Assume the Position by Tommy Angelo


You’re playing live poker and you just folded before the flop. You’ve got a minute or two, maybe longer, before you get more cards. What to do? What to do? You could watch TV. You could turn the volume up on your headphones. You might order a beverage, or converse with a player. Maybe you’ve got some urgent tweeting to do. Heck you might even just sit there and watch the players play the hand. Whatever you do, it’s okay. You can still recover from it. Just as long as you do this one last thing:

Assume the position.

Imagine you’re in the middle of a big and dramatic headsup pot. On the turn, your opponent bets out. You have him covered. You say, “I’m all in.” And you freeze.

Your opponent pauses. His pause stretches into a delay. The delay elongates into a stall. After a while, the stall extends itself fully and becomes overtly annoying, to everyone, but especially to you, and he keeps poking his eyes at you, then looking at the wall or something, and then he stares at you again, and you look away when he does, and you’re trying to keep still and not give up anything, but you feel yourself squirming around because your body is not in a stable position. It’s weak. It’s out of control.

Have you ever found yourself semi-frozen in a slouchy, undignified posture and been stuck there during the all-in freeze frame? I sure have. Lots of times. And I’ve seen it too. It reminds me of that original Star Trek episode where people are frozen in time in whatever posture they happened to be in. It’s as if saying the words “all in” commits the speaker to a ritualistic stillness ceremony.

So, what to do? How do you insure that you will look strong when you’re being looked over?

Assume the position.

No matter what you are doing or thinking between hands, when the dealer starts dealing, stop. Stop, and pretend. Pretend you’re playing that big pot. You make your big all-in raise, and you freeze. Your opponent looks like he is going to take a while. Stop and imagine that moment. Imagine the posture you would want to be in. The one that makes you look good and feel good. The one that says I got no worries or hurries. And then assume that position. If you do this before every hand, you will know you have done your best.

Want more Tommy? His book, Elements of Poker, contains his best advice in his distinctive style. Buy it from Amazon or personally inscribed from his website at Also at his website you can read Tommy’s blog and all of his old articles, and find information on his one-on-one comprehensive coaching program.

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.

One thought on “Assume the Position by Tommy Angelo”

  1. I have watched a lot of TV poker but never gave this idea any thought until reading this. It does make me consider what I will have to do and learn in B&B play. Thank you for sharing.

    PS. Hope your hand is getting better.

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