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The Importance of Table Selection
Jeff "CodeRedRulez" Lipsey has been an instructor and administrator on Grinderschool.com since 2008. Subscribe today to download and view his over 175 poker strategy videos.
A couple years ago, the term Table Selection became a poker buzzword thrown around and no one really understand how to define it. But, if you look at the factors where our winnings come from, the easiest way to win more money is to use better table selection.
In a cash game, our win rate is a function described as:
Where the variables stand for:
M= Our Play
O= Our Opponent
C= Our Cards
T= The Table We Are On
S= Seat selection
In general, we are not able to determine how our opponents will play a given hand (being able to put him on tilt is a different topic); also, we are not able to determine what cards we get (or you may assume everyone gets the same cards). Learning to play correctly is the first thing that should be done anyway so we will not include that here as well. That leaves the final two functions: Table and Seat Selection.
Honestly, a relative beginner with good fundamentals could beat higher stakes if they found the right tables. Do not play against the best players at your stakes if you want to make the most money unless you have the desire of proving yourself out there against the best the best. I plan to always find the worst players and pound them over the head until they go bust.
When looking for tables, the most important factor is position. Ideally, you want the donkeys on your right and nits on your left. You are able to isolate the horrible players with raises and re-raises; meanwhile you force the nits to play their hand face up against you every time.
My favorite players limp in pre-flop and see a lot of flops, only to give up on later streets. I want him to see a lot of flops and I want to be able to raise him to isolate with as much playable, marginal crap as I can. You would be amazed at what kind of cards I get away with, and sadly, my raise is usually for value. If he hardly ever raises hands, then that is also a plus because you can put him on a narrow range of hands when he does raise.
Another type of player I love to play against is the maniac: someone that raises over 25 percent of their hands or more in a full ring setting (30 percent in a 6-max setting). These guys play a lot of hands, and pay you off hard when you hit your own monsters. One caveat, you must have these guys on your right, as having these guys on your left can be a nuisance and if I can find a better table where you have position on the maniac then I will leave.
If no better tables are out there, however, I would rather be on a table with one donkey no matter where he is located than not sit at all.