Sloppy game selection

Sloppy game selection

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Dear Dr Tom,

I play low limit online ring games and generally just jump into any game going that befits my bankroll. Should I spend more practicing game selection and choosing an “optimum” game, and if so, what kind of thing should I be looking for?  


Dear Thomas, 

Wow! I’m surprised you can bring yourself to click the mouse you’re so lazy. But it’s pretty typical, I guess. Playing poker is fun, looking at lobby statistics is not. Yes, you should practice table selection. If you are brilliant, then you can doubtless adjust to whoever’s at your table unless they are brilliant too, and that stuff doesn’t get posted in the lobby stats anyway.

Assuming you’re not brilliant but still winning, then you’re either a recreational player or a grinder. If you’re the former, you make money at the table in order to play (so it doesn’t cost you to have fun). If you’re the latter, you play in order to make money. Your lackadaisical attitude to table selection suggests you are the former. Table selection doesn’t give you a colossal edge, because lobby stats can be misleading and temporary, and queues can be long for soft games so that when you sit down the fish has floated off belly up and you’re facing all the other sharks who smelt the money. But it is an edge, nonetheless. Poker is a pretty slim proposition when it comes to making money and boils down to taking every edge there is.

If you are a tight cards-based player, your all-important stat is average pot size. If pots go mental you can make money in these games by waiting to be dealt a big pair, A-K or catching a set. If you are a bit more imaginative, look for tables with high numbers of people taking flops. These are passive games with speculative players and you can use your instincts to know when to push players out of pots and when to keep them in to pay you off.


Tags: Tom Sambrook, Strategy, game selection