Poker is a game of skill that is highly competitive, challenging and at times very rewarding. This is why you need to know how to effectively make use of your strengths while at the same time exploiting your opponents’ weakness, if you want to enhance your chances of winning. In this aspect, knowing how to identify the “fish” players is crucial.
A player is called a “fish” if they are new to the game and are still prone to committing careless mistakes in their play, such as placing the wrong bet amounts, messing with the blinds, failing to identify the weak and strong hands, and so forth.
Most of the time, these blunders arise from the player’s lack of experience and knowledge about the game. They often have a gambling mindset – they’re not that good but they’ll play anyway, because of the potential to win big.
Here are the key signs that you should watch out for when hunting for the fish at the poker table:
Look Of Discomfort
New players usually look uncomfortable when the game starts. This is mainly because they are still trying to familiarize how the game works, and are somewhat wary of their moves. The bottom line here is that they still don’t know all the rules. So try to observe the first few hands in the game. If someone looks unsure, chances are, they are most likely a beginner.
Playing Out of Turn
Because of their unfamiliarity of the rules, fishes usually play out of turn.  Some of these newbies start playing online with the aid of apps, which notify them when it’s their turn to act. But things are different at the live felts. Nobody’s going to tell you when your turn comes. While the experienced players also sometimes lose track of turns, the beginners commit the mistake more frequently.
Inconsistent Play Style
The more experienced poker pros know that the game also requires a certain level of “inconsistency” to avoid predictability. However, they usually stick to a particular strategy or style according to the hands at play. Things are quite different for beginners. You’ll notice that their style changes almost everytime, even when they’re dealt similar hands. This is usually manifested in the sizes of their bets.
Too Emotional
In poker, it is important that you know how to manage your emotions and not let it get in the way. Regardless of the results of a hand, you must do your best to hide your emotions so other players won’t be able to easily read what’s going on inside your mind. Unfortunately, most beginners can’t do this. They leave their emotions everywhere. The behavior is displayed when they bluff, or when they’re holding weak or strong cards.
Playing Too Many Hands   
This is one of the most obvious signs that an opponent is a fish player. Usually, they play 40 percent or even more of their hands. This is way too much, even if you’re playing full ring.
They Usually Limp
Another common behavior among beginners is that they usually limp. This practice refers to the act of checking and calling, instead of raising, and this is indicative of a weak player. Players who make limping a habit are usually end up losing. The more experienced and skilled players would normally decide to bet on selected hands aggressively, and would raise pre-flop to increase their odds. Beginners are unfamiliar with this strategy.
If you know how to spot the fish players, you will gain an advantage, given that you are the more-experienced player. The good news is that these newbies give you all of the above signs more or less when they are at the table. What you need to do is to observe them and figure out who is the fish at the table. Once you know that you are competing against a fish, you can then formulate your strategy around their weakness, leading to a higher chance of winning!

TightPoker Staff

TightPoker Staff

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