Adjust Poker Strategy to Table Position
Table position is one of the most important elements poker players must consider when playing a hand correctly. It is a fact that hands must be played differently depending on whether a players is in early, middle or late position. It is also very important to pay attention to the player at the dealer button. As a good and experienced poker player, position will become quite central to your game. If you are a beginner you should really take the time to read and understand why this is true.
Consider your position relative to the dealer button because the dealer button determines where the action begins. The two players to the left of the button are the ones who will post the two blinds (small and big blinds). It also determines the order of all action on the subsequent rounds of betting. The action moves clockwise around the table and away from the dealer. So the first action is taken by the player to the immediate left of the dealer button and then the betting progresses around the table until the action reaches back to the dealer again.
There is a term in poker known as UTG and it is directly related to position. UTG stands for under the gun. The under the gun player is the one who sits to the immediate left of the two blinds. Once the blinds are posted, it is the under the gun player who is first to act. Then there is the UTG+1 player. This refers to the player who sits to the immediate left of the UTG player. So the UTG+1 player is second to act. The UTG and UTG+1 players are considered to be in early position. Keep in mind that if you reach the flop in UTG+1 position and no one has folded you will be fourth to act.
It is important to understand that players in early position will have several more players act after them. This means that a player from early position must have a stronger hand in order to compete, unless the player in early position is employing a bluff. A stronger hand is needed because of the number of players left to act in the hand may have strong hands as well. Since they have not acted yet, you must consider this possibility so you do not enter a pot with a weak hand.
On the other hand, the player at the dealer button is last to act and therefore can see all of the action from early, middle and late position before acting. The dealer button has the advantage. If there has been weak action from every player, such as checking, the dealer may have a good chance of picking up the small pot quickly.
If any players have shown strength the dealer can then fold. The important factor to remember here is that all playing strategy must be adapted to table position. The nine-handed table is divided into early, middle, and late positions and the choices you make must be in alignment with your position.
The Change in Betting Limits
As poker has evolved over the course of its history, one area that has seen the biggest amount of change is in the sizing of bets and the limits that govern how much a person can wager. Most of these changes have come about due to necessity and are also based on how different versions of the game have adapted over time. In modern times, playing “table stakes” is almost a universal rule, but this was not always the case.
In the beginning days of poker, the betting rules of the game were skewed towards the player at the table with the largest amount of money or other items of value that could be wagered. An example would be if one player had £5000 at the table and his opponent only had £500.
If the first player bets £5000, the other player would be required to call the entire bet, regardless of the fact that he only has £500 at the table. In these cases, the calling player would be required to come up with the money through loans or by putting up collateral that would equal the size of the bet. In this manner, the player with the most money or other assets could make extremely large bets that could not be called due to a lack of money.
These early rules were quickly changed to different formats to create a more fair playing system for all players. One early adoption was enforcing Pot Limit, which means that the maximum bet is the current size of the pot. Therefore, a person with a large amount of money would be limited to only betting a smaller amount that could be reasonably called by a player without needing excessive loans or collateral. Pot Limit is still regularly used today and is a common way to play many forms of poker.
Along with Pot Limit, another change that made poker bets more regulated was the concept of “table stakes.” This term means that a person can only wager with the amount of chips or money that they have at the playing table. If the size of a bet exceeds the amount that they have, they are only responsible for calling the amount that they have on the table. The rest is returned to the original bettor and play follows as normal.
This change has become a standard rule for the majority of poker games around the world and helps to create a fair situation for all players.Using fixed limits is another popular way that players have found to eliminate the advantage of those with larger playing bankrolls.
In a fixed limit poker game, the size of the bets is predetermined in the structure and a player is not able to change the limits. Typically, the betting limit will be doubled for later rounds of betting and smaller for earlier rounds. This type of poker game was invented by casino owners as a way to protect players and ensure that games would be able to continue for longer periods of time, thus increasing the rake, or profit, of the casino for hosting the game.