The Importance of Table Selection

Selecting the table where you are going to play poker is a very important first step to take, before starting each session. Some tables will make you more money than other tables will make you. The secret to successful table selection is not something that you can pick up overnight, but rather it is a skill that you refine over the years.

It is important to understand that one person’s good table is another person’s bad table. You may like to steal blinds from a table full of Rocks, while someone else might prefer to try and catch a hand at a table of Maniacs. Being personalized is one of the reasons that it takes time to develop your selection skills.

In tournament play you are not given a choice of tables. In ring games you do have the freedom to choose tables and you would be giving up an edge if you didn’t make the effort. Realizing that table selection is important is a big step forward in the development of your poker skills. It is probably the biggest single moment, of growth, in your poker career.

You will see improved results almost overnight. Over time you will be able to select tables very quickly and easily. When you are selecting tables the first thing that you should do is filter out any tables at limits greater than your bankroll management system allows. After that there are a few basic factors to be considered.

Chip Stacks at the Table – You are only able to win chips that are on the table. Nobody can anticipate players leaving the table, new players joining the table, or players that choose to re-buy. So, the bottom line is that you have a better chance to win more if there are more chips at the table. This is especially important for no limit games but often holds true for limit and pot limit games. Tables that have the most chips are usually the tables with the higher average pot size.

Competition – Making good player notes will pay off in the long run by helping you to quickly rate the players at the tables. Depending on the poker site where you play, there are many data mining services, software that gathers history and helps you analyze it, and sites where you can look up a players win/loss information.

Table Action – Always check the average pot size while searching through the lobby. This average will give you a good idea about the complexion of the table and the bigger the average, the juicier the game will be.

Seat Position – Your position at the table is a very important consideration. If there is an available seat you should be certain to consider the players that you will have position on and the ones that will have position on you.

Balance – Just like it is with everything else in life, balance is often a good thing to find when you are selecting a poker game. Many people prefer not to be in a game where every player at the table is either playing too tight or too loose.

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