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Poker Strategy: Cash Game Table Selection

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Patience: Not Just In The Game

Patience is a word that gets tossed out a lot when talking about poker strategy – and for good reason! It’s certainly one of the most important traits to have a hold of when determining your skill level. However, it’s amazing to see how many players will take this particular skill and throw it out the window when its needed the most.

I chatted with several amateur friends on the subject of sourcing out online cash games and I was amazed to hear that the majority of them would sit down at any random table within their limits and just start playing. This meant that they learned about their opponents skill while playing with their own money. That’s like buying your mortgage before stepping a foot into your brand new house or having the building inspected.

Playing good poker is not only about making good decisions while on the table but also embracing opportunities to give you that edge beforehand.  Take that extra bit of time to research your table and you’re well on your way to maximizing your potential profits.

Finding the best table to play is not always simple, but a little research can go a long way. It only takes one bad player at the table to make a game profitable and if you can find at least one player at a table that is substantially weaker then you, you’re already ahead of the game.

Basics Of Table Selection

The majority of online poker rooms will provide extra statistics in their lobbies that can drastically reduce the amount of research time you will need. The first column you will want to explore is the one called Average Pot Size. The higher the amount this is, the more likely you will have very loose action. Compare this number to Players Per Flop percentage. The higher this percentage, the more likely you will have opponents who stay in raised pots with mediocre hands.

Once you find a table you like, take a few minutes to watch a few rounds of the action. In particular, take notice of how many hands each opponent plays each round. This is will allow you to plan out a basic strategy to employ against each of your opponents as you will already know who are the tight and loose players at the table.

Choosing Your Seat

One highly overlooked skill is selecting the best seat at the table to maximize your profits. Bluffs will work best on tight, passive players so try to position yourself so that they are to your left side in order to maximize your potential blind steal attempts. On the other side of the spectrum, you want to have good position on the maniacs at the table so try to keep them on your right side. It’s not always possible to get the best seat, but if you have a decision to make, it’s always best to make it an educated one.

Timing

Each poker site will have a peak playing time centred usually around a small group of time zones. If you have a flexible schedule, you can find some really juicy cash games by playing the “late night” crowd, particularly on Thursday to Saturday nights after the bars and clubs close. The online world is full of bad poker players and many of them choose the worst time to play: when they are drunk, or high, or both. Punish them for making bad decisions!