Archive for February, 2014

How to Table-Select Like a Pro

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

The importance of table selection cannot be understated. It can be the entire difference between being a winning player and losing player.

To illustrate this example think of five professional players, like Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, or any other professionals you like. If you play in a game with them, even if you play your very best it is unlikely you’ll be a winning player. On the other hand, if you play with five people who have never played the game, you can likely crush the game while fooling around.

These extremes of game difficulty aren’t present in real life, but at any limit there are tables that are easier or more difficult to win at than other based on who is sitting at it. There are three main habits you should introduce into your table selection if you don’t currently use them.

1. Keep a ‘Favorites’ list

Most major sites allow you to put players on a favorites or buddy list of some kind. If you get into the habit of adding bad players to your list, over time you will accumulate a large list. You can then search this at the beginning of sessions to see which bad players are currently playing and trying to get a seat at their table.

2. Limit Your Tables

To table select well you need to be able to actively scan the lobby for open seats at tables with fish on them. If you find that you’re too busy at the tables you currently have open, you may need to reduce how many you play. If they’re all healthy tables that you’re a sure winner at you can pause your lobby scanning until any of them look like they’re about to break-up.

3. Look for Common ‘Fish’ Signs

When you’re looking at tables in the lobby you first want to identify any fish at a table. Some common signs are:

  • Name of popular player in username
  • Buys in for random stack amount
  • Doesn’t auto-top up stack

If you see any of these players, try to sit down. At the same time, you should also look out for tables infested with regular players. Regular players, or ‘regs’, are typically the best players at a limit who play the most. While you shouldn’t be afraid of them, you won’t typically win much or any from them.

4. Remember Money Flows Clockwise

poker table

Image via Flickr by slgckgc

Position is a powerful concept in poker, which basically means that if you get to act after your opponent, you have an advantage because you have more options and information. This means that it is best to sit directly to the left of a fish, ideally within one or two seats of him/her. Since the fish will lose his money faster than an average player, the people directly to the left of him/her are likely to get most of it.

If you follow these four concepts, you will be able to continuously find games to play in that you are profitable in. Over time they will become instinct and it will take less effort to find good games. Do your best to put aside your ego and realize that some players are easier to beat than others, and you will have a long and profitable poker career.

Schedule for World Series of Poker 2014 Revealed

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

The annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest poker event in the world. While it used to be exclusive to the poker elite decades ago, it has consistently expanded and improved to allow everyone interested in poker to play a part of it.

Many events are televised and have live updates online so you can follow along with tournament progress.

If you want to play yourself there are many options at your disposal. There are side games and smaller tournaments that operate throughout the summer at surrounding casinos with poker fans and tourists alike. One bonus is that most of the elite players are at the WSOP tournaments, so tables are often extra soft.

If you have the desire and bankroll to do so, you can enter an event yourself. The buy-ins range from $1,000 to $1 million which means there’s a tournament for every budget. If you have previous evidence of tournament success you can even look into getting staked by other players to reduce the cost and risk you take on.

Finally, on all the major online poker sites there are satellites that you can buy-in for for a small amount and have a chance to win a seat at a major tournament. Depending on the site you may win an all-inclusive package that includes travel and accommodation costs as well.

Tournament Details

world series of poker chips

Image via Flickr by Plutor

You can see the official schedule here, which outlines the summer schedule. There are 65 events in total that start on May 27th at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which is the 10th straight year it has been held at this venue.

While the tournament schedule is similar to last year, it has nonetheless been improved in small ways based on player feedback. Veteran WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel commented “We have tweaked our schedule and feel very good about the opportunities it presents poker players of all levels.”

The main event is the final tournament as usual, and is expected to have a $10 million grand prize for the winner. It is a 10 day tournament that pits all the best professionals and amateurs against each other.

Another highlight of the series is the ‘Big One for One Drop’ tournament with the million dollar buy-in. This tournament is limited to 60 people and will have a grand prize of $20 million.

You can pre-register on the WSOP site or wait until live registration begins at the casino on March 1st.