Game selection is one of the best ways to increase your overall win rate in online poker. Even though players will work improving relentlessly on their skill sets to make a few more dollars per hour, many don’t even give a damn thought to the potential found in proper game selection. If you are unaware of the term, game selection is selecting the best games.
When you are seated at a table and see that a handful of others are running, you should always scout the line-ups in each game to see if there’s more potential easy money available than you are currently working with.
This is game selection in a nutshell, and the following sections outline tips and tricks that will go a long way towards your success in finding the best games running at any given time.
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Table of Contents
1. How to Find Good Games?
Navigating the vast landscape of online poker can be daunting, but identifying profitable tables becomes straightforward with the right strategies.
Assessing Player Skill: To achieve optimal game selection, it’s essential to distinguish players by skill. Categorize them as good, average, or bad. Aim for tables brimming with bad to average players while minimizing interaction with seasoned players. This critical aspect determines your success in online poker.
Utilizing Tools: The challenge is real for those unfamiliar with players’ strengths or playing without poker tracking software. Enter the HUD (heads-up display), your guiding light in this scenario. A consistently running HUD provides an instant snapshot of a player’s habits based on your play history with them.
Making Assumptions: Without substantial hand history with a player, your best approach is to assign them an average skill level. Chances are, if you’re a regular with ample hands to your credit, you’ve encountered most of the top players on your chosen poker site.
“In the game of poker, information is power. Equip yourself with the right tools and knowledge to find your edge.”
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2. Know the players
Understanding who you’re against is a cornerstone of successful online poker play. You don’t always need high-end tools to get insights into player behaviour.
Player Notes – Your Database: Even if you opt against using a HUD or any software, most online poker sites offer a gold feature: player notes. It’s an easy method to keep track of players’ habits. Whenever you notice patterns or specific behaviour, jot it down. Remember, while this method is handy, it demands your consistent attention. Sporadic notes won’t be of much value.
Quality Over Quantity: Ensuring your notes are concise and insightful is crucial. A common pitfall for many poker players is maintaining vague or out-of-context notes. Simply noting a single hand’s history won’t serve much purpose in future games. Aim to record an overall assessment of a player’s skill level in your notes. Such details will swiftly inform you whether you want someone on your table.
“The keen observer sees more in one minute than some do in an hour. Observation, in poker, is a silent strategy that speaks volumes.”
See also: 10 Etiquette at the Poker Table.
3. When to Flip Games?
In the dynamic realm of online poker, one principle remains true: always be on the lookout for a better game. Even when you believe you’re at the most profitable table, there might be another with opponents who are easier targets. The landscape of online poker is constantly in flux — tables emerge, disband, and transform.
Seasoned Players Are Always on the Move: Watch closely, and you’ll note that top players frequently switch tables. Why? Those dedicated to mastering online poker understand the art of exploiting weaknesses. They recognize that effective game selection allows for optimising their edge over opponents.
“In the game of poker, comfort can be a silent enemy. Stay alert, adapt, and chase the tables that offer the best odds in your favor.”
It’s crucial to never fall into complacency. Always search for your next opportunity, understanding that the landscape shifts rapidly in online poker. The trick isn’t just playing the hand you’re dealt but also choosing the table that maximizes your potential winnings.
4. Changing Seats: Maximizing Positional Advantage
In poker, it’s not just about the cards you’re dealt but where you’re seated about your opponents. Even within the confines of a table you’re familiar with, changing seats can transform your fortunes and grant you a strategic edge. This tactic, known as ‘seat hopping’, offers a nuanced approach to achieving optimal play.
The Power of Position: Your relative position can determine the flow of a game. For instance:
- If a formidable opponent sits at your table, strategically moving to an available seat to their left can grant you a distinct positional advantage.
- Conversely, if there’s a less-skilled player, acquiring a position that lets you frequently act after them can make decisions during rounds easier.
“In poker, the seats you occupy can be as influential as the cards you hold. Understand the dynamics and adjust accordingly.”
While some players may frown upon frequent seat changes, remember: your primary objective is to optimize your chances of winning. So, shrug off any critique.
There’s nothing wrong with leveraging every available opportunity to hone your advantage. Always be alert to the evolving dynamics of the table and adjust your position to suit your strategy.
5. Bum Hunting
One tactic that often sparks online poker debate is ‘Bum Hunting’. This approach targets explicitly perceived weaker opponents in heads-up matches, primarily intending to capitalise on their inexperience.
The Logic vs. The Reputation:
- From a strategic standpoint, selecting opponents more likely to win makes sense. After all, the end goal is to maximize profits.
- However, consistently adopting this approach can lead to questions about prowess and skill. It sends a message: “I only play against those I’m certain to beat.”
“In poker, as in life, it’s not just about winning but also about how you play the game.”
While most players might not care about bum hunting at lower stakes, the narrative changes significantly at higher levels. Engaging in this tactic at high-stakes games can erode a player’s reputation among their peers. The chatter from onlookers and fellow players can become a distraction.
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Game and table selection isn’t exclusive to the online realm. Its importance is equally palpable in live casinos, where dynamics constantly shift. You’re essentially equipping yourself with a crucial toolset by mastering online poker game selection techniques.
“Poker isn’t just about the cards; it’s about knowing where to play them.”
The online and live environments may differ, but the underlying principle remains the same. Choose your battles wisely, and your odds of increasing your winnings will elevate exponentially. The next time you’re at a casino, remember: knowledge of game selection can be your trump card.