Table Selection in Poker

by admin | posted in Poker articles

How to Use Table Selection In Poker

Table selection in poker is the act of looking for soft tables in order to improve your win rate. The nicest thing about table selection is that it can be used to increase your win rate without having to change a thing about your game. Table selection requires very little effort but it can yield major results over the course of days, weeks and months.

The key to getting started with table selection is identifying the type of players you do best against. For the average tight-aggressive poker player, the best players to play against are the ones we know as “fish.” These players have a loose-passive game in which they see lots of starting hands and chase lots of draws. If you do better against maniacs and loose-aggressive players, you can also use table selection to find those players.

The goal of table selection is to find tables that generally fit the profile of the type of players you like to play against. You will rarely find a table at which every single player is a fish, but it is often possible to find tables that have the general attributes of a fish. Doing so is actually quite easy thanks to the stats that online poker rooms provide in the poker lobby.

Practicing Table Selection in Poker

The primary method for table selection in poker is to use the poker lobby to identify tables that look juicy. At any online poker room, a list of tables is displayed upon logging in. This list of tables also includes stats that describe things such as “players to the flop” and “average pot size.”

The most useful stat in the poker lobby is the one that tells you the percentage of players seeing the flop. This stat tells you how many players actually stick around to see the flop every hand. The higher this number, the better. A propensity to play lots of hands is a strong indicator of a weak player.

The average pot size stat is also useful because it tells you how tight or loose the players are with their money. Tables that have large average pot sizes tend to be looser and full of more action than tables with low average pot numbers. This stat is not perfect, but it does help.

Observation and Table Selection

The secondary method for table selection in poker takes place once you have actually joined the table. You can use your own eyes to find out how well the other players play. Pay close attention to the action and look for fishy characteristics such as:

  • Playing lots of hands
  • Limping into pots without preflop raises
  • Calling raises from out of position
  • Check-calling frequently
  • Poor starting hands displayed in the hand history
  • Reckless bluffs
  • Chasing of draws
  • Angry or misguided chat box chatter

None of these attributes is a perfect gauge of fishiness, but together they give you a pretty good idea. This method takes a little longer so it is best used once you have already used the table stats to sit at a few tables. If you notice none of these tendencies, you may not be at as good a table as you thought.

Table Selection and Flexibility

Table selection requires you to be flexible because you will need to change tables occasionally to find the best tables. Players come and go all the time in cash games, so you have to be willing to get up and move if a table goes bad. This requires no effort online, but it can still be tempting to be lazy and stick with a table you’ve been at for the last hour.

Table selection does require a little work, but it’s well worth it. If you constantly search for soft tables, your win rate will have no choice but to go up. I can personally tell you that some of my best months in poker were a direct result of practicing table selection.


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