One of the most fatal faux-pas that an online player can make is poor table selection. Too often, we’ll be bitten by the poker bug, boot up the lap top, and just dive in to the nearest cash game at Ignition Poker, regardless of the many factors that can effect your level of success.
Firstly, is this the game for you? Don’t play above your comfort zone. If the $2/4 game strikes fear in your very soul, then drop down to the $1/2. There’s no shame in moving down a level, or even two. The real shame is in demolishing your bankroll in a game that you know you shouldn’t have been playing in the first place.
Secondly, take a look at the players on the table. Do you recognize them? Are they fish? Sharks? Rocks? … and so on. If you can’t answer any of these questions, then perhaps you should consider taking notes on your opponents. Simply identifying someone as a strong player could save you many a dollar.
Thirdly, how many players are there? Work out whether you’re ‘A’ game works best at a 5, 6, 9, or 10 handed table. Perhaps your true skill lies in heads-up. Either way, play to your strengths and take a seat at a table that best suits your individual poker abilities.
Likewise, if you’re a limit specialist, then stick to the limit tables. No-limit can be a dangerous game, especially if you are predominantly a limit player, so resist the urge to jump in willy-nilly. If you do fancy dabbling in a different game, then start low and work your way up. Too often people fancy giving Omaha, say, a bash, only to launch into the first, and overly expensive, available game. Big mistake. Don’t assume that just because you’re skilled at one form of poker, you’ll be just as good at another.
Fourthly, and moving off onto a slight tangent, consider the monies at the table. Personally, I prefer to find a table at some US online poker sites where I can sit down with the chip lead before I’ve even played a hand. Everyone’s different, but if you favor this option, then be patient and wait for a suitable table, one in which you feel you can dominate with your larger stack.
Similarly, I always sit down with the maximum. I have faith in my ability and wish to extract the optimum amount of money from my opponent when I come to double up. If I lose $20, say, then I refill back to the maximum. I don’t want to lose out on any extra shrapnel just because I was unnecessarily willing to let my stack dribble down.
Overall, the message I’m trying to translate here is one of patience. Many players, some even at the top of their game, lack the will power to wait for a better opportunity. They are aware of the aforementioned factors, but they are too eager to get in the game… sometimes that poker thirst needs to be temporarily quenched.
If the table that best suits your game isn’t available, then wait