you to make the best decision. If you were in early positions , you wouldn’t have as much information to help you. Similar scenarios happen on the flop. This is why you play more hands, and profit more, from good position at the table than from bad position.

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