Position In Poker

As the number of necessary cards reduces your chance to improve your hand, your position in the order to bet also reduces the pot odds that you get. If a player front of you bets and there is a possible raise to your left, you should be aware of the fact that the possibility reduces your odds. For example, if the bet is $20 and there is a $100 in the pot, you will get 6-to-1 odds ($120 to $20).

When there is a raiser after you and the original bettor calls, you will then get only 41/2-to-1 if you call the raise. Even though the pot has increased to $180, you should put in a total of $40. If the original bettor re-raises, your odds reduces to 3 2/3-to-1. The pot increases to $220 (assume the rival after you calls the re-raise) but you have to put in $60. Your chance of winning, even when you make a hand, have clearly reduced with all that raising going between your rivals, implying that they have really good hands.

How the concept of position in relation to pot odds works out in practice? Suppose, in seven card stud you have a four- flush in six cards and a player to your right bets after making a pair with his door card. (The first open card that the player receives is the door card. When it is paired on board, trips, or three-of-a-kind, is a strong chance as the player may have started with a pair,) Simultaneously, the player with the open pair bets, you will note that a player to your left has chased a card which makes it look as if he has made a straight. Before you call the first bet, you should be aware of the fact that the player to your left may raise if he has made a straight (or even if he didn't). However, the original bettor may re-raise with three-of-a-kind or a full house. So before you call the first bet in poker, you have to consider your pot odds not at this moment but at the time when there is a raise or two behind you. You should also estimate about your chances of winning if you do make a flush. Of course, you can beat the straight but the question arise that whether the original bettor is a kind of player who can bet into a possible straight with less than a full house or at least three-of-a-kind.

Adjust your pot odds before you call a bettor to your right with players behind you appears in most of the games such as five-card draw, draw lowball, and hold'em where position is very vital. Suppose in hold'em you hold the

and the flop comes

you would have a strong hand with a top pair, but if you are in second position with a number of players after you and the player in first position bets, you must possibly give away your aces. No sooner the player in the first position suggest a great deal of strength with his bet than he can raise by such hands as an ace-king, ace-queen, and three-of-a-kind, that cut down your pot odds and then reduces the chance of your ending up with the best hand. Furthermore, the chance of calls from flush draws and straight draws after you weakens the strength of your pair of aces. You come upon the uncomfortable dual possibility of being second-best at the time and of being outdrawn on the last two cards.

Likewise, in seven card stud you may give away a pair of jacks in the hole if the player denoting queens to your close right bets. You can do think to be second best to the queens but the player behind you can raise, thereby decreasing the pot odds and chances of winning. However, you can call the bet in a late position, mainly because of the unreliable sum of your hidden pair, if you can catch another jack.

Extra outs

Since many players observe the consequence of position and exposed cards to lower the value of a hand, they also sometimes observe extra outs to increase the value of a hand. An out is the method of improving your hand. With four hearts your only out is another heart. But let's say you have two pair together with the four - flush against aces-up. Now, you have two outs. -To make a flush and second, a full house. Let's say you have a four- flush, two pair and an inside straight draw. Now, you have three outs - which means, three means of beating your rivals with the aces up, making an assumption that player doesn't fill. Each extra out raises the value of your hand and it raises it significantly more than may at first be clear. In a seven card stud to start with a two-flush and a pair is vital better than to start with a pair and no two- flush. In hold'em, a back- door straight (it is a possible that requires two perfect cards at the end) or a back-door flush draw together with a pair can change a fold to a call.

To know what effect these extra outs have, suppose we consider our hand as 7-to-1 underdog. Now we can note that there is an extra out that is, about 20-to-1 against coming in. Extra outs itself has a long shot, and so it enormously adds to our chances of improving. Changing those 7-to-1 and 20-to-1 odds to percentages, we have a 12 ½ percent chance and about a 5 percent chance which comes together to 17 ½ percent. Coming from percentages to odds, we can see that the extra out has reduced from a 7-to-1 underdog to a 4 ¾-to-1 underdog. With pot odds of, say, 5-to-1 or 6-to-1, a hand we had folded now becomes one worth playing. Always be aware of extra outs. Otherwise, you can fold hands with which you have to call.

To make a draw to the second- best hand

Equally important to determine that a hand needs improvement is worth a call is the question as to whether the hand will win even if you make it. You can lose your hand in various ways. It may happen since you are drawing dead - that is, your rival already beats the hand that you want to make. For example, when the open pair bet into a four-flush and a possible straight previous in this chapter, he would have bet a full house, but here you have no way of beating. It can also be possible that you make your hand and your rival makes better hand as compared to yours even though you are not drawing dead. For example, a four- flush might be up against three-of-a-kind. You can make a flush but your rival may even make a full house.

Under such circumstances, you must decrease your odds of winning or possibly give your hand away. Suppose, in seven card stud a four- flush against three-of-a-kind is a great underdog than a four- flush against two pair because three-of-a-kind is more than twice to improve to a full house. The capability to fold perfectly when you doubt that you are drawing dead or drawing a little chance with a best hand is single element that differentiates between a good poker player and an average player. However, bad players call thoughtlessly whatever it comes. They do not think about that they may be drawing dead and cannot adjust their chances to end up with a best hand when they are not drawing dead, by taking into consideration the possibility of rival's making a bigger hand as compared to them.

In hold 'em and other card games, you might sometimes draw dead because the cards which will give you the hand, will also give your rival even much better hand. Let's say in hold 'em you are having

and your rival is holding

and the board is

You can make a straight if a queen falls on the end and a straight beats three jacks. On the other hand, the queen may also give your rival to make a full house. Likewise, if you hold

and the board is

there is no card in the deck to make you a winner against a rival holding the aces of hearts and another heart. You will get a king-high flush with the heart at the end but your rival will get ace-high flush with the heart at the end.

If you make your hand and you think that your rival might beat you, you must adjust your odds of winning before making a comparison to the pot odds that you get. Suppose you are a 5-to-1 underdog making your hand and you get 7-to-1 from the pot. Your hand is worth a call by itself. But say you think there is 30 percent chance that your rival may make a hand, which he beats, the one that you try to make. Will you still call? Because of a 5-to-1 underdog you will make your hand one-sixth of the time that is 16 2/3 percent. Moreover, with 16 2/3 percent of the time, you will be better 70 percent of the time. Incidentally, instead of winning16 2/3 percent of the time, you will win only about 11 2/3 percent of the time. You will go to 7 ½ -to-1 shot from a 5-to-1 shot. What seems to be an easy call has become a fold.

Generally, you need not estimate your chances of winning so accurately, when the chance of drawing dead is given or being outdrawn after making your hand, you should better give away your close plays because they will diverge into losing plays. You have to overwhelm the double difficulty of having the worst hand in the first place and a chance of not winning, when you make your hand, you hope to make. Under such a condition, to call a bet needs very good pot odds.


We have discussed how to make use of pot odds and how to decide whether to call or fold with a second- best hand. When all the cards are out, your hand is worth a call and you think your chances of winning would be better than the pot odds. Just having one card to come in stud games and before the draw in draw poker, your determination to call with a hand that requires improving relies on the following reasons:

Your chance to improve, taking into consideration the necessary cards already been out against you (in stud) and any extra outs you can have.

A chance to win if you improve

The odds that you get on this next-to-last round of betting, taking into consideration the chance of a raise after you if you are not the last one to perform.

Your desired extra profits on the last round of betting if you are making your hand

The last reason is been called implied odds. It is the amount you desire to win either by betting or by raising on the last round (or rounds) when you make your hand. Implied odds will be discussed fully in Chapter Seven. Mainly, one must determine how pot odds would be affected when you decide to call in stud games or when there is more than one card to come and should look forward to call more than one round of betting.