Poker Positions Explained

When you play poker, regardless if whether’s for real money or for free, you will instantly see that each player has a designated seat at a table. People that are not familiar with this game will think that the seating is random and that it doesn’t have any meaning.

But not at BestPoker. As we are about to see, seat positions in poker have certain names. Not only that, but they can have an influence on poker card games. With that being said, we thought that it is a good idea to dive deeper into every poker position and explain how can you benefit from it.

Poker Positions Names

When you play at ordinary tables or in online poker tournaments, you can play up against 9 players, depending on the poker type. To play poker, you just need 2 players and a dealer on a table.

The positions are divided into several sections. These sections are:

  • Big blind
  • Small blind
  • Early position
  • Middle position
  • Late position

Big Blind and Small Blind

We’ll start things off by explaining the big and small blind. These seats are explained in pretty much every cheat sheet for poker. The big and small blind are the first two positions in poker and they are located left to the dealer.

The first player is the small blind. The big blind sits left of the small blind. The reason why these two positions are called blinds is that they place a bet before the dealer hands them their hole cards.

Hole cards are the face-down cards that each player needs to combine with the community cards and thus, form winning combinations. The stronger their hand is, the better the chances of winning are. Some hands drop far more rarely than others, as shown by an odds calculator.

Now, back to the blinds. The difference between the big and small blind is the bet amount. Usually, the small blind places one or two-thirds of the bet, whereas the big blind places the entire bet amount.

Early Positions

Next up, we have the two positions next to the blinds in a poker game – the early positions (EPs). Sometimes, the blinds are referred to as EPs, but it is worth knowing that for a more precise categorization, we’ll refer to these as different poker positions.

Here’s what you need to know about the early position. Despite its name, the EP and the big blind are the last players to act in the pre-flop round. The pre-flop round refers to the starting round in a poker game.

This is when all players receive their cards and decide whether to call, check, raise or fold. After the pre-flop round ends, the dealer reveals the first three community cards (the flop). This is when the early position acts first.

One of the early positions in a full ring table is called under the gun (UTG). This player is the first one to act in a betting round.

Middle Positions

Moving on, we go to the middle position. Players here are situated between the early and late positions. There are three seats in this section.

One of the main goals of players that are located in the middle position is to exploit weaker players on the table, especially those in the early position seats. If you’re implementing poker strategies in your play, you will notice that the middle position is a bit tricky place.

Even though you will have more freedom to play with your hand even if it’s not a good one, you will find it hard to manage if the early position plays aggressively and raises in each round of betting.

If this occurs, then you will have to make sure that you read their tells to determine when they are bluffing and when their hand is good. Reading your opponents is one of the hardest skills that you must master when you’re playing at poker sites.

Late Positions

Finally, we have the most desirable position – the late position. Regardless if you are playing Texas Hold’em or Omaha poker, or any other variant, late position is considered the best seat at the table.

There are a lot of weaknesses of players that you can exploit from this seat, which is why this is a positional advantage on the table. For starters, you can always look at other poker players and assess their betting behaviors.

That way, you’ll find it far easier to determine whether they are bluffing or if they are serious about their wagers. Not only that, but since you act last on the table, you have far more freedom in terms of bluffing and pushing the rest of the positions.

There are usually 3 late seating positions and the cut off position is considered the best spot. This player is located on the right side of the dealer. Then, we have the hijack seat, which is located two seats right from the dealer and one seat right from the cut off. The third and final late position is called the lojack seating.

Dealer Position

Finally, the last position in poker is the dealer. The dealer is in charge of leading the round of betting, acknowledging the actions of all other positions, unveiling the community cards, etc.

When the showdown starts after the final round of betting, the dealer is the one that takes a look at the hands of players and determines which one is the winner. Dealers are highly trained professionals with huge responsibilities.

When playing online poker, the dealer is replaced by a button. To ensure that the gaming environment is fair, online casinos use the so-called Random Number Generator (RNG).

RNGs are AI tools that create random outcomes for each round. As a result, players can rest assured knowing that their hole cards are randomly distributed and so are the community cards. Poker software providers, on the other hand, make sure that each poker variant has HD graphics and is fun to play.

Best Poker Table Positions

Poker positions in poker can have a massive influence on the outcome of a game. Some positions are considered good, some are considered bad. We’ll start with the good side of the story first and explain which positions are considered the best.

The best poker positions are the late positions. Here’s why. As poker position names suggest, these players are the last ones to act in a full ring table. Thanks to that fact, they can watch all the action unfold in front of them.

Thanks to that fact, they are able to keep track of the players in both the middle and early spots. In doing so, they can see what type of behavior players have when they are bluffing and when they have a strong hand.

Not only that, but the late position means that you are more flexible in terms of bluffing and forcing the hands of other players.

Worst Table Positions

On the flip side of the coin, the worst poker positions are the early ones – the blinds and under the gun. Here’s why. For starters, both the small and big blind are required to place a wager before they even receive their hole cards.

So, if their cards are bad ones, they lose money even if they fold. As for under the gun, this is the first player to act in a round of betting. As such, they don’t have a lot of control over the gameplay. They cannot risk bluffing or raising the stakes too much. Instead, they have to adapt to the rest of the players at the table.

Good and Bad Starting Hands in Poker

As a closing matter, we at BestPoker wanted to share a word or two on the starting hands. Just like the poker positions, this game has good and bad starting hands. Combined with an odds calculator, you can easily see if it’s worth playing with the cards that you’re dealt with or not.

Good Starting Hands

Good starting hands will give you a massive advantage over other players and help you win the pot. Each starting hand that results in a pair is considered a good start. Some examples are two 7s, two 10s, two 5s, etc. Numerous combinations of Royal cards are also considered good. These include:

  • A-K
  • A-J
  • A-Q
  • K-Q
  • K-J
  • Q-J

Almost all starting hands that feature an Ace are good. The only hands that feature an Ace and are not strong are A-2, A-3, A-4 and A-5. Finally, suited cards are also good starting hands as they can lead to a flush or straight flush.

Bad Starting Hands

Some cards don’t have good pot odds and that is why you should think of folding them if you receive them. For example, the majority of combinations of low-value cards are considered bad starts. Some of these include:

  • 3-2
  • 4-2
  • 4-3
  • 5-2
  • 5-3
  • 6-4
  • 6-3
  • 6-2

Combinations of Queen and low-value cards between 2 and 7 are also considered bad hands. The case is the same with the Jack and low-value cards. The reason why small cards are bad is that even if they form a pair, they are highly likely to lose against other players with stronger pairs. The only way these hands are strong is if they lead to three of a kind or four of a kind.

Frequently asked questions

What does under the gun mean in poker?

Under the gun is a term that describes the first player that acts in a betting round. The player can check, raise or fold. Often, this position is referred to as the worst position in poker. UTG players do not act first in the pre-flop round, though.

What is the hijack position in poker?

The hijack is one of the later positions in poker. It is located two seats right from the dealer and one seat right from the cut off. Many players consider it the second best position because just like the cut off, the hijack has a lot of flexibility in terms of raising the pot and controlling the game.

What does out of position mean in poker?

The out of position (OOP) seat in poker is a synonymous term for the early position. If you are OOP, then that means that you need to act first in each betting round.

What is the cutoff position in poker?

Every poker position chart states that the cut off is the best seating on a poker table. This term is used to describe the player that acts last in a round of betting. This player can watch all the action unfold and have control over the game.

What is the best position in poker?

Every poker position chart states that the cut off is the best seating on a poker table. This term is used to describe the player that acts last in a round of betting. This player can watch all the action unfold and have control over the game.

What is the best position in poker?

Almost every cheat sheet for poker states that the cut off position is the best poker position. The cut off is the last player to act in a full ring table. Thanks to that fact, players in this seating are far more likely to bluff and keep track of the betting patterns of players in different positions.

What is the lojack position in poker?

The lojack is one of the best positions in poker. It is part of the late positions and thanks to that fact, players in this seating have a lot more freedom in terms of bluffing and forcing other players to fold.

Why is position so important in poker?

All poker positions come with a certain meaning. Each seating comes with its own poker position strategy. Late positions are considered the best seatings because they can watch the action and act more freely. On the other hand, early positions are the worst spots as they are first to act and as a result, they don’t have a lot of flexibility in terms of betting.