Table Selection & Player Types in Poker

Untitled-1Most people are constantly looking for ways to improve their win-rate in poker and often enough, players think that they have to learn some very advanced concepts in order to do so. Well, unless you are playing highest stakes with the best players in the world, this is far from true. Actually, you can still earn a good amount of money by being a solid player and concentrating on table selection, yes even in 2013. There are still many terrible poker players out there, willing to give you their money. All you need to do is find them.

I like a quote that I once found while browsing around the Internet: ‘’You can be the 9th best poker player in the world, but you will still lose if you play with the first 8’’. This is so spot on and really describes the current poker environment. You see regular players constantly playing against each other, even though the edges are very slim. Why? I don’t think it has something to do with edges at all, but rather egos. Poker players tend to be quite selfish, often egocentric. They believe that they are truly elite players and that whenever they lose, all other aspects are to blame, not themselves. You’ll hear words unlucky, variance, swings, but what you won’t hear or will rarely is something like ‘’Yes, it was my fault. I was playing with better opponents who outplayed me.’

What’s my point? Leave your ego somewhere far from the place you play poker at. You won’t be able to buy a new car or provide for your family with ego, but you sure can do both of those things from poker earnings. What I’ll concentrate on in this article is table selection and spotting weak players at the table. This is still something many good players are not utilizing, but after you read this article, you will.

What’s The Point of Table Selection & How To Do It?

The first and most important reason why you must table select is your win-rate. You will have a chance to face weaker opposition, thus you’ll be able to win way more money. That’s not all of it though.  When you face weaker players and have a large edge against most of your opponents, the amount of variance or standard deviation decreases drastically. What does that mean? It means that once you start to carefully select the tables you play at, the amount of swings that you experience will decrease and by a lot.

So what’s a basic way of selecting tables? Well, for one, you can use the lobby. All modern poker sites now display various data and statistics, such as VPIP, PFR and how many hands are being dealt an hour. Some poker rooms will also display the amount of average pot in the currency game is played in. All of this, can help you to determine how many ‘good’ players are at that particular table.

Other way is color coding your opponents. Again, you can mark your opponents using various colors at most poker rooms. This can help you to instantly spot the weak players you’ve player before as well as help to avoid the good players that you should also almost always mark with a color.

Most Common Player Types

It’s also great to have some awareness in regards to what are the most common player types. Of course, each player is an individual type, but the truth is that we can easily make the most commonly found ones. This should come in handy if you are quite unexperienced yourself.

TAG (Tight Aggressive) – these are the ones you will be looking to avoid. With avoiding I don’t mean that you can’t join a table where a player of this type is sitting, but rather that you are not looking to play much against them. As a general rule, these players play very and only their best hands, but when they do play, they almost always raise or bet.  Unless you are an advanced player, these players will be tough to beat and exploit, so don’t get into wars with them.

LAG (Loose Aggressive) – now this is a style that most top world’s poker players play in, but luckily for you, there aren’t many players at small to medium stakes that are knowledgable enough to pull this style off. You can spot these players easily, as they will play way to many hands before the flop and will be very aggressive overall. How to adjust? Simply play a TAG style and let them give you all their money. Avoid making hero calls and play strong holdings.

Loose passive – these are beloved by me and one of the most profitable and hassle free players to play against. They will always play a ton of hands, but will do so in a passive manner, by calling whenever possible. That might not seem good, but what they do postflop is just about the same – calling. You should valuebet them very thinly and NEVER bluff them.

So that about sums up this basic article about selection of tables, spotting player types and how all of that will help you win more money playing poker. I hope you were able to gather a useful piece of information from reading this.