Finding the best poker game in the room

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By Zack Bartholomew

Table selection is a vastly underrated skill when it comes to cash poker. Finding the best table can mean the difference between winning and losing on any given night. Vigilant table selection can add thousands of dollars to your bottom line over the course of a year.

Despite how important it is many players don’t actively practice this. It could be out of ignorance or plain laziness. The former can be forgiven and the latter simply means you don’t care about trying to make money while playing poker.

If you play regularly, you’ll have a pretty good idea who the regulars are at your home casino. You’ll also know who some of the biggest losers are. For which tables do you think we’ll be looking?

LET’S GO FISHING: Getting on tables where the biggest fish are probably is the easiest way to practice table selection. You make money from playing against people who are weaker players so you should be trying to get on tables with them.

That last sentence should be painfully obvious but do you make it a point to walk through the poker room and scoop out where the fish are sitting today? If you aren’t, you’re missing a huge money making opportunity.

You may be thinking, “I have to go where they tell me!” While this is true, it’s easily fixed; ask for a table change to the fish’s table, and don’t rely on the floor to tell you when a seat opens.

They’re busy with a million things. Pay attention and get the seat you want when it becomes available.

On the weekends, I also look for a table where I recognize the fewest people if I can’t get on the fish’s table immediately.

DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH: If your favorite fish aren’t at the casino, be looking for the best table. Here are a few things I feel will indicate a good table.

CELEBRATING: Nothing indicates recreational players like cheering about winning a pot. This also usually happens after a nasty suckout, which means the recreational player got it in bad.

HEAVY DRINKING: Do you make better decisions when you’ve been drinking? Yeah, no one does.

FRIENDLY SMACK TALK: When I hear talking smack (in a friendly way) I go check out the table, even if the one I’m at is good. Players are gunning for each other. The pots are bigger and the hands are weaker. This is a recipe for big profits.

Start looking for the best table in the room and watch your profits skyrocket. Or don’t. I’ll take that seat.

— Zack is a Big Slick Poker Academy instructor.