Many players think that table selection is a very easy process; you simply search for the limit you want to play and pick the first available table.
But if you wish to make a more consistent and considerable profit at poker you are going to have to rethink you table selection significantly. Good table selection can allow you to yield a greater profit from poker, and in a game where every possible advantage helps this is one concept you cannot afford to overlook.
Fortunately many poker rooms such as pokerstars offer vital statistics on each of their poker tables. It will be these statistics that determine the table you play at.
What is table selection
The first thing you should pay your attention to is the average pot size of each of the tables, tables with a small average pot size are generally tables that consist of mainly tight poker players, this type of players only push money into the pot when they pick up what they feel is a ‘Premium Hand’.
You should be aiming to join a table with a high average pot size, as these tables tend to have the more inexperienced or casual loose players sitting at them.
It is also advised that you look closely at the flop percentage of each table, if one table had a high flop percentage. This tends to mean that more of the players are playing mediocre hands, more often. This would allow you a chance to yield a good profit from the table. In the same respect if a table has a very low flop percentage, you should you stay away from that table, as you are then limiting your potential poker session earnings by battling tight players.
Finally before joining a table you want to know the general style and skill level of the players you are going up against. The best way to do this is to buy into your table, but then sit out and just observe how each player is behaving. Are they raising heavy on weak hands? Or do they only ever play premium hands?
It is by answering questions like these and profiling players that you will eventually become the winner at that table. A very high percentage of online poker players do not know the type of players they are up against, they purely play the 2 cards that sit in front of them.
You will need to adapt your style accordingly to counter act the general style of the table you have selected. If you can do this effectively you will find your self making a tidy profit. Below are some of the types of player you will come across in the poker rooms.
Loose/ Aggressive (LAG) – these sorts of players can be very dangerous opponents. Some of the world’s best professionals adopt this style; however it is very difficult to perfect it. So for the most part many players who play like this are potential gold mines. These players do all the hard work for you: they build up pots and force players with weak hands out of pots. All you need to do to successfully beat a poor LAG player is hit a premium hand and slow play the hand; this will allow them to throw large amounts into the pot. You then push all of your chips in when you hit the ‘nuts’.
Tight players – tight players are very easy to combat, if you get involved in a hand with a tight player who has not put in a raise pre flop, or shown any strength after the flop: you can be looking from that position to bluff this opponent, the chance is they haven’t hit the cards they were looking for and will fold. If however a tight player starts to show strength in a hand, it is advised that unless you are carrying the nuts, you fold your hand and save yourself from a potential loss.
Tight/ aggressive (TAG) – you should look to avoid these players, as they have built up a strong online poker game. You should only look to enter into a hand with them if you are holding a ‘premium hand’. But ideally you should look to join another table as TAG players are normally the types of players who make a good living out of online poker.
One final thought that may help you yield a better profit out of poker, is the time you play your poker. Many people work from 9am – 5pm give or take a couple of hours, the times they are home say 6pm onwards is a good time to catch the poker players who play the game as a recreational activity. These players are not so bothered with making a profit so tend to play as many hands as possible. This will allow you to make a tidy profit from them, also if you are available you should look to play late at night, after the pubs shut, as you get many drunk poker players just looking to throw their money away