One of the most important aspects of poker is what position you will act during a given hand. When you have position on your opponents and act last in the hand, you have a decided advantage as you will be able to make your decision with the most amount of information. Many experience poker players feel they would never lose a hand if they had position on their opponents, showcasing just how important this aspect of the game actually is.
The biggest advantage associated with having position over your opponents is the amount of information available to you when it is your turn to act. When you are first to act, you do not know if the other players will raise or fold to your bet. This can make it difficult to choose the best course action during a given poker hand. However, when you are last to act, all of the other players in the hand have made a decision and tipped you off to the strength of their hands. Being able to use this information that is now available to you can make it very easy to determine what your course of action should be.
Having more information when it is your turn to act is beneficial both pre and post-flop. Analyzing your opponents’ actions, taking note of whether they checked, bet, or raised, and keeping a close eye out for any tells are all things you can do while in position and waiting for your turn to act. Then, when it is your turn to act, you will be able to process all of the information you have gathered to make the best decision possible given the current circumstances.
Having positional advantage over your opponents allows you to make more moves. When your opponents are making their decisions, they will have to keep you in mind since you will act after them. They will constantly be wondering what you are holding in your hand and whether or not you will raise their bet. Giving off signals as if you are going to raise any bet or bet yourself if checked to can scare your opponents off of betting a marginal hand and checking to you in position. If you have a weak hand yourself and would like to see a free card, you may act like you are going to bet or raise to induce your opponent to check to you so that you can check as well and see the next card for free.
When you have position over your opponents you have more leeway when it comes to making these types of plays and forcing your opponents to make mistakes they otherwise would not have made.
When contesting a huge pot, having position on your opponents can take a lot of the pressure of the hand off of you. Since you are last to act and will be able to make all of your decisions with the most amount of information possible, the hand becomes a bit easier to play. This is why many experience poker players will avoid playing huge pots when they are out of position and be more willing to get all of their chips in the middle when they are in position.
Having position over your opponents is such a huge advantage that you should be more willing to gamble and play bigger pots when you are in position as it is easier to place more pressure on your opponents by making big bets and raises yourself.