While live and online poker follow essentially the same rules, there are major differences in both settings that present some huge challenges especially for transitioning players.
During these uncertain times when the live poker scene across the world still remains dark and silent due to COVID-19 restrictions, a lot of players who are used to grinding the live tables are now shifting to the virtual felts to continue their hunt for decent prizes and great value. The online poker room environment is very much different from a live set-up, and so players will need to to make huge adjustments, starting from choosing the table where they can be most productive.
Importance of Proper Table Selection
Most online rooms allow players to use an alias while competing, making it difficult to figure out whether a certain table is made up of weak players or highly-experienced pros. Proper table selection is crucial if you want to be successful in poker, especially if you’re still a beginner. Frequently choosing the wrong table will lead to significant losses, which in turn might potentially end your career early.
Definitely, you’d want to come after the “fish” players, those who are prone to playing bad cards, as your chances of winning are higher when you play against them. You’d want to avoid the regular pros, or those above your league, as you will most likely fall prey to them. But how can you do that if you’re looking at tables full of players hiding behind screen names, sporting different nationalities? How will you know if a table has a lot of fish players?
We’re here to help you find the answer, but first, you need to familiarize yourself with some important stats associated with tables.
Get Familiar With Table Stats
The first thing you’d like to check on is the level of stakes at the table. It’s important to know the sizes of the small and big blind, and the bet size involved. If you see a 5c/10c table, that means the small blind is 5 cents, and the big blind is 10 cents.
It is also important to consider the limit of the table you want to play. Limit comes in three major types – No Limit (NL), Limit, or Pot Limit. It will give you an idea what kind of game you’re playing. Also check on the maximum number of players allowed to join the table, and how many players are actually seated at the moment. If the stat is 7/9, this means that you’re looking at a 9-player table, with two unoccupied seats.
You’d also want to look at the wait list, for you to know how many players are waiting for their turn to join the table.
Are you a slow or a fast player? You may choose the table according to your speed preference by looking at the number of hands dealt per hour. It tells you whether or not the table is fast-paced, or slow. If the number of hands is high, that means the table is fast. Another stat on display is the average winning pot values for each table.
Choosing The Right Table
The available stats above will guide you in selecting the most profitable table, but there’s one more thing you need to consider, and this is what will give you an insight into whether or not you’re competing against fish players – the players per flop.
This data will show you the average number of players who do not fold before the flop, and those who call the bet pre-flop.
Based on studies, these players are most likely the “weaker” ones who tend to chase losses and are prone to making bad decisions. If a table shows a 30% player/flop at a table comprised of 10 players maximum, then this tells you that there are an average of 3 players that see the cards on the flop, meaning there are at least 3 big blinds in the pot.
You need to play against these players to consistently win and build your bankroll. You can start with the table showing 20% player/flop. The higher the number, the better.

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