When you are in the casino, the actual sitting position of the professional dealer never changes. However, the professional dealer is only handing out the cards for convenience – to allow the players to concentrate on their game. The notional position of the dealer, indicated by a plastic button or chip, rotates one position clockwise with every hand that is played. On poker night, you may sometimes hear the dealer referred to as the button. The plastic chip often has the word button on it, and looks nothing like a normal poker or casino chip, so it doesn’t get mixed up with the players’ stacks.
The reason why in casino games the notional position of the dealer changes each hand (and in social games it does so visibly too) is because it’s considered a big advantage to play late in a round of betting – so to the right of the dealer – rather than to be in one of the early positions to the left of the dealer. The later you play, the closer you are to the player with the button, usually the better. You can wait to see what move everyone else makes, and use this in you poker strategy before making their move. That’s why being dealer is considered the best place to play, and it’s also why, in social games, the role of the dealer rotates through everyone at the table, moving one position to the left with each hand. This is so that every player at the table has the same opportunity to take advantage of the position.
It’s important to be aware of the advantage that position brings. If you have just played a hand in the position of dealer, you have to remember that a few hands later you will be in a much earlier position at the table. Paul Phua says that you should play many fewer hands in an early position than in a late one, like the dealer position.