The importance of seat and table selection – aka Prospecting

Saturday was good – another quick strike before bed/since the last post.   Sunday was amazing.  250 BB’s on Sunday after 1:20 of total play time.  Table and seat selection again were key.  The longest I stayed at any table was 18 mins…the shortest was 7 minutes.  In each case the fish at the table was the donor.  When he was wiped out and left the table, I left.  If you have a compelling reason to sit at a table, then sit and strike…and strike hard.  If your compelling reason to sit at the table suddenly leaves, you need to leave!  And for Pete’s sake – take notes!  You want to know if someone plays J8o from the SB, you want to know if they play K3o from the button, you want to know if they’ll play J3s from middle-late position, you want to know if they always defend their big blind and play out of position, you want to know if they’re capable of check-raising, you want to know if they’re dumb enough shove all-in for 75 BB’s pre-flop w/ AKs.  These are the players that you want to hang around for and knock them silly!

Back to the “your compelling reason to sit at a table…” comment.  It’s a key strategy that builds and preserves the bankroll.  Leaving quickly after a significant win also may have the effect of keeping opponents from getting a solid read on me during any given session and may give them other false impressions.  After winning a big hand or two, your $$ can double (or triple in some cases).  The thing is, that now larger stack-size is still at stake at that table.  So, if there’s other skilled players who’ve got a similar stack size, you are potentially at risk of losing what you’ve won + your initial buy-in.  And success at this level is all about your ability to manage risk.  It’s a balancing act at times – there *may* still be some potential upside to staying put, but there’s ALWAYS an upside to taking a break and recognizing and protecting a day’s profit.  It’s a good way to combat the temptations and pitfalls associated with greed and ensures that you’re playing at even keel as much as possible.  And that’s the most profitable demeanor to be playing at, isn’t it?

By standing up and finding another loose table, you can pocket your winnings and take a seat at another table with similar earning potential without putting a large $$ amount at risk (by buying in at your normal amount).  Now, there’s a judgment call to be made if there’s still plenty of earning potential at the table you’re at.  But you do have to pay careful attention to table dynamics and changing player profiles.  If the table starts to tighten up because they’ve seen you thump a few people, you definitely want to leave -or- change up your game to adjust.  I think it’s *easier* to stand up and find another loose table than to loosen up when the rest of the table tightens up.  But that’s just me – and one of the downsides of being a good player rather than a great player.

Anyway, you can get an idea of which tables are loose by scouring the lobby and sorting your games by % of Flops Seen.  Generally speaking, the higher the % of flops seen, the looser the table.  If you want immediate action, find one with a free seat or with 0 players on the waiting list.  If there’s 3 on the list already, you’ll be 4th – and it’s likely that some TAG players are in line ahead of you, so by the time your seat opens up – you won’t want it.  While you’re on the waiting lists, open up a few sessions and review the hand history for the table.  If there’s a showdown take notes players who played suspect hands or suspect position.  A BIG thing that I look for is players who play from the SB a lot.  Their hands are typically garbage – they just think they’re already invested, so they pony up the rest of the blind.  You can often times identify solid players and weak players and have some idea of how to play each person before your seat is made available.

Anyway – after Sunday’s 1st session I went for a bike ride.  After the 2nd, I went for a 2nd bike ride.  After the 3rd, I went to the pub and had their delicious Sunday burger.  After the 4th I went to Target to get a long-overdue replacement bulb for the entryway of my house, 2 new pillows, and a new nozzle for the hose – which should make washing the car a bit easier and more economical.   Boring – I know, but the reason I bring it up is that I’m not sure what I’ll do for a full day when I’m relying exclusively on poker…assuming things continue to go well.  If I have quick strikes like that, should I keep playing or – do something creative, healthy, or relaxing…a lot of poker players seem to be into golf – I can’t say I’m one of them at the moment.

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