Position 3 at the Poker Table

Ok Folks,

The boss has spoken. He wants more advice and less drivel in the column (what’s the difference you may well ask). He just doesn’t care about whether my fridge was empty at the end of January… So what if my 5 year old daughter couldn’t go to the cinema to watch Peter Pan ? What’s wrong with a good game of noughts and crosses ? Exactly. So, here’s probably the minimum I can get away with on the subject of ‘position’.

Position” is just plain common sense. The further you are from the Big Blind, the more information you have. It is commonly believed that having the best position is always being in last position. In fact, my mate Brad who has an IQ of 180, insists that being last to speak is always the best position to be in. It is in fact one of the few statements he has made that is completely incorrect, wrong, short sighted simplistic rubbish…but for the time being we will assume he is right.

Let’s assume that we have all been good boys and girls, and we are sticking to Fixed Limit…no bigger than 50c/$1. (I know that No Limit is more fun but patience, patience, patience.) Ok. So you are first to speak after the Big Blind, commonly referred to as ‘under the gun’. You are looking down at AJ. Nice hand…No, not in this position. There are 9 players who haven’t acted yet. 9 hands that may contain a pair of Jacks, Queens, Kings, Aces, AK or AQ. All of which, you don’t want to play against. And, should you raise from this position, all the hands that you want to play against, JK, JQ, J10, A10, A9, will probably fold to your raise. The bottom line being if continuously play AJ from here, you will lose money in the long run. Difficult to believe ? but true…honest guv, I’m a poker player.

OK. So we are now sat on the button. Le position perfecte. You look down at AJ. Nice hand…well maybe… Lets say. The man under the gun raises, the next player re-raises, and the ultra tight Miss Rock of Gibraltar, I only play Aces, next to you has capped it. Do you want to play your AJ now ? No, of course not. But the point is, you have found out that you don’t have the best hand without putting a cent of yesterdays winnings in. If you had raised under the gun, and then had to fold, you would have wasted 2 bets, $2, half of Sian’s entrance fee to watch Peter Pan.

OK. So we are now sat on the button. Le position perfecte. You look down at AJ. Nice hand…well maybe… Lets say. The man under the gun folds, everyone folds and the regular limper in with A 2 to your right, limps in. Now of course, we want to raise. The guy to your right didn’t raise, so he can’t have a better hand than you. And there are only 2 hands (the small and big blind) behind you. A very small chance of there being a better hand than yours… If you get really lucky, the Big Blind might fall in love with his J 9 and call as well. The flop comes down Ace high or Jack high, and they will probably bet and call your raises all the way to the river.

So the moral of this week’s story is that AJ under the gun, is errr… a fold I’m afraid. Ok, well A 10 or A 9 is anyway.

Ok that’s all I can cope with this week, but if you are really keen maybe we will talk about the positional advantages for bluffing at a later date, why my mate Brad is wrong, and why Brad is famous…(Yes he does exist. He is not my fictional friend. Oh, what a beautiful mind.)