Position, Position, Position is pivotal in poker, much like location is crucial when selecting property. As we gain experience, we often prioritize it, even above vital factors such as our hand’s actual value! Strict adherence to positional considerations becomes imperative for any aspiring successful online poker player, guiding their approach towards optimal strategy by leveraging tried-and-tested conventional wisdom. However, poker, like life, has its complexities. Circumstances might not always align as anticipated, especially given online poker’s inherent complexity. Pre-emptive awareness of many special situations, away from the table, is worthwhile, so we’re not caught off guard or found reinventing the wheel. Particularly, understanding the significance of position—or sometimes, being out of position—during a pre-flop raise and a subsequent continuation bet when three or more players see the Flop becomes essential. This scenario, often encountered, might seem counter-intuitive initially and thus merits mindful consideration. Despite position being paramount and warranting utmost respect in decision-making, most players inherently believe it’s always vital to have, without further pondering any seemingly extraneous circumstances.
Let’s delve into the classic scenario of a pre-flop aggressor and examine how our position, and that of a third player, can influence a hand’s trajectory. When we, on the Button, and the Big Blind are the only players calling a pre-flop raise from someone in mid position, it’s tempting to see our position against both remaining players as advantageous. But what usually unfolds next when the Flop comes in such a common situation?
Continuation Bet Roleplay…
In online poker, especially at lower stakes, players often defer to the pre-flop aggressor, effectively yielding them the floor to persist in their role. It appears almost obligatory for the caller to check and for the pre-flop raiser to make another bet to maintain momentum and control. Consequently, the BB, acting first, usually obliges with a check, and following the nearly predictable continuation bet, we’re next in line to act. At first glance, having position on both players seems to grant us an exploitable advantage. Yet, reality may place us in a potentially tricky spot! After the aggressor bets, we act next. However, at this juncture, it’s the BB, rather than us, who has positional advantage in this post-flop betting round. Furthermore, we’re caught between the player, who may have a strong hand they’ve been representing from the start, and the BB, who thought it apt to call the original raise. Thus, the BB, though initially in the least advantageous position, now wields power by concluding the betting, armed with information about the commitment demonstrated by their opposition. On the Button, we remain somewhat in the dark about the pre-flop raiser’s hand strength and the BB’s intent. Were they automatically checking a missed flop, or sitting on a strong hand, allowing their neighbor to boost the pot for them? In conclusion, while we may technically have position, we find ourselves making decisions without full insight, ironically stuck in the middle.