Online Poker: Using the Power of Position
Play your best poker—and control the hand you’re dealt—with the power of position. To do that, you’ve got to understand your own position, and every other position on the table. Here’s how.
To play online poker at the highest level, it’s critical to understand and master the Power of Position. But what, precisely, does that mean?
Every single hand is different, distinct, and equally important. Whether you’re in the hand or not, you’re always learning. In addition to the Power of Position, you must learn hand strategies, scenarios, variations, odds, and the pros and cons of every position on the table.
Whether you’re playing four-handed, six-handed, or, most commonly, a nine- or 10-handed table, the Power of Position is the best way to take control of the hand that is dealt.
Pots of Gold
I strongly recommend playing a lot of pots early in a tournament, when the blinds are small. Make more raises, call raises, three-bets, or sometimes even limps, from all the different positions. Mix it up. Personally, I live by the first three to four levels.
Players who want to take their game to the next level must do so attentively and methodically, and take mental notes. Determine who is playing what hands, how they’re playing those hands, what position they’re playing from, the types of hands, and how they play those hands in pre- and post-flop situations.
Doing poker math while in a hand, even while observing a hand that you folded pre-flop, can be very advantageous if you find yourself in a heads-up or three- to four-way pot with the other players at the table. Equity, fold equity, odds, implied odds, who’s in the hand, and, most importantly, what position you’re in—all these factors are key to being a profitable poker player.
Board texture and coordination post-flop when in position are what set the pro apart from the amateur. Doing the poker math to determine whether to make “C” bets (continuation bets) after flops, turns, and rivers is as important as knowing who you’re playing against in that particular hand.
Whether on a “wet” or coordinated board, or an uncoordinated board with a rainbow flop, you need a plan of action for all three potential streets, and you’ve got to be consistent, confident, and concise within.
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Victory from Defeat
There will always be those players—the “non-believers” and “calling-station” groups—who call you down horribly with a hand and suck out. It will and should be to your advantage later. Take mental notes. Just congratulate them and say, “Nice,” or “Good hand.”
Remembering this kind of stuff helps when you do have the goods, when determining how much they’ll pay you off and/or give you all their chips. Professional players relish that. They want to be in hands with players like these. No one in cards is ever going to win 100% of the time, but eventually, skill and skillful players are going to get all the chips.
Playing correctly and playing the Power of Position is crucial. The professionals or skillful players just need to weather the bad-beat storms and run deep. If you can do that, skill will prevail.
As with any card game, poker is ultimately a game of skill, with luck inevitably sprinkled in. Me, I’d rather be good than lucky, any day. Don’t get me wrong, you need a run of good luck in any card game to win it, especially deep in a tournament, or when you get in the trenches, meaning a final table.
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Learn from Your Losses
Of course, the cards are not always gonna go your way. You can play poker correctly, play in position correctly, and still lose to the cards. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles, my friend. It’s just not your day. In those cases, and I sincerely mean this, be a respectful gentleman or woman poker player and wish everyone luck if you lose a hand or bust out of a tournament. We’ve all been on the winning and losing side of a cooler or bad beat. Hold your head high, with dignity and confidence, knowing you played correctly and did nothing wrong, (but make a bad call or fold, ROFLMAO—just kidding), knowing you played every hand as you intended, even though the cards won that day.
It really is just that simple. Go have a good meal, a drink and chillax. It’s okay to quickly review some hands you feel you could have played, not played, or played differently. Then let it go. Move on with your life. Never kick yourself in the ass and put yourself in a personal prison—anger, frustration, bitterness, hating a dealer? Come on. It’s no one’s fault. It’s cards. It should be fun. It’s a game ultimately.
It’s Only a Game
In closing, remember, you can play perfect poker from any position and still be second-best all day. That’s cards, too. The difference is, as a pro, you recognize this, and live to fight another day. Go and do the other things in your life that make you happy until next time.
Lastly, you live and die being a poker player profitably by your calls, your folds and correctly playing the Power of Position. I hope to see you all someday at a final table.
Until then, remember to “Poker Hard…All Day, Everyday!”®