Friday, August 22, 2008

Table selection vs Seat selection

So Gnome and I have been exchanging a few thoughts in regards to game selection. He's a big believer in game selection and from what I can tell, he spends time trying to find the right table where there are bunch of losing players. I, on the other hand, just tend to go find an open table and sit. So, when Gnome asked me why I didn't game select, I thought it was a point worth discussing here and also, I thought that maybe I can share what I do. I mean even though I don't necessarily spend the time to game select, I don't just sit at any table.

Now, one easy way to find the juiciest tables is obviously through However, when I was first introduced to this site, one thing I noticed was that all the "good" tables had waiting lists that were like 5 or 6 deep. By the time I would get seated, the table would be filled with all the sharks. I just felt like I was spending too much time looking for the game and not enough time playing it. So, I kinda stopped looking.

When the other day, Gnome left me a message about why I don't game select, I decided to give it another go. Just to come to the same conclusion. Here were some of the things I noticed in regards to the highly rated (ie, most donkish) tables:

- waiting list that is as deep as the number of seats for the table
- bunch of short stackers (you mean there's hardly any post flop poker AND the only guys you would be playing a big pot against would be the better players at the table)

So, I went back to my old method... which was looking for tables with the least waiting list or an open seat. However, I don't just sit at any table. One thing I like to make sure when I put myself at the table or the waiting list is how deep the table is. I don't want to be at a table where the full buy-in is $400 and yet half or more of the table only has like $100 in front of them. Once I see that everyone has a fair amount in front of them, I would sit there... but this is what I do (maybe to make up for the lack of game selection)... I seat select.

In other words, I might not be as picky about which table I go sit at but one thing I make sure is whether the seat I'm about to take is a good one. See, the thing with game selection is that you could find a table with a bunch of donkeys which is fine except if your seat sucks, it's not as cool. Let's say you find a highly rated table with a bunch of losers. You get on the waiting list and poof, a seat opens up. You go to the table and you find a few shorties here and there. Then you notice that to your left is a big stack aggro solid player... that's terrible. Almost to the point where it's not worth sitting there.

So, here are things I look for when I look at tables or when I'm seated and I'm deciding whether I really want to buy in or not:

- who is to my left (both immediate and two seats to my left)
- what are the stack sizes in relation to my position
- how deep are the general stacks at the whole table

You obviously want the uber aggro to your right instead of on your left. You also want the deeper stacks to be to your right. In other words, you want the ideal position on any of the stacks that could really hurt you and in a cash game, you are at liberty to choose your seat... at least initially. And obviously, you want the stacks to be fairly deep so that it doesn't just turn into preflop poker.

Do you seat select at all? Do you practice game selection? Have a nice weekend all. I have my fantasy football draft coming up tonight and I am not prepared...


VinNay said...

I follow a similar method. Full ring games with > 30% to the flop have too any players already waiting.

So for the reason you outlined - I look for tables with reasonable stacks, either > 20% to the flop or < 10% to the flop, and open seats to the left of aggros.

I can't always find this. When I don't, I play an SNG instead.

Gnome said...

I use SpadeEye constantly.