On the button – player position and what it means

Example of position in texas holdem
Image via Wikipedia

Your position relative to the other players is an import part of the Texas Holdem game to learn and understand.

For the following explanation, I am going to use a card table that has ten players to illustrate my point (plus the diagram that I found also has ten players). For the purpose of explanation, there are going to be two blinds or forced bets, one of which is a small blind and the other is a big blind. I believe the reason that these bets are referred to as blinds is because the players must make these bets without first seeing their hole cards thus the players are betting blind. Generally speaking, the amount of the small blind is usually half the amount of the large blind. For the purposes of explaining position and betting, I am going to use the amount of $1 for the small blind and $2 for the big blind.

In all online games and most casino games there is an official dealer that just shuffles and deals the cards to the players. The dealer himself does not get any cards. In Texas Holdem, each player gets a chance to be in the position of the dealer in that a button with the word “Dealer” is placed in front of him. Cards are dealt out in the following manner, clockwise, starting with the player to the left of the “dealer” or “button”. The first player to the left of the dealer button is usually the “small blind”; the player to the left of the small blind is the big blind. All of the players are dealt a card at a time starting with the small blind until each player has two cards. Once the two hole cards have been dealt, the player to the left of the big blind is first to act. This position is sometimes referred to as “under the gun” because that player must decide whether to call the opening bet of the big blind or raise or just fold his hand. The first three positions to the left of the dealer button are usually referred to as the “early positions”. The next three  left positions are referred to as the middle positions and the remaining three positions are called the late positions.

Part of the reason that position matters is that the betting order can help to determine who stays in a hand and who folds a hand. The type of betting will also play a factor in the betting action. In a “Limit” game, the amount of bets are in increments of the big blind and usually no more then four raises of that amount can be made during any particular round of betting. In a “Pot” limit game, the maximum bet amount is limited to the amount of the “Pot” that would result if everyone made a bet equal to the size of the big blind. As there can be up to four rounds of raises at each stage, the maximum amount or the pot can become real large real fast. Finally, “No” limit bets must be at least the amount of the big blind and can be as much as a player has in front of him. (He cannot just reach in his pockets and buy more chips during the play of a hand), hence the name, “No Limit”.

Generally speaking, the earlier the position that a player is in, the better that player’s hand should be to get involved in the betting and raising process. The later the position, the lower the starting requirements are for the late position player.

How each type of Holdem is played, how the betting is done, and what the results that can be is a topic for another time.

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