Texas Holdem is a game of perception. If you have a big hand you want your opponents to think you have nothing so you can get more money out of them and if you have nothing you want them to think you have the best hand possible. Well, your position that you are sitting in at the poker table contributes to your overall perception as well. Sometimes it’s a positive contribution and sometimes it’s a negative contribution. So before you make your next bet in a Texas Holdem poker game, you may want to take a look around the table and recognize all the factors before you bet.
On the Button
Being on the button means that you have the dealer button in front of you. Traditionally this is the most powerful position to be in at the table. The reason this position is so powerful is that the person that is on the button is the last player to act after the flop is shown. You can see how this would be an enviable position because you get to see what everyone else is doing before you decide what you are going to do.
Many times a poker player that is on the button will have the opportunity to steal the blinds as well. This happens when there is no action on the table (everyone in front of you has folded) and the only players left in the hand are the player that is on the button and the big and small blinds. In this particular situation, it may be a good idea to test the players in the blind positions by raising on the button. The object of doing this is to have the players in the blind positions fold their hands without seeing the flop. It is good poker strategy to try to steal the blinds whether you are holding a good hand or not. Once again, poker is all about perception.
In the Blinds
If you are in either the big blind position or in the small blind position, you are traditionally called “out of position”. This position is called out of position because it is the weakest position to be in because you are the first to act once the flop is shown. If you are playing a hand while in one of the blind positions just keep in mind that you are the first to act and an experienced poker player will know how to exploit this information.
You can also choose to use the big or small blind positions to your advantage. As mentioned earlier, the blind positions are traditionally the weakest players at the table because they are the first to act once the flop is displayed. Some poker players think differently. Some players think that the first person to act has the first chance to bet and that is a good thing. An aggressive player will take advantage of this opportunity even if they have missed the flop completely.
When you are in the blind positions, try to utilize the continuation bet. This is a great tool that experienced poker players use at the right time in order to collect pretty sizable pots. If you are in one of the blinds and a number of people are in the hand but no one has raised the pot, what you would do is raise the pot a significant amount (maybe 3-5 times the big blind) in order to get rid of any of the marginal hands that might still exist. Let’s say you get one or two people that call. Since you are first to act, you would use this to your advantage by placing another significant bet after the flop is displayed. This will immediately get your opponents to think that you have some type of huge hand like two aces or two kings. Usually, if the others hit nothing on the flop they will gracefully lay their hands down. Once again, you can do this with any type of hand because the perception is that your hand is huge.