Poker table positions are a very important aspect of the game and it is therefore very important to fully understand them. The simplest definition for positions would be that they are the various seats that poker players occupy at the tables. This is usually in relation to the dealer.
All of these seats have different names and each implies something different. For instance, a player who is in position or sitting in the late position gets to act after other players. On the flip side, a player who is in early position or is out of position will get to act before other players.
Keeping that in mind, poker players need to adjust their gameplay and strategies based on their position at the tables.
Poker Table Positions
In order to help you understand poker positions better, we are going to dive deeper and give you a brief overview of each of them. In terms of layout, the chart below details all of the positions that you could occupy at the poker tables.
The chart pretty much sums up how every poker table is arranged but what does each of these positions really mean? Let’s find out.
Under the gun
This refers to an early position seat that is located to the left of the big blind.
The players seated in this position are the first to act on preflop and as its name suggests, there is usually a lot of pressure here since quite a number of players will act after this. As such, the opponents will always have an edge over anyone who is in this position. It is often hard not to get crashed here but a great way of playing at this position is by playing your strongest hand and keeping your fingers crossed.
We have a whole post on the ‘Under the Gun’ position if you want to learn what can be done in this position.
This is the player that is second right from the dealer button and to the right of the cut-off player. It is a pretty good late position since the player in this seat is usually in position and has control of the game.
At this position, the player can easily steal the blinds and they have many opportunities to make strong raises since they have an idea of what the other players at the table have based on their gameplay.
Learn how to play when your in the Hijacker position here.
Also known as the dealer positions, this is where a round of poker starts off with the cards being distributed.
The button is considered to be the very best poker table position to be in since the player at this seat will always get to act last in any betting round.
Thankfully, this position is not static as it shifts to other players at the tables in a clockwise manner after the end of each round. This shift also changes the other positions at the table in the same way.
The middle position refers to the three seats between the UTG and Hijack positions in a poker table with 9 or 10 players. While it is certainly not as bad as being in the early positions, it is not as good as being in the late positions. That said, you will get to have position on early players but be out of position with the late players.
Still, it presents a valuable opportunity for smart play where you can go at it aggressively if you are certain you have a good chance of winning. If you are not certain, there is always the option of folding and waiting for the next time you will have the chance to act.
This is the position that is two seats clockwise from the Button and left of the small blind.
It is also the minimum bet that the players have to make if they intend to play the hand. The player at this position is the last to conclude the betting for the first round of the game.
Located to the left of the dealer button, this is the bet that is half the big blind and that you have to make. This position shifts once to the left after every round.
The player at this position will act last second last during the first round but after that, they must act first in the subsequent round. Since they will be playing blind, as the name implies, the players at this position are essentially in the worst table position.
This is the position located on the immediate right of the Button.
It is the second-best position at the poker tables since the player seated here has the option of cutting off the button’s advantageous position with an open raise if the action unfolds to them – this will force the button to fold.
Players at this position have a lot of freedom and can raise or bluff successfully to take the pot.
Full Ring vs Shorthanded Positions
Perhaps the most popular types of poker games offered at online poker rooms are the full rings and shorthanded forms. While full ring games are played with a maximum of 9 or 10 players, shorthanded games are played with a maximum of six or sometimes five players. This presents a key difference in positions at the tables and players who intend to be a part of either need to understand how things differ.
To begin with, the full ring poker positions are:
- Small Blind
- Big Blind
- Under the Gun
- Under the Gun + 1
- Under the Gun + 2
- Middle Position + 1 (where there is a maximum of nine players)
- Middle Position + 2 (where there is a maximum of ten players)
In shorthand poker, the table positions are as follows:
- Small Blind
- Big Blind
- Under the Gun
Keeping that in mind, it is important to note that the early position in shorthanded games does not compare to any of the positions in full ring games. As such, players need to be very strict with starting hands when playing shorthanded games.
A general consensus is that the last 5 or 6 positions in a full ring game are not the same as those in shorthanded gams since players have to adapt to very tight hand ranges from the early position players.