Poker Table Seating Tips
by Rich McComas (updated Feb 6, 2004)
If possible, you want to gather some information prior to choosing your seat at a poker table. Seating position is not only a valuable key to winning, it is a key to losing smartly.
Wait to Start
Many casinos will allow you to sit at the table for a certain number of hands without playing. In most cases, you will have to make up blinds that pass you by, but it is probably best to wait till you are in the latest position possible at the start of play.
Before Old People
Sit to the right of (before) the oldest person at the table. According to casino statistics, older people are the most conservative players pre-flop, preferring to see the flop for as little money as possible, even when they have a great hand. Therefore, when you want to call in the small blind, you are much less likely to be raised
After Loose Players
If you have a chance to watch the table before sitting down, try to sit to the left of (after) the most aggressive (loosest) player at the table. That way, if they raise aggressively, you will be saved having to call and fold on a questionable hand.
After the Big Fish
The player at the table with the most money may be a fish with more money than brains, or they may be the best player at the table and have legitimately won all that money. In either case, you want to be immediately after them, so that you can make your decisions based upon their raises, which are likely to be frequent and sizeable. The last thing you want is someone like that after you constantly raising your bet, frequently forcing you to fold after having already made an investment into the pot.
After an Out-of-Position Player
If you can see that someone frequently plays out of position, betting with mediocre cards in early position, or folding too often in late position with a table full of players, then you want to play after them. I know of a couple of players who love flush draws even in early positions, so I try to sit to the right of them. Playing out of position is the sign of a bad player, and you should take advantage of them before someone else does.