Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cash games: Table selection

Remember the real state saying: Location, location, location? Well, I couldn't agree more in regards to poker. Table selection is everything in cash games if you want to show a continuous profit.

Since the WSOP, I have been focusing back on what I do best: cash games and I’ve been on an amazing winning rush this whole time. I started to think I was indestructible. However, can you be that lucky for that long or is there something that you do that others do not?

I know that I am really good at selecting the right game. I usually play small to medium stakes game, anything between 1/3 NL, 2/5 NL and 5/10 NL. I strongly believe that I was not "lucky" for two months straight, I just picked the softest game and kept showing a profit in the end. When doing so, one must leave the ego at the door. Let me give you some examples:

-If you sit in a smaller game while waiting for a seat in the bigger one and start winning very easily, when the seat does open up in the bigger game, there is NO reason you should take it. If you are running over that lower stake table, stay there. You are in it to make money, and you are.

-If you are playing in a game and you know all the players and they are all solid, why would you want to play that game? You want to pick a softer one. It's OK if there are a few solid players at the table, but you need a few that are weaker so that you get paid off when you do get a great hand. There is nothing worse than flopping a monster and having a great player making a hero fold with the 2nd nuts!

-Look around the casino... which table is having fun, drinking, gambling & playing big pots? That's the table you want! No matter what the limit is, as long as it fits your bankroll, jump in!

-If things are not going your way, do not hesitate to ask for a table change. If there are no good games, you are not doing great and it doesn't look like it's going to improve: Quit! Come back later, go to a different casino or take the day off, poker is not going anywhere. There's always tomorrow!

So that's why I get seen playing different size games. If you call yourself a 5/10 NL player and are not willing to lower your limit to pick the right game, you will encounter many losses on days that could have been lucrative if you had not let your self-esteem get in the way.

Time of the day is also important. Weekends can be good but you have to think that ALL the pro's are out playing. It's important to keep a log of your winnings, but also a log of where and when you play; to know which hours are the best for you.

I personally think that weekends are good in the afternoon. Most man at the table have dinner plans with their wife at around 7pm and only have a few hours to play. This makes them willing to gamble. They will overplay hands to try and make fast money, which unfortunately for them, is not the way to go!

Also on the weekend, most tourist go clubbing, they do not hit the tables before 2-3am, before that time, you will most likely (of course not always) find yourself with pro's waiting for the action to start. Sometimes after 2-3am the game can get really juicy.

Sundays are excellent! If you are not grinding online, you should hit the casino. It's usually most people's last day off and they are willing to play and gamble! There won't be as many games, but they should be great!

Weekdays can be hit or miss. Therefore you must be even more vigilant in your game selection and even more willing to play lower stakes.

Look for casinos with big conventions, after 6pm when their show is over, many business men will play for fun. Look for schedules online and follow the big ones.

Promotional tournaments (WPT, Deepstacks, etc.) also bring great action! They can also be great to follow.

I hope these tips helped you. You don't run lucky for so many months straight; you just pick your spots better than most.


  1. Well said, Annie. I also seldom play at the same table as hot blondes, I know how you think too well:):)

  2. A great read and thanks for the advise will put it to use.

  3. Nice tips - just discovered your blog from a shout from Mike on his twitter. I'm still pretty much a newbie - got interested about four years ago, then dropped out, and just took up poker again recently and grinding my way through the levels.

    Anyway, good points to consider, especially when I start doing more live games rather than online, although I try to find soft tables online as well. Thanks!