Guest post by Mark Holland from http://www.sitandgoplanet.com
You can see other articles about poker here. Most beginning online poker players have a habit of finding the first available table of their preferred game and buy-in level and sitting straight down to play. This article will show you how taking just a couple of minutes to identify the best tables for you can significantly improve your profits – and give you a simple methodology to do this.
I will start with how to use the statistics available in the lobby area of most poker sites to identify candidate tables that best suit your style of play. Next I will cover how to identify whether the free seat or seats at this table is profitable for you. Finally the importance of regularly re-assessing your table and moving away if required will be discussed.
When you view the list of available tables at most online poker sites you will find the following statistics;
1) Average Pot Size
2) Percentage Of Players Seeing The Flop
Used in combination, these figures can give you an excellent insight into the style of play at each table. For example a table with a low average pot size and small percentage of players seeing each flop is likely to be a ‘rock garden’ with little action and players waiting for premium hands. Conversely big pots and high percentage of players to the flop indicate a loose and wild game!
Picking the most profitable table for you is largely a matter of what style you play. If you like to play a solid game, carefully selecting hands and making sure you have a good edge when the money goes in, then the looser tables could be hugely profitable for you. If you like to play aggressive poker, building your stack by taking stabs at lots of small and medium-sized pots, then the tighter table could well be ideal. If you are still developing your own style I would still suggest taking the time to look at the statistics, unusually high numbers can indicate that a table is full of fish.
Once you find a suitable table I would advise taking the seat immediately, there will often be other players looking for a good game. Whether you stay in this game depends on where certain players are seated relative to your position, and is again influenced by your style of play.
Imagine you find a seemingly good table, and then see the player on your immediate left raise or re-raise most of the first 10 pots. Now, if you are a tight player this might be ideal, you can wait for a hand and then trap the rest of the table with a timely re-raise after they have called your aggressive opponent. However, if you like to get mixed up in lots of small pots and play after the flop then this situation makes your style difficult. If we take a tight player and put several small stacks between them and the active players we might also have an unprofitable situation, while having those loose players directly on the right (acting first on the majority of hands) would be very profitable indeed.
Key to selecting the most profitable tables is to ask yourself whether the situation is right for your game. With the number of tables available online there really is no excuse – you can add a significant amount of cash to your bankroll by finding the easiest games, so why sit in the first game that comes along?
Finally, tables change quickly online with players leaving and joining. It is easy for 1 or 2 key players to move and a table to change character in just minutes. Keep reviewing your reasons for sitting in a game – and ask yourself whether there might be a more profitable table out there every 20 to 30 minutes. Your hourly rates can only benefit!
Mark Holland runs a large network of poker strategy websites and is the author of the 4-part course ‘The $16 / Hour Sit And Go Blueprint’, teaching beginning players how to profit from 1-table tournaments. You can join this acclaimed course at Sit and Go Planet today!