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Table Selection Cash Games

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Game Selection in NL Holdem

A lot’s been said of game selection in online poker i.e. choosing which tables you enter and I agree with this point. Below I’ll tell you the all things you should be looking out for in good table selection.

Firstly, in the ring game lobby you can see two pieces of information – average pot/hr and number of hands per hour.  You should always choose games with the largest average pots because this is where the loosest opponents will be.  The bigger the “average” pot, the more dead money will be available for you to take away.  Importantly this rule isn’t always true, for example in games with very good players the pots will naturally be enlarged.  Conversely in games with lots of nits playing too tight the pots can be smaller. However generally speaking at least in lower stakes i.e. NL25 – NL100 you can rely on this rule.

Another thing I will look at when picking a cash game is stack sizes.  Players with stacks below 50xBBs are never good players. Good players will always buy into cash games with 100+ big blinds, so the more small-stack players on the table the weaker it will be.

Player profiling

This is really important because you definitely want to avoid playing the “regulars” who are less profitable to play against.  How can you tell who’s a regular?  Two ways, firstly you can go by experience and take down notes on any strong players you’ve previously encountered; secondly you can check the search player function to see who’s multi-tabling.  The regulars at most online poker sites multi-table – so when you see someone playing 4+ tables it means they’re better grinders.

Choosing a Seat

Yep, even choosing the right seat can affect how much you earn in the long-term.  Basically you always want to sit as near left to the fish as possible (hopefully directly to his left) – this gives you position and is a crucial advantage to getting more value from the table.  It also helps you to isolate the fish in more hands which is important.  For example, if I know he’s playing a loose-passive game and limping alot I can often raise or steal with mid-hands pre-flop in position, and if everone else folds except the fish then I can extract more value from my big hands in heads up play.

Play Up or Down a Level

It’s never a bad idea to be comfortable playing a “range” of levels in cash games.  For example, if I’m a regular NL50 player I’ll occasionally be playing NL25 and NL100 just to give myself more options when it comes to table selection.  This is particularly important on poker sites with limited traffic, or when you can’t get a seat right away.

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