Using Your Position at the Table to Your Advantage in Texas Hold Em
Your position at a poker table can actually help you when trying to bet and/or bluff the other players, of course not the game at online casino halls are meant. While you playing USA Poker the first position is less likely to be able to bluff and you can use his own betting as a part of his tell. By keeping an eye on and a mental record of his bets as compared to what cards first position is holding, you should be able to determine if he has a good hand or if he is trying to limp through to the next flop. You can also take advantage of last position by having the ability to play more hands and having a better chance at getting better hands.
Take the risks
Take, for example, you have, in your hand, a three of hearts and a four of hearts. You use this to your advantage by limping through the previous rounds of betting. The flop is a nine of clubs, a three of diamonds and a three of clubs. The person in the middle position may feel confident that he has a strong hand holding a pair of tens or an Ace of hearts and a nine of spades. He will bet high, since he is sure that he holds a good hand. You now have the option to raise the bet or limp through, to see if the other players will raise it further. You have a good chance to win, holding a three of a kind, knowing that there is only one more open three available.
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Due to the fact that early position or first position is pretty restricted with his bets and hands, you have a much greater advantage due to your late position. Having a wider chance of cards and a better chance to bluff, you are at a greater advantage than any other player at the table.
For another example on the advantage of your position, take the following situation. You are in a $5-$10 game and you are holding the eight and nine of diamonds. The player in the first position, an aggressive player, opens with $30. The flop comes out and it is a three of diamonds, a five of hearts and a seven of hearts. You opponent decides to play it safe and bets the flop. The likelihood that this did not help you opponent is great. Now is where some strategy comes into play. If you raise the bet, he could think that you are just trying to steal the pot, so instead of raising the bet, just call it. You want to keep him in the game and try to increase your take home from this.
Whether you have a weak or a strong hand, you would just call anyway, so your opponent is more likely to believe that you would just call anyway, so in this case a call is better than a raise. Now, let’s say that the next turn brought out the four of diamonds. While this did not actually help you, your opponent does not know this and the chances of your getting a six, to complete a straight, are high due to your position. If you take advantage, at this point, to bet instead of checking or limping through, you can lead your opponent to believe that you have a six and have a straight. Eye contact, at this point, would be good as well, as if you are challenging him to see if you have the card that he believes you to have.
The above situations can occur often, especially if you are playing a heads up game. By taking advantage of your position at the table, you have a better chance of walking away with more money and having a better chance at beating your opponent. You may want to keep in mind that any player that starts with less than a pair in their hand has less than a one in three chance of making in on the flop. Playing heads up, in last position gives you a better chance of taking advantage of this fact.