7 Steps to Better Table Selection

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 by Gugel in Poker Strategy

Table selection is really, really important.  It can make a losing player into a winning player and a winning player have a godlike winrate.  To illustrate my point, take kaintd77.  He has a 18.17BB/100 winrate over 198,412 hands.  Is he good at poker?  Of course.  But he’s not that good.  I’ve never played with him, but from what I hear, he’s a bumhunter, a player that only plays donks and fish.  Nevertheless, that winrate demands respect (at least in my book).

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase.  Here’s what I do for game selection.

The standard strategy for me is to just open up 3 or 4 tables.  It’s really like fishing (pun intended).  You wait around a while and hope to snag a big one.  The regulars know who I am and we tend to avoid each other.  If someone sits down with me, I automatically assume he’s a fish.  I’m right about 95% of the time.

If I’m not getting any action, I start hunting around for a table.  Here’s what I do in FullTilt:

1. Open up a table
2. Look up the player on PokerTableRatings.com

poker table selection step 1

3.  If he hasn’t played very many hands (a few thousand or less) or has a negative winrate, I label them with a blue color-coded marker.  I’ll know in the future that I should play this guy.

poker game selection step 2

poker table selection step 3

poker game selection step 4

4. If he’s played extensively (tens of thousands of hands) and has a mediocre winrate, I give him a purple color-coded marker.  I’ll play him if there’s no one else around.
5. If he’s played a lot and has a high winrate, I’ll give him a red marker and try to avoid playing him.
6. In the future, instead of opening up each individual table, I can just scroll down FullTilt main window and see by the color-coding who I should be playing.

poker table selection step 5

7. The longer you table select this way, the easier it gets.  There’s less and less new people to categorize and eventually you’ll just be able to sign in, scroll down, and see blue, purple, and red markers next to almost every player at your stakes.

Have any table selection strategies of your own?  I’d love to hear them.  Post a comment!

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4 Responses to “7 Steps to Better Table Selection”

  1. jmac

    17. Feb, 2009

    How accurate is pokertableratings.com? I’ve looked up myself and it says I’ve only played 58 hands although everday for the past month I’ve played for a few hours, always cash games at the same stakes.

  2. admin

    17. Feb, 2009

    Hi jmac,
    PokerTableRatings.com is pretty accurate from my experience, but only for $100NL and above. I don’t think they track $50NL and below at all.

  3. Eric S

    20. Feb, 2009

    Never knew about the site til today. However, checking my stats showed a win rate far less than that of pokertracker. I was even 6 tabling last night and pokertableratings only picked up 2 of them. I happened to have a very good night and knew what I won and it was nowhere what pokertableratings stats were. I play 1/2 NL 200BB Max by the way.

  4. Jeff

    28. Nov, 2009

    I’m using this technique, but instead of taking notes on fishes, I just take a note on the regs.

    The fish won’t stay around a lot, but the reg will, and it’s easier to avoid the regs thans hunting the “blue notes” for fishes imo