How to Play Poker Positions for Maximum Profit

Poker is a game that can be won in many different ways. However, one of the most important aspects of poker is playing the right hands in the best poker positions. This guide will teach you how to play from each position to maximum profit. Let’s take a look at the best poker positions.

Poker positions: the importance of your seat at the table

You’ve probably noticed that most no-limit poker hands are contested head-up after the flop, whether you’re watching it on TV or Twitch. Poker positions are quite important and you will find out why in this article.

A player opens a betting round with a raise, the next player calls, then it’s just the two of them fighting for the pot.

This is true even if you rail online poker games that involve better poker players, such as the big poker tournaments or Sunday majors.

This is not the case in most poker games with friends or lower-limit live games. There are often only two players left when the community cards arrive.

In heads-up situations, it is easy to see who the player “in position” is post-flop. That player gets to act last on all streets, while the other player will be “out of position” and will have to act first.

If you didn’t pay attention, you might think that players spend half of their time playing from out-of-position and the other half in position.

The truth is that the best players play a lot of their hands in position.

This is because good poker players tend to fold more hands when they are forced to play from out-of-position and to get involved more often when they are in position.

They do this because they know that having a position on an opponent after a flop is a great advantage.

What are the poker positions?

There are three table positions in a Texas Hold’em table:

  • Early position
  • Middle position
  • Late position

poker positions

Each is determined by the location of the player from the button and blinds.

Early position (EP) refers to players who have to post both the small and big blinds as well as the player to the left of the big blind.

This position is sometimes called “under the gun” (UTG).

At a poker table with nine or ten players, the next seat (UTG+1) could also be considered an early position. This is because most of the table is in the late table positions.

Although the SB and the BB act last preflop — following the UTG player and everyone else around the button — these are considered early table positions since flop they’ll be acting first after the flop in every betting round.

Middle position (MP) refers to the next couple of seats at a table before the last two or three seats culminating in the button.

Late position (LP) refers to the seats at the dealer button, cutoff (seat to the right of the button), and hijack (seat to the right of the cutoff).

In short-handed games such as 6-max, the hijack would be in the middle position.

The best poker players choose to play in the late position, so it is not surprising that they also win the most money. Even the best Hold’em players tend to be net losers when they play from an early position.

5 reasons why poker positions are important in No-Limit Hold’em

poker positions

1. You’ll get more free cards

If you have a position on your opponent, you can take a “free” card if they check while you are on a draw to see the next community card.

Say you decide to play suited connectors with the 7 and 8 of clubs, with a queen of clubs, 9 of diamonds, and 2 of clubs coming up on the flob.

Your opponent decides to check first.

You could place a bet, but you also have the option to check behind and get a free card to see if you can make a flush.

If you were to act first, you can’t be sure that your opponent will not bet and force you to stick around.

2. You can control the pot

You can control how big or small a pot you end up playing by acting last on every post-flop street.

If you want to play a small pot and your opponent checks, you can check behind. If your opponent bets, you can call and end the action.

You can raise or bet if you wish to play in a bigger pot.

You can’t check out of position and you can’t be sure that your opponent will check you and give you the next card free. You cannot bet and know that your opponent will fold, or only call you, so the pot is small.

3. You have more opportunities to bluff

It is often more valuable to have a position on an opponent when you have a weak hand.

This means that although your hand may be weak, you can make it appear that you are holding a strong hand by acting last.

You’ll have more chances to bluff if your opponent is out of position and demonstrates weakness by checking you.

Let’s say you raise from the dealer button and get called by the big blind. The flop comes Ace of Clubs, King of Diamonds, 6 of Hearts, and your opponent checks.

If your opponent does not have an ace, king, or six, and you place a bet, your opponent will likely fold. This makes your hand strength somewhat irrelevant.

You could have A of Diamonds, 10 of Diamonds, Queen of Clubs, 6 of Clubs, 7 of Diamonds, 2 of Clubs, it doesn’t matter — your poker position will win you the hand, not your cards.

4. You can calculate pot odds

Say you are in a four-way hand-holding, the flop comes Queen of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds, 5 of Clubs, and you are next to act.

There is 1,500 in the middle, and the first player leads with a 500 bet. You can call to see the turn with your open-ended straight draw.

If you were the last to act, you would know your immediate pot odds — you are trying to win 2,000, and only need to call 500, so your odds of winning are 4-to-1.

This calculation is impossible if you have players who are still to act after you.

It’s impossible to predict if the other players will call or not (which can make your pot odds even higher), or if one might raise, which could lower your pot odds.

You could determine your pot odds going forward if you were in a position to act last.

5. You could read your opponent

This is the greatest advantage of having a position in poker, and it covers all the benefits listed above.

You’ll know if your opponent is trying to trick you by reading poker tells. A check is usually a sign that they are not interested in the board, while a bet shows interest.

When playing in position, many strong players consider the opponent’s actions before deciding how to play a street.


The importance of poker positions is one reason why the arrangement at a table is important. Playing with a position on your opponents reduces your risk and increases your chances of winning. Good luck!