• Why Position Affects Your Ability to Bluff in Poker

    Added - Oct. 21, 2014 Poker

    Position matters for a lot of things in poker, and most of the time people are just told it's an advantage to be in position because you act last. However, one thing that's interesting about the game is that you should actually bluff more often in heads-up pots when you're out of position. We're going to show you why that is, how it works and what you can do to take advantage of this fact in the following.

    Start off by remembering the goal of a poker hand: You want to make the choice that gives you the highest overall average value for your hand. When you're in position with the option to bluff, you'll have to choose between bluffing or checking. When you check in position, you get to see the next card or showdown 100 percent of the time. However, that's not the case when you check from out of position. If you aren't sitting with a hand that's good enough to check/call with, and you shouldn't be if you're choosing to bluff, then you will be folding when you face a bet yourself. Along these lines, it'll only check through a certain non-100 percent amount of the time.

    What this means is that the value of checking in position is higher than the value of checking out of position with all else being equal. When the value of checking is higher, then that means it will be better than bluffing a larger percentage of time. Along this line of thought, you can see that checking being better in position means that bluffing is the better option less of the time in position, so you'll be finding more relatively profitable bluffing opportunities out of position.

    This is anti-intuitive for a lot of reasons, but you have to keep the goal of poker in mind: to do the best with the hand you're dealt. Overall, this type of approach will help you to make the best plays more often than not, and when you apply it to the issue of position in heads-up pots with bluffing, then you can see what the end result is. Generally speaking, there will be other factors that go into deciding whether or not you should be bluffing, but position will indicate that you should bluff less in position and more out of position, and that makes sense because you can't just check through automatically out of position.