Button Position Strategy in Texas Holdem Poker

Texas Holdem is a game of betting.  Of all the poker games and variants played in the world, Holdem has become more popular in recent days than any other type has in history.  The main reason for this is the betting strategy involved.  There is very little more thrilling than bluffing, check-raising, and going all-in.  There is no more satisfying way to win than taking the money without having the cards.

There is also a downside to the emphasis on betting strategy.  A large part of the depth of the game comes in the complexity of the betting systems.  The most important thing to remember in Texas Holdem is the position of the dealer (also called the “button position” because the dealer usually signifies his position with a round button near his chips.)

In a classic Texas Holdem game, the button moves to the left every hand, and the blinds are directly to the left of the dealer.

casino poker chipHow do these positions relate to the button position betting strategy?  Most fundamentally, the dealer button and the blinds are good strategic positions.  The reason for this is simple: the closer you are to the button, the more people are forced to act before you.  The more people act before you, the better you can evaluate your hand strength.

For example, if I hold a jack and a nine off suit, I would normally not even think of participating in the hand.  However, if I have the dealer button in hand and every player before me folds I would consider either playing the hand or simply raising the bet to buy the blinds.  The blind positions are also advantageous for the same reason.  It would at first seem that they are in an even better position than the dealer, but that is not entirely accurate.

The dealer is not forced to pay any bet that he does not wish to pay.  The blinds, however, are obligated to be in for at least part of the pot. This would at first not seem to be a large draw back, but it should be noted that most hands are not play worthy in Texas Holdem, and this means that the blinds usually will not get any return for their blinds.  The main advantage in the blinds is that the big blind usually gets a chance to check through to the flop.

The other positions on the table are usually easy to estimate.  A general rule (not always true, but often enough for the amateur player) is that the positions closer to the dealer on the right side are better, and the position to the left of the big blind is the worst position.

Poker is a game of odds and information.  Being in the better positions gives one access to more information which in turn makes for better determination of the odds.

Another factor to take into account is the play style of the players around you.  If you observe that the only players who are in when the action comes to you are the looser players, and there are few players after you, a higher bet is justified.  Consequently, if all the tight-fisted players have already tossed in their chips, it may be better to sit this one out.

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