Why Table Selection Is So Important
Aug. 3, 2011
When I started learning how to play Texas Holdem I always read that table selection was one of the most important skills that a good player needed to develop. Like most inexperienced players I tended to ignore this advice for many years. But once I started paying attention to my table selection my win rate went up. Here is some advice on table selection and a story to illustrate why it is so important.
If you are the ninth best poker player in the world then you are a profitable player. But if you happen to sit at a table with the eight players who are better than you then you will be the worst player at the table, assuming a nine-person table. If you sit at any other table in the world instead of the one with the eight best players you will be the best player at the table. Do you think you will win more at the table with eight better players than you or one where you are the best? That is why table selection is such an important part of every good poker player's skill set.
The most common problem is that you don't know the skill level of all the players at the tables you are considering. There are two things you can do to help you pick the best tables in these situations. The first thing you need to do is make sure you are always paying attention to how the other players at the table are playing. Take notes either while you are playing or after your session and remember players tendencies. If you know how good three or four players are at a table it can give you a good idea of the overall ability at the table by watching the action for a little while. The second thing you can do is take the time to watch as many hands as possible before choosing a table. Watch how many players see each flop, how much pre-flop raising there is and what kind of hands are going to showdown. This can give you a good understanding of how good the table is.
It is easy to get in a hurry and just take the first seat available, but this can reduce your win rate over time. Remember that poker is one continuous game that lasts a lifetime. Even if it takes an extra hour to find just the right table situation you will come out ahead. The next time you think you will just grab a seat without checking out the competition, think of the being the ninth best poker player in the world story.
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