Texas Hold’em, like most card games, is a social game. That means it will take at least two participants to actualize it. Yet, the maximal number of players to gather around the Hold’em table is ten.
Many experts have a different view on the ideal number of participants for the perfect game. Some of them embrace “the more — the merrier” rule, meaning that the ideal game of Hold’em will host from eight to ten players. Others will stick closer to the golden average, saying that the game of Hold’em is best when five or six players are involved.
The number of players that a Hold’em table can gather will affect the gameplay and strategy. But maybe you’ll find it more interesting that all participants fill in different positions around that table.
Nicknames of Poker Positions
Each of the mentioned positions has a nickname, which they got based on their placement around the table. The table can hold up to 10 seats.
The first two positions are called Blinds. Place number one is the Small Blind. It will act just before the last position in the opening round, but it will take action first in each of the following rounds. Since you’ll have to pay just to sit here, the Small Blind is for many gamblers the worst place at the table you can take.
The other blind spot is the Big Blind. This is not a recommendable place to take. You’ll pay twice the amount of the Small Blind. The good thing is that you can act first in the pre-flop round.
The third and fourth seat placed left of the Big Blind are named Early Positions. The nickname for the third position is Under the Gun or shorter — UTG. It is also called the First Position, but gamblers rarely use that name.
The term “Under the gun” probably originates from the 18th century. At least, that’s when it first appeared in writing in the U.S. It implies being under pressure to act quickly. The fourth seat is named Under the Gun Plus One or UTG+1.
The three seats that follow Early Positions are Middle Positions. Shorthand MP, these positions are known as “early” or “late” middle, depending on the seat.
The seat number five is commonly known as Under the Gun Plus Two. Some gamblers also call it the Early Middle Position. The seat next to it is the Middle Position, and the one next to that one is the Late Middle Position. If nine players are in the game, the Late Middle Position is excluded.
The best seats you can play the game of poker from are 8th, 9th, and the dealer’s seat. The eighth seat is The Hijack. It got its name when gamblers in this position started stealing the action from later seats and blinds from those before them.
The Cutoff is the seat right beside the dealer. This position got its name because the player occupying it would cut the deck before the cards are dealt.
The last place at the poker table is reserved for the dealer. It is mostly known as The Button, but gamblers also call it the Dealer, Dealer Button, and On the Button. It is the position that holds the cards (in a home game) and major benefits.
Playing a Six-Handed Game
If you, by any chance, decide to be part of the Hold’em game in which six persons participate, expect a few of the mentioned positions to be excluded. Apart from the Button position, around the table, you’ll find the Small and Big Blinds, Under the Gun, the Middle Position, and the Cutoff.
The Importance of Players’ Positions
Before you enter the Hold’em game, you should always take some time to consider which of the positions you want to take. That can have quite an impact on the way you play your poker hand.
The player in a position such as the Hijack, Cutoff, and Button has more input than those in the position of Blinds, Early, or Middle positions. In late positions, you have a chance to look while other players take action before you and figure out the strength of their starting hands. For example, if none of the players raises, chances are none of them has a high hand.
In later rounds, this will give you an idea of their investment in the hand, and it will make it easy for you to bluff. Since you’ll act last in post-flop rounds, you might win more, make more effective bets, and get to more showdowns.
Basically, this is why the number of players in Hold’em is important. It determines the positions that will take part in the game, and the player can make their strategy based on that. Now, whether you decide to play in a six-handed or a ten-handed game, be wise when choosing your position at the table.