Table Position is one of the most vital ingredients in order to have success at the game of poker. You get the position first, then you get the power, and finally, you win the pot!
Poker is a game played with limited information. The more you have, the better quality decisions you will be able to make. Generally, new players are often eager to learn different variants of poker, rules, simple techniques, and poker hand rankings that they ignore and eventually forget the importance of poker position.
Although where you sit at the poker table has nothing to do with how proficient you are, but it can affect how well you can play if you don’t understand how to play middle position poker.
The middle position is similar to playing your hands from an early position, but the advantage of sitting at this position is that your starting hand requirements can become a little less strict. In this position, you will likely get some upper hand on some of your opponents. But don’t forget that you are also at a disadvantage to anyone sitting next to you, so proceed with caution.
What is the middle position?
Middle position poker refers to the players who are the first three players just after the small and big blind and before the last two players before the blinds - any players who are not early or late position players. In this position, you have a better chance to play hands than the early position since your positional disadvantage is not that great.
Hands to use when playing in middle position poker
When the pot is un-raised, you can play hands like AA, AK, QQ, JJ, AKs, TT, AQs, AJs, KQs, AK, 99, JTs, QJs, KJs, ATs. AQ, T9s, KQ, 88, QTs, 98s, J9s, AJ, KTs, 77, 87s, Q9s, T8s, KJ, QJ, JT, 76s, 97s, and 65s when the game is challenging. On the other hand, in a loose-passive game, you can also play hands like 66, AT, 55, 86s, KT, QT, 54s, K9s, J8s, and 75s.
If the game is loose and aggressive, however, some of the weak hands like K-J and 10-8 should usually be discarded. If you raise the pot, you may find it difficult to steal the blinds as the player in the later table position may try to isolate you (make it three bets).
You may also read about the Poker position Hands Matrix
Even if you are not the first player in, don’t forget the strength of your opponents’ hands. Furthermore, the weaker your opponents are, the more hands you can play. To put it another way, you can only play average hands against weaker opponents.
Middle poker position strategy
If you are first in and the game is loose, you should play small pairs and medium suited connectors in a different way than you would play if you were in the early position. If the hold’em game conditions are optimal, you can also enter the pot in an early position. However, if you are in the middle position and no one has willingly entered the pot, you will not likely be able to get the multi-way action that the poker hand demands.
Let’s take an example:
The game is loose but not too aggressive, and you assume good actions on the flop. It will be appropriate to play 2♠ - 2♣ if you are the first one to take action from an early position. Nevertheless, if the first three or four opponents pass in the very same game, you should fold your hand. But if you do play and you do not get the multiway action that you prefer, you will find yourself isolated by an aggressive player. Until you flop a set, you will be playing a weak hand out of position. This same comment also applied to hold’em hands like 8♠7♠.
However, the circumstance will change if there are two or more opponents already in, and you may expect a multi-way pot. If the game conditions are ideal, 2♠ - 2♣ and 8♠7♠ can become a playable hand.
Another differentiation between the early positions and the middle position is that you basically never just call as the first one might be with big suited connectors like Q♥J♥.
The key reason for this is that if you raise after many of your opponents have passed, some of them may think that you are trying to steal the blinds (with poor hands). As a result, if you have a strong hand, you can raise it most of the time. Thus, if you are the first one to bet, you can raise your hand with cards like AA, AK, QQ, JJ, AKs, TT, AQs, AJs, KQs, AK, 99, JTs, QJs, KJs, ATs. and AQ. Doing so is also usually the right step to take if there are callers to your right. When there are callers, though, do not consider raising 99, JTs, QJs, KJs, ATs and AQ. If you have any of these hands, think of how opponents play and whether you want to play with many players or just a few players. If you think your opponents have premium hands, make sure you call; else, you can raise. If you prefer to play with several opponents having hands like JTs instead of AQ, this is another situation to just call (when you are not the first one to bet) with 99, JTs, QJs, KJs, ATs and AQ hands.
You may also read Why is Poker a Skill Game?
You can also raise KQ and AJ, and the time to raise is when you hope that your raise will:
a) Keep the pot short-handed.
b) Knockout the majority of the players (if not all) behind you.
And neither of the players who is strong has entered the pot voluntarily. This will also benefit from having tight players in the blinds. If such a thing does not happen, the best thing is to only call with these hands. And also, if any one of your opponents has limped in who is likely to hold a monster hand like AA or AK’s, it is better to fold. If the pot has been raised already, always reraise with AA, KK, QQ, AKs, and AK. Additionally, you can seldom reraise with other best hands, like 9♠10♠ or 9♣9♣.
Don’t forget; these raises are made so that you can change your gameplay and make your opponents fold. Nonetheless, often raising with such hands will be very costly. Furthermore, you should fold your hand if the pot has already been raised.
One online poker strategy that you must follow when it comes to the middle position is that you must always raise your hand instead of calling when:
1. You have playable hands AA, AK, QQ, JJ, AKs, TT, AQs, AJs, KQs, AK, 99, JTs, QJs, KJs, ATs. AQ, T9s, KQ, 88, QTs, 98s, J9s, AJ, KTs, 77, 87s, Q9s, T8s, KJ, QJ, JT, 76s, 97s, 65s, 66, AT, 55, 86s, KT, QT, 54s, K9s, J8s, and 75s.
2. None of your opponents has entered the pot.
3. When you think that there is some chance that all your opponents behind you (even the blinds) will fold their hand.
If conditions one or three are not met, you can generally call expect with your premium holdings and can fold the weaker hands (basically 66, AT, 55, 86s, KT, QT, 54s, K9s, J8s, and 75s) which you would have otherwise raised.