Position in poker is something that really matters. In a nutshell, position refers to how action moves. Starting from the “button”, action moves from left to right. This means that the person that acts last has the most information than their opponents. This means that they can look at where they stand in a different way, making better decisions. It’s true, but you have to also think about the early position player — the one who acts first.
Let’s set up a basic hand of 87s. It’s a suited connectors hand, and we like those for a lot of different reasons. We have potential for not just a straight, but a flush as well. If we catch the straight, great. If we catch the flush…even better.
What happens when you’re sitting in the big blind and the player on the button raises to three times to big blind? You can fold, but that just wouldn’t be fun. You want to make sure that you see if they have a hand that could beat yours.
If the flop comes down A-K-9, all different colors, it’s a good idea to fold to that bet. Otherwise, you’re going to end up paying a lot of money trying to see each and every card, hoping that you’ll get trips or a last chance flush.
This is also where looking at how your opponents are playing really makes a difference. You want to ensure that you’re not ignoring the power of betting. If someone is betting hard, they really might have something. It’s better to fold and let them have a pot, then lose in the showdown because you were too stubborn to pull out.
This is a mistake that new players make, even though veterans can be just as guilty. You might feel that it’s best to stay the course, but the reality is that you have to really think long term rather than short term. Don’t chase every hand. This is even more the case when it comes to tournament play. There’s no better way to get knocked out of the money than to chase each and every hand, when it’s better to fold. Will you give in to bluffs now and then? Of course you will. But will you stay in the game longer? Definitely. You have to balance playing hands that are bad against forced bets (small/big blind). The blinds will eat you alive if you don’t take action, but that doesn’t mean jumping into every pot either.
It’s a lot of things to consider, but being out of position can still be lucrative in its own way. It comes down to reading what the early position and late position players will actually do before you get into the middle of things. Good luck!