Introduction to Out of Position Poker
The majority of poker enthusiasts have heard playing out of position is worse than in position, but they don’t truly understand the reasons why. Why is it such a bad idea to play pots out of position? Why can’t I win as much playing out of position? This article will look at some reasons why playing poker out of position sucks.
Lack of Information
Poker is a game of information; you’re trying to find out what your opponents have while hide the hand you have. You’re trying to gain information throughout a hand intuitively so you can make the best decisions possible. The truth is, when you are out of position, you lack information on your opponents. You are always acting before them and don’t know what they are going to do. You are left with two main options, check and play carefully or bet into the unknown. Neither are great options, you’re either inflating the pot at times you don’t want to or playing passively.
It can feel like your playing blind folded or in the dark, not knowing what your opponent will do!
Very Difficult to Pot Control
As discussed in a previous article, pot control is very important to the expert poker player. They want to play poker on their terms, manage pot size how they want, relative to their hand strength, opponent and position. This is a challenging task to say the least when you’re playing pots out of position. Why? How can you control the pot when you’re the first to act? Bet and they can raise, check and they can bet still. When you’re in position, you are closing the action on each round of betting, affording you the opportunity to check back, call, bet or re raise at your discretion.
Hard to Maximise Value
Another problem with playing poker out of position is the times you make your hand and want to get value; you find it is hard to get the maximum. You’ll often find your opponent is just calling you, checking back or folding. You may make a turn call on a draw, hit your hand and then the dilemma comes on the river. Are you going to bet into your opponent? If so, how much is the right amount to get called? Are you going to try and check raise? Woe when your opponent checks back and you get nothing.
There are times when you have to play out of position in poker, perhaps your hand is strong or you’re getting great pot odds against a weak player. But don’t look to play too many pots when you are learning as you will find it very difficult. Even the best of players doesn’t enjoy it and recognise most of their profits come from playing poker in position. Don’t handicap yourself playing pots out of position with questionable hands.