Improve Your Win Rate the Easy Way
Poker strategy is obviously the most important key to improving your win rate in poker, but it’s not the only way to increase your win rate. One of the easiest ways to improve your win rate at online poker is to practice table selection. If you already win at poker, playing against easier opponents requires nothing more than taking a little more time to choose the right tables.
Table selection in poker is talked about all the time, but people seem to get lazy in this regard. Sometimes it’s just easier to load up a few tables and start playing. But when you think about it, table selection requires very little effort. You just have to keep your eyes open for soft tables and be willing to move to a new table when the game goes stale.
Choosing Your Tables
There are two things in particular that I look for in new tables: a high “players to the flop” percentage and a large average pot. The players-to-the-flop number tells you how loose the game is playing. A high percentage tells you that the players are playing more starting hands. This means your competition is easy or at least that people are willing to give each other action.
A large average pot size is also nice to see, but it doesn’t always tell the whole story. What I assume when the pot average is high is that money is flowing around the table. This is always a good thing. It also indicates that people are willing to get money in the middle with less-than-premium hands. However, this stat can be misleading because a couple of big pots can skew the stat upwards.
So choosing your tables right up front is easy. Just look through the tables at your stakes and look for the ones that have the best stats. (Note: all poker sites provide this information in the poker lobby.) Choose the tables with the best stats and get to work.
Where people tend to get lazy is in moving tables in the middle of a session. If you multi-table like I do, it is easy to get into a routine and fail to notice when a table has dried up. Keep an eye on every table that you play at and be ready to switch as soon as the table goes bad. Don’t stay at a bad table out of laziness, pride or a desire to “teach someone a lesson.” Pretend that you are an emotionless terminator in search of the easiest prey.
It doesn’t take much to practice table selection, so you might as well get into the habit. All of my best months in poker have occurred when I took the time to play against the easiest competition. Table selection sounds like a basic skill, but you cannot overestimate how much it helps. Playing against soft opponents for a month or two will show you just how much table selection can help.
One of the greatest advantages of online poker is that you have dozens of tables open at any given time. Live poker players do not get this advantage. If you’re going to play online, you really should take advantage of the ease of finding new tables. All it requires is a few clicks and you’ll be hunting in fishy waters.