UK Poker Player Poker Strategy Articles Position, Opponent, Cards.

Position, Opponent, Cards.

Posted by David Cowell on November 30, 2010 at 1:59 GMT

The POC rule (Position, Opponent, Cards) is an exceptionally important one when it comes to success at playing in multi table poker tournaments. It is a thought progression that should be used every time it is your turn to act, and is the order in which every player should be considering their options.

There are some general rules about position that you will already be familiar with. The later you are in the betting, the more knowledge you have, and the better-informed decision you are able to make.  Your position on the table will also influence the size of your bets (if that is the action you eventually decide upon) and the consequent reactions of those behind you in the betting. It can also allow you to build a pot, bluff a pot or steal a pot, or make the mistakes which you later come to regret.

That is why your second consideration has to be your opponents. Are you playing on a table comprising mostly passive players or aggressive ones? Does the player on the Big Blind tend to defend his chips? If you bet too much, too early, are you going to be outbet by a player with a larger stack than you? Or, is the size of the bet going to encourage a short-stacked player to shove all-in? Irrespective of your position, if you make a bet, it is not just the two or three players between you and the button that you have to consider – the whole table may still have a betting decision to make.

Then we come to the cards. Irrespective of their pre-flop strength, you may find they are outdrawn by a pair turning somebody else´s hand into trips or better. At specific times in a multi table poker tournament, the same cards will have a different value to you – for example, you might try to limp into the flop with a medium pair at the beginning of a tournament, but when the blinds are much higher, or you are at the fringe of the bubble, should you be making the same betting actions with the same hands? That is largely going to depend on your position and your opponents!

Bad cards in an early position can still make a good hand if you are playing against the right opponent(s). Conversely, a good hand against passive players can turn sour, if you do not make it too expensive for them to be involved in the hand when you are in late position. All of these points have to be factored in when deciding to bet, call/check or fold, however, the golden rule is consider your position first and your cards last.