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Open Seating - A Look at Table Selection

Lately, when I fire up Party Poker for some hot limit action, I've been jumping into whatever table has the highest amount of hands per hour. I know it is completely a fallacy, but my logic is that many hands per hour means a lot of folding. I'm fairly aggressive, so this is okay by me.

But as the self-proclaimed Devil's Advocate of Poker Bloggers, I pose this question: Does table selection matter, and if it does, should it?

I'm no Phil Ivey, but I want to be. I can surmise that Phil Ivey does not need to look at the precentage of players seeing a flop before he decides to play. Ivey can sit at any table and have confidence in his abilities. Most specifically, he has confidence in his ability to adapt.

That is what it is, people. Adapt or die. If everyone is very loose, adapt to that style. If that means tightening up, then go for it. As the DAPB, though, let me also suggest loosening up preflop when playing with a loose table. You might not always flop monsters, but when you do, you'll get paid off, regardless of how coordinated the flop is, at an ultra loose table.

On the other hand, if the game is uber-tight, pay attention and keep out of the tight players' way. Maybe steal some more, but pay attention to resistance and be ready to fold you 99 when you are reraised after missing the flop.

My point is this: adaptability should be as valued as any skill (and more valued than some) when you are developing your poker skills. Table-selection is great if you are a grinder, trying to make your money one way and one way only. But if you are an action player, like me, or if you want to consider yourself and all-around player, then maybe forget table selection, and focus more on reading the players at whatever table you sit.

That is all. Enjoy.

posted by Jordan @ 4:57 PM,

7 Comments:

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous willwonka said...

For what it is worth, I spend about zero time on table selection... so yes, adaptability is very important.

I will say, however, that I am probably giving up some EV.. but some of the sites just don't have very many tables to select from.

I will also say, that if I do sit down at a table and the PT stats and players look way out of whack, I don't hesitate to leave... assuming that there are other options... which, of course, there are always are...

 
At 6:41 PM, Anonymous littleacornman said...

Interesting post.I'd never thought about the number of hands played in relation to how the tight/loose the table is.

You want action? 6 max nl ;-) While I can see where your coming from in wanting to develop your game the ultimate and only scorecard that matters is $$$ profit and choosing the tables that best suit your style is the way to maximise it.This has to be the greatest benefit of online poker.

Why would you want to sit at a table full of sharks "learning" when there's a guy at the next table down in the lobby tilting off his stack?

Yes I could go to my bed happy I'd stayed just above my buy-in and held my own with the sharks but I'd be a helluva a lot happier with a big win.


As an action ( LA type) you could pick passive tables with low average pots/high flop seen and frighten the hell out of them Super System style or you could pick your fights at a table full of maniacs where you wont see much action yourself but when you do stand fuckin' back!

I've played at your tables and read your blog and don't doubt you have fine poker instincts.By all means hone them at more challenging tables but don't miss the chance to destack the fish!

All just imho.Off to light another and hit the Party beginners tables before my 45 days of poker heaven run out....

 
At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Jordan from High On Poker said...

Good points to both of yall.

Wonka, knowing that you don't worry about table selection goes a long way toward helping me feel that my theory isn't nuts.

Acorn, you are 100% right. If I could sit with fish all day, I would. But besides the rare donkey that's giving it all away, I am confident in my abilities against all other players equally, be them shark or grinder. A shark may sound scary, but it's just another fish. But, in the end, there is definitely benefit IF you know what to look for when seeking fish.

BTW, if a table doesn't feel right or if a table or player is giving me problems, I'm willing to shop around. I'm not looking for a challenge; I just think all tables have different challenges that are roughly equal.

Oh, and in live games, I definitely are more likely to 'want' a particular table. But, of course, they seat you where they seat you, which is just further justification for my reliance on adaptability.

Um, whats the deal with Party beginner tables? Can anyone play there?

 
At 12:27 PM, Anonymous littleacornman said...

I'm sure I read somewhere you only get access to beginners table for your first 45 days at Party.
I'm trying to make the most of it!

 
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At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Garthmeister J. said...

I don't worry about table selection because I am lazy and impatient and want to GAMBLE RIGHT NOW GODDAMMIT!

This is possibly also -EV.

 
At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Alceste said...

I'm a big proponent of taking a few minutes to find the right table at PartyPoker, particularly when playing the $100 or $200 NL tables. There are a fairly large number of folk playing those limits who shouldn't be (perhaps even me), but I have found the tables to be quite profitable if the number of strong players is minimized.

 

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