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Choosing a poker table

Being a good poker player has so many variables to it, that it is extremely difficult for a rookie to understand and to cover them all. I wish I could tell you that your success at the poker table is solely dependant on you and your poker skills, but unfortunately it isn't so. There are several factors which have little or nothing to do with how good you are at the table.


Table selection is one of them. Most online poker players grossly underestimate the importance of this non-play factor, but the sad fact is, regardless of how skilled you are, you will only be able to make as much money as your table allows you to. Poker is a multi-player game: its outcome depends as much on your opponent as it does on you.


Therefore, if you feel you find it impossible to make headway at your table, or if you do win but you feel you ought to be able to do better, don't be afraid to move to another table. This is not about superstition as there is no such thing as an unlucky seat (and given that poker is a predominantly skill-based game, even if there were, it wouldn't matter). This is about getting rid of the opponents whose style is obstructing you or limiting you capabilities. Poker has nothing to do with heroic antics and the need to prove a point: if you play for such a reason don't be surprised if you never make any money.


The bottom line is: get up and move to a table which suits your skills better.


What exactly should you be looking for when searching for the right table? Well, for starters let the noise guide you. Some tables are alive with table talk and laughter. Such a table is always a better choice than one shrouded in eerie silence. These guys are having fun over there, they're less likely to mind giving some of their chips up and maybe they aren't as focused either. The online equivalent of a loud table is one where the chat feature is flooded with LOLs and chatter. It's been accepted as a general truth that players who are there to do a job and to stay focused use the chat feature less frequently than fish who are having a ball at the table.


Take a look at who's sitting at the table. If you recognize people there and remember them as being good players, stay out of their way. The same goes online: check the notes you've made on the players sitting there: that's what that feature is for.


If you take a seat at a table and later realize all those guys there are rocks, it makes perfect sense for you to move on. You're not going to make as much money on rocks as you will on a calling station or on a loose-aggressive maniac, so your time is much better invested elsewhere.


Also check the stacks involved at the table and how they measure up with the blinds. You can only make money off a table where there is money to begin with. If everyone plays on a short-stack that will also increase the possibility of all-in (and you having to call it) which in turn increases variance and puts your bankroll to the test.


Table selection is an entirely different undertaking online than it is offline. The beauty of online poker is that there are at least 3-4 more tables at the limit of your choice, and that in the least popular rooms. Bigger poker rooms offer tens of tables on every limit, which means your table selection options are almost unlimited. The decision to move on from one table to another should therefore be much easier to make online.


Author: Steve


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