Sports & Games

Understanding Position

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 12:30 min

Learn how to immediately improve your game by playing the right cards at the right time. Daniel evaluates early, middle, and late position strategies and provides tips on how to capitalize on the opportunities that each position affords.

Daniel Negreanu
Teaches Poker
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So if you ever watch poker on TV, you hear them talk about position a lot and position being super important. And I think one of the easiest ways to explain the importance of position, is to use, actually, a blackjack analogy. Right? So many of you, I imagine, have played 21, blackjack, and when you do go to Las Vegas and play, you know, there are situations sometimes that come up where you've got 14. Right? And the dealer is showing a four. So the best the dealer could have is 14. The problem is, you have to go first. Right? So you go first, and you're going to hit on the 14, some of the time and bust. So the dealer doesn't even have to draw a card-- automatically wins. Now, using that analogy in terms of how it works with poker is, when you're the button and you get to go last and your opponent goes first on every street, you gain so much more information. Right? And most flops that you're going to see come out, are going to be flops that both players miss. Like, when you have a hand, like king-queen, you're not a favorite to make a pair on the flop. Usually, you're going to flop not such a great hand. So what that means is, the player who wins the pot, is typically the one that's going to take the initiative, be more aggressive. And it's easier to do that in position because you get the information first of your opponent checking or betting before you. So being in position is simply just a position of like, you get to control the game a lot more easily than you can when you have to act without having any idea how your opponent feels about the flop, turn, or the river. There's two positions you can be in, in a pot. You're either in position, or you're out of position. When you're in position, that means you get to go last. When you're out of position, you know, you don't know what's going to happen behind you. You might get raised. You know, you might get bluffed. A whole bunch of bad things could happen. So think of it like-- imagine it was boxing, right-- so when you're out of position, you want to keep your guard up. Right? You want to be very defensive and you want to be careful, because you're at a disadvantage. Right? You can play possum sometimes with strong hands, as well, because you want to keep a balance. And then, you know, conversely, if you are the player in position, you want to be the one throwing the punches. Right? You want to be the aggressor. You're the one who has control of the situation. You're the one in position that's looking to maximize profit, whereas typically, your train of thought out of position is minimize and protect. When you're in early position, like, really the best defense against people that are overly aggressive is to fold more. OK. So that's just the way it is. Unfortunately, that is the number one best way to do that. Now, that's not to say, you know, when you get a really good hand, you're not going be able to profit, because you know that your opponent is supposed to...

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Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Very entertaining even though I am not a poker player. I was able to learn how to read people and situations from the advice Daniel gave.

I enjoyed it very much, a lot of content which allows me to take my game to a higher level. Daniel is a great communicator and is easy to follow!!

It was good but would be more for beginner and intermediate poker plays with less than 2 years of live playing experience. Daniel is a good teacher

This is amazing! I've played recreational poker for 20 + years. This class has crystallized some ideas I thought worked and shed light on strategies I was using wrong. Thanks Daniel!


A fellow student

Lately, I am getting dynamite hands "all day long" and the flops are worthless. I have lost more money getting these great cards because of raising and people calling and then my flop goes South. Last week I had Ace/King 11 times and did not win once. We all say you have to get the cards to win, but I am now believing that you have to have the flops. How do I handle getting great cards with terrible flops?

A fellow student

[Spoiler Alert] One thought that I had for the scenario described in the quiz at the end, if it was early in the game, wouldn't it be better for the BIG BLIND to raise? Since it's early, the players have little information on one another, and each player would expect the other players to play *rationally*. If the SMALL BLIND and the BIG BLIND are playing *rationally* and call before the flop, then it is likely that one of them has an Ace. Since the third player is on the BUTTON, their options for opening are far wider than the two BLINDS. It is most likely that one of the two BLINDs has a stronger hand than the BUTTON. An Ace is revealed on the flop. Once the SMALL BLIND calls, the BIG BLIND should raise to bluff the BUTTON. The call from the SMALL BLIND combined with the raise of the BIG BLIND sends a strong signal that the BIG BLIND is sitting on a pair of Aces.


Hi guys. Do you think these charts can be used online as well, or this is for live games?

A fellow student

In appendix 4 it shows two different charts for SB and BB but they are not labeled I guess the BB would be looser and the BB would have a wider range correct?

Elliott K.

Very informative lesson. I do have one question though. How does this change when the amount of players change? For example if I'm in a Sit & Go starting with 9 players, this is great! But, as players are knocked out, assuming I'm not one of them, how does this change? Especially when down to 3 players and heads up.

A fellow student

I don’t see his name in the upper left hand corner? How do I get to the PDF on my iPad?

Emily B.

Why are the blinds considered early position when you are the very last to go and you get better pot odds. Can someone explain please?

A fellow student

This is amazing content. Agree it’s intermediate level, exactly what I was looking for to take my next steps in poker.

Ben S.

As someone who plays a lot of poker this is really great. However, he jumps right into a lot of things like "the card" which ranks how valuable each pocket hand is. Also, it assume's we're playing Texas Hold'em without saying so. If you have experience with poker I'd recommend. If you're very new and never played outside of a house party, maybe get the basics somewhere else before diving into this one.

A fellow student

Hey I love this sesh. But I'm downloading the PDF and says access denied...