The Importance Of Table Selection in Poker
In order to maximize profits while playing poker, an often overlooked element to the game is selecting the tables that allow you the greatest opportunity to succeed. Its fairly obvious that you are bound to make more money playing against opponents whose skill levels are not equivalent to your own.
In live poker at a card room or poker room of a casino, your choices of tables are usually somewhat limited. However, online poker affords you a multitude of tables to choose from with just a few clicks of your mouse. This freedom of choice should be used to the utmost advantage.
Use Lobby Information
A simple scan through the lobby of online poker sites gives you a wealth of information as to what table you should sit down to play at according to your playing style.
Most online poker rooms give you statistics of how the action at each table is unfolding and the number of players at each table. For instance, each table will show both the average size of the pot, as well as the average number of players who are seeing each flop.
The pot size gives a good indication as to how much the players are typically tossing into the pot for each hand. The higher the pots, the more a sharp player can anticipate to win. Generally, you want to select tables with bigger pots on average. The number of players seeing the flop lets you know how loose the action is at the table.
If a lot of players are paying to see the flop, its a good bet that those players tend to play a wide range of starting hands, which is normally indicative of poor poker playing. If the average number of players per flop happens to be on the low side, the play at the table can be considered tight.
Based on the above information, you can determine the tables that will tend to be more profitable to you according to your style of play.
Consider Your Playing Style
If your style is more on the tight and solid side, you would most likely fare better at a loose table where you can wait for premium hands and pick the spots in which to exploit the loose play of your table rivals.
If you favor a loose game, your profitability would generally be enhanced by selecting a table where fewer players are seeing the flop and you can win a good portion of the smaller, uncontested pots.
Time of Day
Another factor that tends to influence profitability regarding table selection is the time of day that you play poker. Many of the casual and recreational players who are playing to be entertained and are not entirely focused on turning a profit will sit down to play online during evening hours and on weekends.
If your schedule allows you to time your play in such a fashion, you will undoubtedly find that you win more against the casual players or “fish,” as opposed to the grinders who can be found online during normal weekday business hours.
Search for Players
Most poker sites also have software features that allow you to search for certain players. This is an invaluable tool that you should use regularly. Whenever you spot a bad player or fish, make a note of his poor play and add him to a list of players lacking in skill who you enjoy playing and tend to profit from.
When you log on and sit down to play, you can simply consult your list and search for the players who are yet to grasp the finer points of the game. On a personal note, I have dozens of such players for each poker site that I patronize.
This is a great way to join tables where you are familiar with the playing styles of various players, as opposed to sitting down at a table of unknowns.
To make the most of each poker playing session, it is a wise decision to select the tables that give you the highest probability of a return on your investment over the long haul. To that end, it is in your best interests to use the tips offered above prior to sitting down at a poker table.
It isn’t difficult to take a few moments to scan the poker lobby and check the figures of pot sizes and players seeing the flop in order to select the best tables at which to play. It is equally simple to consult your list of bad players and to seek those players out upon logging on to your favorite poker site.
Also, keep in mind that table dynamics often change with some players leaving and new ones arriving. If circumstances have changed since you first sat down to play and the table may no longer be to your liking or profitable, it may be wise to find another table on which to play.
There are thousands of them out there, so find the ones with the worst players and those that suit your particular style of play. Your bankroll will be much healthier as a result.
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