In poker position is everything!

The title of this article obviously places great emphasis on the value of position and I for one am not going to argue with that. However there is a need for a delicate balance here and the evolutionary process of a poker player is very instructive. When players first come into poker then they come in knowledge wise at the very bottom and so position is an alien concept to them. When they learn more about poker then position becomes a focus of your play more and more.

It then reaches a stage where your primary thoughts when you play a hand are based on position. However this is a dangerous stage because it is also possible to abuse your position as well. This is a stage that many players reach when their skill level rises to an intermediate level. In fact there are some advanced players who start to abuse their position. Do not get me wrong here, if the circumstances are correct and the opponents are tight enough then abusing your positional advantage can be the best way forward.

Don’t abuse your poker position!

However if you are playing opponents that are shall we say of a decent level and they are observant then abusing your position can be counter productive. The concept of position and the importance of it and also the limitations of it are never more highlighted than in casino blackjack. In that form of gambling then the casino clearly has an edge that cannot be overcome (card counting put aside). The dealer has to draw to set rules while the player can adjust their strategy based on whatever card the dealer has.

But yet this cannot overcome the house edge and that is purely because the dealer acts after the player and always does so. However the house edge despite the fact that the dealer always has position can be reduced by careful play on your part. Let us say that the blackjack dealer had the option to adjust their play, they would not be wise to make crazy wacky plays like standing or taking cards on crazy totals simply because they had position.

However players do this in poker all the time simply because they place too much value on position. The lesson here is blatantly obvious……value position…..if you under value it then you are losing money and if you over value position then you are probably still losing money. In blackjack then there is nothing that a dealer can do if the players gets dealt a series of good hands. The player or players can wipe the dealer out in the short term and even when they have the skill of an experienced card counter then the advantage of position still reduces that to a slim edge at best. It is debatable if position is more important in poker or blackjack but in my experience the difference is minimal and so this means that over abusing position is not in your best interests.