Importance of your table position relative to the dealer
This factor is underestimated very often by beginners. Being in the dealer position (on the “button”) gives you the advantage to know all other players actions before you act yourself (after the flop – pre-flop the Big Blind closes the betting). Being the cut-out (position on the dealer’s right) still means that you know the actions of most of the players before acting.
Pre-Flop there are many hands (hole cards) that can be played (call) from the dealer position, but have to be thrown away from early or middle position.
In the following, we will assume that we are sitting at a 10-player table. Pre-Flop, the first three positions left of the Big Blind are considered early, the next three players are considered as “middle”, “late” are the cut-out and the dealer.
The main reason why your actions depend on your position is the fact that if you are sitting in an early position and call, the possibility of a raise by a later players increases with the number of players acting behind you. Such a raise would change the relation between your own bet and the potential gain. A hand with which it would be ok for me to invest one bet to see the next card may not be worth investing two bets because somebody raises behind me. The risk of a raise goes down when only few players can act behind me.
So, the first and most important lesson is that you go by our “Starting hands list” (see next chapter) when you decide if or not to enter a game.
A successful player is a player who only enters a hand when the odds are favouring him. Folding is your strongest weapon. There is a saying in poker: “Instead of looking for excuses to play your weak cards, look for reasons to fold them”.