The selection of the right table is a critical factor in poker. Many new talented poker players try to improve their skills in order to win more often, but the way to greater success lies in choosing the right poker table.
You should sit at a table where you have an advantage over your opponents. No matter how well you play, if you are sitting at a table with Sharks, it’s almost impossible to earn good money. The luck factor and the table fees would shrink the long-term profits.
So the logical conclusion would be that you find players you can beat, but how do you identify such poker players? There are several quick ways to analyze your opponents and see if you should participate in the game:
1. You know your opponent already. If you play in the same casino (online or offline), then you know your opponent after a while. Either you remember them or you’re simply making notes whether they are strong or weak poker player and who you see through the best.
2. Find out how loose or tight the game is. A loose game is a good one, because it has a high flop percentage and people are calling with medium strong hands. A tight game can also be a good one and it can be recognized when there are not many raises. If the players do not bet that much in a very good hand, then they will let you see the cards favorable. Against passive poker players you won’t lose much if you lose and against loose players you will win a lot if you win.
3. Another factor for choosing a table would be the number of fundamental errors a poker player is committing. Assuming you have read most of our poker articles then you should be familiar with basic poker strategies. So if you see people calling preflop with pretty weak hands and then they continue betting with a flush or straight draw on the turn/river without pot odds, then it is definitely the right game for you to join. Players that go along with such bad cards are doomed to lose.
Depending on your position, your opponents and the actual poker game you are playing you can handle middle pairs preflop in different ways. Lets see through some examples here
- If you are in a tournament and you are near the bubble playing middle pairs depends a lot on position. Actually if you are in early position I would recommend to even throw the hand away, since we are near the money (bubble) you don’t want to get in a nasty situation where you might get kicked out of the tournament. Here is a simple way how this could happen. You have 9 9 preflop and your are 3 betting from early position. Remember you are near the bubble and the blinds are already big enough so that a re-raise from another player could cost you nearly all your remaining chips. Even if he does not re-raise and the flop shows 10 Q 2 then your opponent could easily have a higher pair and you might be forced to throw away the hand and lose a lot of chips that you would need for the later part of the tournament.
- If you are playing a NL poker cash game with 6 players you can play a middle pair from pretty much every position. All-in and re-raises from other players after you already did a 3 betting should not be called with a mere middle pair, since there is a good chance (depending on your opponent) that he has a higher pair than you have.
- If you are playing SnG where the blinds are usually increased pretty fast a middle pair can become a double-edged sword. My advice is to play for example 8 8 and 9 9 more often at the beginning of the SnG when the blinds are still small and you can see the flop for a rather small chip count. While you should play them more cautious once the blind start increasing.
In all these examples I just listed you always need to consider that there are several elements who can affect these mentioned situations. Like the moods of the other poker players, or the position from where you starting. The amount of chips you still possess (tournament) can also be a big factor.