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If you’re new to poker, it may come as a surprise to you to find that your position has a name. Some people call them poker seat numbers or poker seat position, but the plain truth is that poker seating makes a very real difference. A winning or losing sort of difference.

Some players laugh at naming each and every seat at a game, and many simply stick to the old “early” and “late” seats method. Doesn’t much matter, because the effects are the same whether you know about them or not.

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Though it is rarely up to you where you sit, you generally want the looser opponents on your right, the tighter opponents on your left (a tough blow for those of us that chanted “righty tighty, lefty loosey” when we were learning to use a screwdriver). The strength of your hand varies depending on when you are able to use it, and especially when you get to see what everybody else is going to do.

Based on this assumption, the relative seating names start to fall into place.

Depending on how many people are seated at a poker game, there can be some debate about the canonization of these seat names. However, typical names and positions are (in order of the deal):

  • The button — the dealer button, to be more precise.
  • The small blind — just left of the button (first in the rotation, pays half )
  • The┬ábig blind — left of the big blind (2nd in rotation)
  • Under the gun — left of the small blind, first to act
  • The hijack Seat — 2nd to last, to the right of the cutoff seat
  • The cutoff — last in line (just right of the dealer)

The first three positions after the dealer are “Early” positions and the last three (including the button) are “Late”. As the button passes clockwise, the big blind is comparatively the worst place to start in – the advantage at the very beginning disappears quickly after the flop.

You will notice experienced human opponents (and well-designed computer AI) making the most of position in a game. The only way to keep from losing is to practice (and/or study, but of course you’ll really take the lessons to heart when you’re doing it for yourself).


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