Position is something that matters more in certain poker variants and less in other ones, but it is always a consideration that you need to make when formulating both your overall poker strategy as well as the tactics that you are going to employ in order to make that strategy work. The importance of position in poker is therefore something that should always be in the back of your mind when you are making the various decisions that come to you during a poker game.
In order to consider position in poker, let us take an example that is one of the most ubiquitous poker decisions at the current moment in time. Say for example that you are sitting in a Texas Hold Em cash game and have been dealt the hand 8-7 suited. From your study of starting hand strategy in this particular variant of poker, you know that medium suited connectors are good drawing hands, but unlikely to be anything for anyone right at the start of the game.
Now, take this scenario further and consider that you are in the under the gun position, meaning that you are the first person to act in the first round of betting after the two blinds have been placed. What would you do with this hand? If you are following solid starting hand strategy, you would fold the hand. However, if you are following that same strategy and are on the button instead of under the gun, you would consider calling with this hand, especially if there have been multiple people in front of you limping into the pot in order to take a look at a flop.
Why is this? The reason has to do with position. When you are under the gun, you are in early position and that means that you are going to have to act without knowing anything about what the other players at the table have to do. When you are in later position, you have the benefit of knowing what other players did before having to make your own decision. Therefore, if you call with your suited connector under the gun and a bunch of people raise behind you, the end result is that you are dead in the water. If you wait and nobody rises however in later position, it is a much better call to make. Knowing what other people have done in the round before you is a powerful weapon and good poker players utilize this positional advantage for everything it is worth. In games like hold em where positions are established for the entire hand, it is a massive consideration to make.
After reading this article, you should have a good grasp on the basic notion of why position is important in poker. Now that you know that, use that information to your advantage.