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Every player will tell you the importance of position in playing a game like holdem. The reason for that is your position is fixed the entire time during a hand. In other games, like 7 card stud, the player who acts first is based on some type of criteria (low card, best cards, etc.) that changes from betting round to betting round. In holdem, your position is fixed for every betting round during the hand. It's always important to adapt your play based on your current position at the table. Below explains the advantages and disadvantages to the 4 key position areas: Early, Middle, Late, Blinds. The seats that define what position you are in may change based on the number of people in the hand and the texture of the table you are playing at. The seats defined below are for a basic table of 10 players.

Early Position (1, 2 & 3 seats to the left of the big blind)
There is a major disadvantage to being in early position because you don't know how the other players at the table are going to play the round. If you call, they may raise and now it will cost you 2 bets to see the flop. If you raise, they may all fold and all you will win is the blinds. It is generally a good idea to play much tighter in early position than you would from Middle or Late position, because you don't want to get caught calling with a pair of 4's and then have someone raise or re-raise after you. Now it would cost 2 more bets to see the flop and most likely the pot odds won't justify the call.

Middle Position (4, 5 & 6 seats to the left of the big blind)
While playing in middle position allows you to play more hands, you still need to play tight because there are up to 4 more players waiting to act behind you (in a 10 player game). You do, however, have the benefit of seeing what the players in early position have done before you and can use that knowledge to your advantage when deciding on your own actions. If there have been some callers, you may have the right odds to call your hand. If everyone has folded to you, you may want to raise to try and steal the blinds (this is much more effective in late position). Whatever you do, you have to keep in mind that there are players behind you than may raise and require you to have to call another bet. Make sure your hands are strong enough to stand up to that.

Late Position (1 seat to the right of the button and the button)
In late position you can play many more hands than from early or middle position. This is because most of the players at the table have already acted before you. You will know if there has been a lot of raising and called raises, or just a lot of calling, or maybe everybody has folded to you. Whatever it may be, you have more information that the other players did when it was their turn to act. The key to playing in late position is to use that information to ensure you play your hand to it's fullest potential. If there have been raises, you will still need a strong hand to play. But if there has been calling and/or folding, you can probably play with much weaker hands, since the pot odds may justify it and there are very few players remaining who could raise. Also keep in mind that you will also be last or close to last on the following rounds as well. This means that you will also get to see what the other players do on the flop before you have to act. This becomes a very powerful position if you choose to raise, then on the next round the other players may check to you (as they are afraid of a raise) and you can check and get a free card. Late position is easier to play than the other positions, but it's also important that you use the information that you are given and not just play any hand because you are in late position.

Blinds (small and big blind)
Post flop, playing in the blinds is the same as playing in early position. The only time you play the blinds differently is before the flop because you are the last 2 players to act. Most of the criteria is the same as playing in late position, as you have seen the other players act before you. If playing in the small blind you have an added benefit of having about half the bet to call already committed to the pot. So you can play even more hands because the pot odds are usually greatly in your favor. Some people get caught always calling in the small blind because it's so cheap to play, but it is generally better to mix it up and not be so predictable. Also, don't fold in the small blind too often either without it being raised, as that would be predictable and others would figure you for a very tight player. In the big blind with an unraised pot, you can obviously play with anything. This is because you already have put in your bet and it would cost you nothing to see the flop. If you have a good hand, go ahead and raise, or even with a bad hand to mix up your play and if you think it will cause others to fold. The key is to not over play your hand just because you are in the big blind. Take the free flop once in a while with medium strength hands. The key is to not become predictable while in the big blind. If there has been a raise before you and you are in the blinds, you should generally play tighter, however it will only cost 1 or 1.5 bets to call and if the pot odds are right, it may be worth a call.

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