Poker seating and the position one has at the table is one
of the most important and least talked about aspects of
poker. It’s especially relative to the Texas Hold’Em poker
game because it is positional in nature. Where a player sits
each hand determines the amount of information he or she can
gain on other players. This can have a big effect on your
poker strategy and how a hand is played. This article will
reference how to play poker from a table of 10 players and
discuss playing from the dealer, early, middle and late

Dealer Position — This position, also referred to as “on
the button”, is the most coveted because once the flop takes
place, the dealer is the last to act. This means you can
watch and gather information on all the other players before
making your decision. Aggressive play is expected from this
position, especially when all others have checked. Almost
any hand except trash hands like 9 2, 10 4 offsuit can be
considered for play here.

For example, your opponent has Jc, Jh. You have Qd, Kd and
are the dealer. Your opponent raised $20 before the flop and
you called. The flop shows 2d, 3d, 5d. You both check the
flop and the turn shows 8c. Your opponent checks, you raise
$20 and they call. On the river the Js comes up and your
opponent raises $50. From watching you figure they may have
trips. You raise to $100, they call and you win with a King
high flush. Had you been in your opponents position of
having to bet first, you would have been hard pressed to
figure what the dealer had.

Early Position — This is made up of positions 1, 2 and 3 to
the left of the dealer and are the least advantageous as you
are the first to act after the flop and have no information
on the other players. Here one should play only the
strongest hands like paired A’s, K’s, Q’s, J’s, Tens, or
suited AK, AQ, AJ and KQ. Anything outside of these one
should consider folding and waiting for a better
opportunity, especially with an aggressive table. One thing
that can be done from an early position is bluffing. Betting
from an early position can imply that you do have a strong
hand, but bluffing too often will result in others picking
up on it and can be disastrous, particularly when aggressive
bettors are at the table.

Middle Position — Positions for the middle are 4th, 5th and
6th to the left of the dealer. Because the disadvantage is
not as great as with the early position, you have greater
flexibility to play more hands. Hands like paired 5’s thru
9’s, suited connectors from 5 6 on up, unsuited connectors 5
6, 6 7, on up. There are more hands that can be played but
this covers the majority that can be easily remembered.
Being in the middle, it is better to raise than call if no
one is in the pot, if you have a playable hand and you feel
some players will fold.

Late Position — The 7th, 8th and 9th seats at the table to
the left of the dealer make up the late position. Here you
are in an excellent seating area of the table. You can
gather a great amount of information about the players and
their hands. In these positions, one should be aggressive if
not many have entered the pot. If there are a lot of
players, scale back the aggressive play unless you have the
type of superior hand as discussed in the early position.
Another advantage of the late position is that you can
easily play cards like 5 8, J 7, Q 8. For example, supposing
you have 5 8 in the late position and the flop is 2 6 7
unsuited and everyone else checks. Raising at a
non-aggressive table would be the correct thing to do as it
gives you a chance to gain control of the pot as well as
keeping other raises in check from those who would try to
steal the pot. But remember, it is not a license to play
trash hands.

Poker seating is an advanced player concept, but the basics
are simple enough for anyone to remember and take advantage
of when the opportunity does present itself. Good luck!

By Tom Howze
Tom Howze is a webmaster for 9 sites that relate to online gambling, World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour events and updates. For more information, please visit 2005 World Series of Poker .