Poker night - assigned seats = cheating?

So for players that do regular games (in person), here’s what’s been happening in my local game. The host is ALWAYS taking the spot directly opposite to the best player. The best player wins fairly (just really good). But to increase his odds the host always takes the opposite side of the table. This is a 9 person table. The Best player makes a bet (could be a bluff or not, but he bets to test) to the flop (let’s say K-J-9 no suit), and the person to the Best’s left bets next. But the host sits newbies there, meaning unless they are holding one of the flop cards they fold. Between the Best player’s bet and the host, there’s usually 3 callers. If they all fold, the host knows they were likely holding low cards (we play Omaha HI/LO). If the Best makes a bet and gets 2 of 3 to call, it’s possible the Best is bluffing, and the host can now judge that before committing much to the hand. The host’s mandatory seating is giving him info on what was folded (by the would-be callers) plus what is now more likely still out there - and he gets this every game because he refuses to play any other seat (like next to the Best player). This past game, the Best player arrived late and sat in the open space next to the host. The Best player will sit anywhere and didn’t ask anyone to move - it’s the host that is angling and will ask others to move. So the best player took a seat to the host’s right, and the game changed dramatically. the host folded often; rarely raised; never called “pot,” and never called a straddle. (Prior games, the host would count others’ chips and then call “pot,” he’d straddle 4-5x during the games; and he raised very often. All that was muted and lost given his position). It was a totally different game given his spot next to the best player (who is just good - no issues with his play. he’s fair). But I had a chance to play opposite the best player (when the host was sitting to the Best player’s left) and woa, the amount of information I got was great. The best player still took alot of my money, but I had much better odds and was up for the night (which hadn’t happened in a year). It’s pretty obvious that a host that says “OK newbies, I’ll make it simple and just be dealer every time!” is effectively cheating. That’s clear. But what to say to the host that doesn’t want to play next to the best player and instead sits newbies next to the best play (so he can cheat an advantage for himself?) How would some of the more experienced folks respond to this? Please keep in mind these are live games (not online Replay); and we play for small stakes ($50 buy-ins). I am trying to estimate how much this is cheating, and what others would recommend as a fairer way to establish seating positions (when it’s clear there’s a really good player among the rest of us). Thanks!

The host needs to set the tone for the game which should always be friendly and fair.

Drawing a card for your seat would be ideal.

If the host assigns the seats, you always have the option of not playing in the game.

You did agree to his rules of assigned seats when you decided to play in the past.

Using the word cheating is a harsh word under these circumstances.

Certain advantages will always be there like the closest to the free pizza.

Try rotating the host duties. It would make it more enjoyable for all.

You’re making certain assumptions in your judgements that seem to weaken your points.

Considering the stakes and the friendly environment, I’d suggest focusing more on the positives.

Poker nights with friends should always be enjoyable and memorable.

Just the thought of cheating surfacing is out of place.

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I play a cash game in my home town, not a lot… or every week… but seating is first come pick your seat… I have been asked to trade seats once… but did not have to…if i did not want to move…

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I play regular games here on replay… so if you take good notes on players. you will find that some play very tight… and win most hands they play… use these players to your advantage… and try not to get involved w/ these players early in the game… let them help move you up to the chip bubble.or final table before you decide to face them…

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I totally understand your point, but I think this post was read with an air of good will. Not that there’s anything wrong with friendly games, but I’m NOT part of a “friendly game.” It’s a shark table with knives are out from the first hand. We are friends, sure, but we go “pro-poker mode” on game night and it’s everyone trying to eliminate everyone else’s stack completely. If you have an advantage on a hand, you go “all in,” and try to wipe someone out completely, even if it’s the first hand of the night. There’s no niceness to it what-so-ever. To that end, any advantage can be just that, an advantage. If you always make sure to sit across from the best player, that becomes your advantage. You get more info from the other players (that are not as good) before committing. Obviously, if a less good player raises on the Best’s initial bet post flop, you absolutely fold after seeing that. that’s obvious, and it works wonderfully if you position others around the table to feed you info on a bet. If nobody calls the Best’s bet post-flop, the callers had nothing they were holding that matched or built, leaving the “good” cards to your left or in the deck. It cuts down the chance for a bad bet dramatically. Friendly games may overlook strategic advantages like this, and less experienced players surely would miss it completely and just not get it. (Doesn’t the button keep moving? How can there be any advantage if the button moves!?) Right - but the position of best to advantaged player (host) isn’t changing, and that’s the point. This is not something I’m unsure about; it’s an advantage. Because seating position does matter, I’m looking for advice on how to address it tactfully from others that play regular in-person games and have witnessed similar tactics.