Early Position (Under The Gun)
The hardest position to play in any game of poker, with no exceptions is the first position, more commonly known as under the gun (UTG). The player sitting under the gun has to act first as soon as the cards are dealt. This position is the position directly to the left of the big blind. As a result, even on post flop betting round the under the gun player is still one of the first players to act. This is a disadvantage in any game of poker.
There is one key to playing UTG that will keep you out of trouble. Only play PREMIUM HANDS! Don’t think you will be able to get away with playing similar hand to what you may play in a later position.
Players situated to the left of early position (usually 4 to the left of the button depending on how many players at the table) are considered to be in middle position (MP).
Playing in middle position is very similar to playing early position as it doesn’t have any great pros but have several cons. MP is slightly better than early position as at least you now get to see what the players in early position want to do before you have to make a decision. Having said that, there are still several players in later position that are left to act behind. On occasion, playing a hand from middle position leaves you vulnerable to a “squeeze” play from one of the players left to act. If one of these players does decide to make a squeeze play after you have elected to play a hand from middle position you are left in a tricky situation.
The squeeze play comes about when an early position player raises or calls, then you call in middle position. The squeeze is then when a player in late position raises after you have called the early position bet. This situation is very dangerous to you as you may have called the bet from early position as you have a marginal hand and want to keep the pot small or are scared of a player left to act behind. This scenario either forces you to fold a nice hand to the aggression, or possibly commit chips to the pot with a weaker hand while you are out of position, all the while still guessing if the player that squeezed has a good hand or is just aggressive.
Late Position (On The Button)
For every poker player, the position they win most hands from will be on the button. When you are on the button it means you are the dealer and therefore get to act last. This is by far the best position on the table in any given hand. All good poker players will use the strength of the button and leverage all the possible value out of a large selection of hands.
For what reason is getting to act last such a big advantage? Quite simply, you get to see what all your opponents want to do before you have to make a decision, so you may pick up some valuable information about the strength of one of your opponents hands. This advantage allows you to be aggressive with all kinds of hands (and you should be), even hands that are not considered premium starting hands.