Winning at Poker
  Important Notice: Gambling is illegal in Thailand. This page is not intended to encourage illegal playing of poker for money in Thailand or Pattaya but exists because our readers are worldwide and many may well be interested in playing Texas Hold'em. The Pattaya Bridge Club is a friendly card game club and there is absolutely no money or stakes involved.  

Picking a good table to play at

  To become a winning poker player is not easy and only a small percentage of the online poker players are winning over time. Itís an old clichť, but in order to win playing poker you donít have to be one of the top players in the world, just better than some of the players seated at your table. I would therefore argue that the single most important skill to become a successful online poker player is table selection. So basically all you need to do is to find a table with bad players. It might sound easy, but thatís not always the case. How do you know if the players at the table are bad or not? Well there are a few key factors that can help you to choose the right table. A good place to start when you are choosing a table is the online poker room lobby. Here you will be able to find statistical data that will help you to pick good tables. The most important information in my opinion is the average pot size. Some people think you need put the pot size in relation to the number of the players seeing the flop for this figure to make sense. Although this is also important to consider I think the average pot size itself is a great indicator. What I do is to divide average pot size with the size of the big blind. (The higher the figure, the more profitable the table.) As a rule of thumb I think that a good figure for NL holdem is 20 and above and for PLO 30 and above. How the online poker rooms calculate the average pot size differs, but the most common is to take the average from the last 20 hands. This means that the average pot size can change fast and that one single big pot can boost this figure. Therefore itís important to keep track of sudden changes. If the pot size goes down rapidly itís time to change table. This canít be stressed enough Ė good table selection means that you leave the table when it dries up. Another important factor is the flop percentage (the average percentage of seated players that sees the flop). The flop percentage is available at most major poker rooms such as Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars, but for some reason itís missing at some rooms such as Party Poker. The higher the flop percentage is the better. A high figure indicates that there are loose players at the table that see too many flops. What figure you are looking for depends on what type of table it is. Something between 30 and 40 % is good at full ring tables and anything over 50 % at the short-handed tables (6 players or less). These figures are off course rough estimates, but will make it easier for you to choose a good table. Tables with high flop percentage where the average pot size is on the low side can also be profitable. The play on these tables is usually loose and passive and can be a goldmine for aggressive players. All poker rooms will also provide you with statistics on the number of hands played per hour at a certain table. This information is not that important, but it can help you to avoid the really slow tables. Also if you play with rakeback, especially when itís based on dealt rake, loose fast paced tables are often the most profitable. (With dealt rake your total rake is based on all the hands where youíre dealt cards, no matter if you put any money in or not.) If you have accounts at several poker rooms there are useful online resources available that can help you with your table selection. There are several poker related sites and guides that track the games at multiple poker rooms at the same time. The data they usually provide is average pot size and flop percentage and you can make searches for specific types of games at specific limits. But the table statistics will only get you so far. Itís very important get to have good knowledge of your opponents, especially if you mostly play at the same poker site. Make use of the player note option that most online poker rooms have. Make notes on how your opponent plays and pay particular attention to the bad players. Write down or memorize their names and use the color coding that often is available to tag certain players. Look for the fish when you start a new session. The color coding can come in very handy when you scan the table for bad players. I mainly use color codes on bad players and the really good ones. Most sites also have a search function that can be used to find a specific player. If youíre not using any poker tracking and analysis software itís advisable to start doing so. Not only do you gain a lot of knowledge about your own game, a program such as PokerTracker will also provide you with invaluable data regarding your opponents. You can see how tight/loose and passive/aggressive a player is and also how much youíve lost/won playing a certain opponent. Use this data to sort out and find the bad players, it will do wonders for your table selection. Knowing how to play good solid poker will only get you so far. Learning table selection might be the one single thing that will have the largest impact on your overall results. Table selection is not an exact science and it takes time and practice to get a hang of it. Make sure that you leave a table if it dries up, there are usually better ones available and thereís no point wasting your time at a slow table if you can make more money somewhere else. This article provides some tips on how to identify good tables, but after a while youíll have better knowledge of what type of tables that suits you and your game the best. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, donít let your ego get in the way. You will run in to players that are a lot better than you, learn to walk away when this happens. Donít loose money just because you canít admit to yourself that your opponent is a stronger player. As I said in the beginning, table selection is not about being the best player out there, just one of the best at the table.  


go to the Bridge shop, Bridge CD-ROM's or Bridge book review index.
go to Caribbean Stud Poker or How Online Poker Bonuses Work
Online Poker The #1 poker site in Belgium. On you will find answers to all your questions about poker.