While this may seem rather silly to some, there actually is merit to the question, "Where is the best place to sit at a poker table?"
No, I'm not talking about being closest to the bathroom or to the fridge. I'm talking about where the best place is for you to sit at the poker table in relation to certain types of players.
If you've played poker at all, you know that people approach the game in different ways — some by the seat of their pants, others very carefully. You have experienced players and novices, aggressive types and conservative competitors. Eventually you'll meet them all at the poker table, and knowing which seat offers you the best chance for winning — against whomever you might face — can only improve your game.
There is a general rule when picking your seat that you should always abide by. You want the most difficult players on your right. With that understood, here's where you should try to position yourself based on the following four player types:
1) Conservative or tight players — These rocks are no real threat to you, so, abiding by the general rule, you shouldn't really care all that much where they sit. Ideally, though, you'd want these players to your left so that you can pick on their blinds. If they happen to play with you when you've entered the pot, you can be sure they have a strong hand. Act accordingly. That wouldn't always be true with the next group of players.
2) Aggressive players — These are the players that you need to worry about. An aggressive player on your left means you're somewhat handcuffed. You have to play a little more conservatively now because having that monster behind you means you don't know what he'll do until after you've acted.
You'll always prefer the aggressive players on your right so that you can keep an eye on them and then spank them when they get out of line! Basically, you'll be able to use your position to exploit the aggressive player. If you have a seating choice, when facing both an aggressive and a conservative player, sit right between them with the tighter player on your left.
Things get a bit trickier when you're figuring out where to sit when playing either a novice or an experienced player, since you'll want both of them on your right to some degree.
3) Novice players — If you are playing with a rookie, chances are he's going to make a lot of mistakes, and you want to be in there when he does. So by sitting on his left, you'll have the opportunity to see whether or not he enters the pot. Since you'll have position on him, you can manipulate the novice much easier and force him into even more mistakes.
According to the general rule, you'll want players you worry about on your right, but in this case you are not worried about the novice since you can control or exploit him better if you sit on his left.
4) Experienced players — Well this obviously depends on how good the experienced players are, but generally these competitors surprise you less often than a novice player. They will most likely play fundamentally sound, which, while more predictable, doesn't necessarily make it easier for you. You'll want a tough, aggressive experienced player sitting on your right. But against a more conservative experienced player, you'd prefer him on your left rather than the easily exploitable novice.
You're not always going to be able to pick your seat — especially in a tournament — so it's important to know how to play against novice and aggressive opponents when they are seated to your left.
When the novice is on your left, all that really means is you'll have less opportunities to exploit him, but you don't need to make any major strategy adjustments.
With the aggressive player on your left, however, you need to make significant strategy adjustments. You really need to respect the fact that position is power, and since this competitor has it, you must concede your relative weakness a little bit and play accordingly.
From time to time, look to set traps for the aggressive player by slow-playing strong hands. This should help keep him from breathing down your neck on a regular basis. Other than that, just tighten up a little bit and wait for a better situation to arise — like maybe, switching seats!