The Value of Position

Position is the second most important component of hand value (your own and your opponents' cards are the most important). In late position you have two advantages on all betting rounds:

  1. You can sec what your opponents do before you must act. If they bet and raise, you may decide to fold what might normally be a good hand. If they all check, you may decide to bet what might normally be a weak hand.
  2. Your opponents do not know what you will do before they must act. If they check, will you bet or take a free card? If they bet, will you raise? They must play a constant guessing game. Sometimes they will guess wrong; when they do, you profit.

Before the flop, getting to see what your opponents will do is very valuable. With a speculative hand you would usually like to play in an unraised pot. From late position you will know if the pot is raised before you act. From early position you must guess what those behind you will do, and sometimes you will guess wrong and lose money. Furthermore, a raise alerts you that someone has a strong hand that may have you dominated. A hand like KVJ^ may be profitable against weak hands, but it loses money against strong ones. If you have position, you can play when your opponents are weakest.

After the flop, both seeing what your opponents will do and having your opponents guess at what you will do are valuable. A starting hand's worth is based largely on how much money it expects to earn; much of this earn comes from betting after the flop. With position you make more money after the flop with almost all hands.25 Thus, many more hands are profitable, and consequently playable, from the button than from under the gun.

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