Table Positions in Texas Hold’em

by trikkur

This poker lesson was made for beginning players to Texas Hold’em. I review the different table positions in a short handed, full ring, and heads up game and explain which of them are considered early, middle, and late position. I also rank the best and worst table positions, while giving a detailed description of the strengths and weaknesses of each position. If you enjoy this video and want to know about new releases, please sign up for the newsletter or subscribe to the PokerTrikz YouTube channel.

Watch Lesson – Table Positions in Texas Hold’em

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Full Ring Poker Table Positions

A full ring game is what most people play during live and online tournaments or when they play live cash games at a casino or with friends. These full ring tables will normally seat 9 or 10 people and this will obviously increase the number of hands dealt every round. There are six unique table positions and a generic modifier you can use when referencing a player at a full ring table.

  • Button – player with the dealer button, last to act postflop
  • Small Blind – player left of the Button, pays the designated small blind
  • Big Blind – player left of the Small Blind, pays the designated big blind
  • Under the Gun – player left of the Big Blind, first person to act preflop
    • Under the Gun + 1/2/3 – players left of Under the Gun before the Hijack
  • Cutoff – player right of the Button
  • Hijack – player right of the Cutoff
Full Ring Table Positions

Full Ring Table Positions – Click to Enlarge

Short Handed Poker Table Positions

A short handed game will only have five or six players at a table. This creates a much faster paced game and allows people to play a wider range of hands than normal. There are only six table positions you need to remember in order to discuss a short handed game. If you are only playing a 5-max game that is popular on some European sites, they you can ignore the Hijack position.

  • Button – player with the dealer button, last to act postflop
  • Small Blind – player left of the Button, pays the designated small blind
  • Big Blind – player left of the Small Blind, pays the designated big blind
  • Under the Gun – player left of the Big Blind, first person to act preflop
  • Cutoff – player right of the Button
  • Hijack – player right of the Cutoff
Short Handed Table Positions

Short Handed Table Positions – Click to Enlarge

Heads Up Poker Table Positions

A heads up poker table is just a battle between two players. This is the most aggressive and highest variance form of Texas Hold’em that you can play. The table positions of the small and big blinds change when playing heads up, so pay attention. In heads up poker, the dealer is the small blind and the other player will be the big blind. This is to prevent the button from having too much power both preflop and postflop during every hand. There are only two positions you need to remember to discuss a hand of heads up poker.

  • Button – player with the dealer button, pays the designated small blind
  • Big Blind – the other player, pays the designated big blind
Heads Up Table Positions

Heads Up Table Positions – Click to Enlarge

Best to Worst Table Positions

Dealer Button

Your new best friend, he’ll treat you well

I quickly rank the best and worse table positions and describe why for about 10 minutes in the video. While I was able to cover the basics, the concepts all go much further. In many of my recorded play sessions you will constantly hear me talking about the power of the button and my ability to play more hands and take different lines because I have more information. I am also frequently bemoaning the times I must play from the blinds or out of position versus my opponent in general. Many beginning players do not realize that being in the blinds is actually a humongous disadvantage and even the best players in the world are likely to lose money when they play from the blinds. New players also haven’t realized that the button is their best friend and will win them more money than any other position during their poker career. Next time you see him, give that button a hug; he deserves it.

Ranking Table Position Reasoning
Best Button Last to act gives most you the most information. More choices equals more opportunity.
Good Cutoff
+Hijack in Full Ring
Not many left to act people behind you. Present a lot of good chances to steal the blinds.
Okay UTG +1/2/3 in Full Ring
Hijack in Short Handed
Little to no information. Must react to opponent’s position. Profitable if you are well versed in different strategy.
Bad Under the Gun First to act preflop and almost always postflop forces you to play premium hands and decreases your choices.
Worst Blinds First to act after the flop where it matters most. Forced to put in money with every type of hand.

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