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Dealer Advantage in Poker

04.10.2010 -

When you're creating a perfect poker strategy it's important to consider every aspect of the game, and that means going beyond obvious factors like card strength, betting style and even reading your opponents. What else is there? Well position for one. A good strategy takes your position into consideration and works to either maximize an advantage or minimize a disadvantage. This concept is most easily applied to the dealer position, which undoubtedly offers smart players the most obvious advantages.

What Is Dealer Position in Poker?

Though both live and online poker rooms no longer allow their players to actually deal hands, the dealer position continues to rotate in every game. In games like Omaha and Texas Hold'em, the dealer position also dictates the position of the small and large blinds.

Why Is the Dealer Position Good?

The action of every poker hand starts with the player to the dealer position's left. That means that the player in the dealer position is always the last to act. It also means that that player is the farthest from the blinds and therefore in a tournament can coast the longest without making an investment.

Advantages of the Dealer Position

There are many advantages to sitting in the last position during a poker hand. Below are some of the most obvious and profitable ways that a player can utilize the dealer advantage.

Stealing Blinds

Most players favor the dealer position because it gives them a good opportunity to steal the blinds. If every player at the table checks or folds, then you know your opponents' hands are most likely weak. This gives the dealer an excellent opportunity to raise hard with a bluff or semi-bluff and potentially steal the blinds. Just bear in mind that this move is largely expected by other players, so if another player is betting hard you should probably pass on stealing the blinds that round.

Assessing Opponents

When you're sitting in the last position, you have plenty of time to assess your opponents. Their bets not just in the first round but also in the post-flop rounds will give you a good idea of the strength of their hands.

Assessing Your Own Hand

While you're gauging the strength of your opponents' hands, you should simultaneously be using that the determine the relative strength of your own hand. Sitting in the last position also means you have all the time you need to make a tough decision without running down the clock.

No Surprises

When you bet from the last position, you're working with the actual pot odds. At this point in the round you know exactly what you need to wager to stay in the game, and you don't have to worry about losing a modest bet to a hard raise you're not willing to call like you might in an early or middle position. Regardless of what bets have already been made, as the dealer your bet will ultimately determine the tone of the hand (and the size of the pot).

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