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Game Selection, Live Low Stakes

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  • Game Selection, Live Low Stakes

    Anybody have tips for spotting good tables in 1/2, 2/5 at the casino? JL frequently discusses the importance of game selection, and I realize I've been neglecting this out of pure laziness, and not trusting myself to effectively pick a good table even if I jump around. The things I'm generally looking for are:
    • Big stacks
    • Relatively young players (avoiding sitting at tables with more than 2-3 people 60+ who are like to be super nits.)
    • Preflop opens being too frequent, too big, especially EP opens...this is much more difficult to see as you see at most a few hands as you walk around hawking.

    Question motivated from my last Borgata trip. First night had a guy take two big pots off me for a total of ~$700, I left the table around 5AM. Came back around 11AM wound up at the same table with the guy, who now had ~$2500 in behind. Decided to chat him up a little and try to make friends figuring he's probably at least a solid player. Eventually he says "You know this table is too tight for you to make those two buy ins back any time this year right?" Seeing the sense in that, took a lunch break, jumped tables twice when I came back in the first hour, stayed at a table that seemed good for 11 hours and ran it up for a +$1065 session. Definitely want to be improving games selection and other "soft" skills lol.

  • #2
    Sometimes it’s difficult to tell based in casual observation for a few minutes. I like loose passive games so I look for games with lots of limping.

    Lots of laughing, chatter, and drinking are good signs, too. Maniacs tend to have a loud personality if that’s your preferred villain.


    • Dilly
      Dilly commented
      Editing a comment
      The laughing, talking, drinking is definitely an obvious target sign for later in the night, I'm definitely less confident picking out the afternoon evening tables

  • #3
    I don't shy away from playing with older players as they are just as likely as young players to be bad at poker. I'll basically never turn a table down based on looks alone. I need a few orbits to know if I want to leave.

    Main thing I'm looking to avoid is exactly what you said: too nitty / aka no action. But it's really hard to see that until you actually play a few hands with these people. A table could be full of passive limpers who love to put money in bad postflop or a table of aggressive openers who gets super tight post flop. What I'm looking to avoid is a bunch of limpers who don't put any money in post flop.

    If people are opening too big and too frequently on the other hand, sign me up. (Unless they're also really good at 4b bluffing but that doesn't happen in the 1/2 games I play.)
    Last edited by RealJPB; 01-11-2020, 08:38 AM.


    • Dilly
      Dilly commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah I think it's easy to realize after a few orbits if the table is no good, I've just been averse to the potential frustration of jumping to new tables with the limited info available and winding up in worse or equal situations lol

  • #4
    Dilly i like your idea of game selection but i think you think in the wrong way .unless you have a one size fit all strategy

    why i said that i have a friend that is a player but he is passive and trappy he like to play with big stack young aggro player and he will act weak with his strong hand allow big stack young player to stack him off and he will check call , check raise with nuts.
    unless you play like my friend. Older player tend to be more nit, but that does not mean we cant win money , and most of the time i find winning this type of player money is much easier . i can dont bother to have a hand and dont bother see my hand i will raise when they are not interested and c bet and take it down , i just keep repeat and repeat , they will either force to adjust or keep see me steal the blind steal the dead money . playng with the young aggro guy you will have the variance and high variance, they are going to reach show down , and your hand might not hold up and you might not have a hand for few hour in live cash game.
    playing with the nit i dont even need a hand , i just need balls to bluff. when they clearly show interested get out of the way , when they are not interested just raise and bet to take away the money , this is such a easy game playing with the nit . a pro online player win 10 bb per 100 hand , in live cash game one hour averge 25 hand , by raise and c bet take it down , you can averge take 1.5 bb per hand , you can easily win more then 10 bb per hour just by raising and betting if they not going to adust to u .
    playing with young aggro guy they will have hands too and they will hit their back door flush or what ever hand too, yes within one hour you can win two buy in againinist them, you also can lose 2 buy in , in this type of game. in the long its stll the same .
    what matter most is playing with bad player and fit your strategy. if you dont bluff enough or dont know how to bluff , then playing with the nit you are not going to win .
    playing with good young aggro player will make your life tougher then you can think of.
    so back to the topic you need to choose to play in a table fullof bad player the more the bad player the better. and you need to able identify in what way are they bad.
    their vpip is too high , they c bet too much , they call down too much , they fold too much .

    you need to know your own strategy or you are good to change your strategy to adapt to the table.


    • #5
      those player will think or dont like tight player is because they dont bluff enough , i will complain the table is too loose and no FE because sometime i am card dead for hours i dont have anything good to go in to value them . playing with tight player i dont need a hand i can choose when to enter to steal and look for good spot, playing with loose player that are frequently calling down , if we are card dead , 25o 73o Q4, j3, all this type of hand keep coming to you , what can you do , you only can sit and fold all day . playing with tight player i dont need to care about what i am having after all


      • #6
        If this is something that you want to work on, if the floor doesn't give you an option when you first sit, ask them for a table change before you even take a seat. Then, by the time they roll around saying a seat is open you'll probably have some idea whether it's a good table. If not, try your luck at the next one.

        The easiest way is to just play at the same place frequently. You'll know who the regulars are, which ones are nits, which are too aggressive, etc. Then when you sit down, even if it's a nitty table, you'll know what strategy to use. Nitty tables aren't difficult to make money on, you just have to do it bit by bit taking advantage of their overfolding. Definitely more fun and lucrative playing at loose wild tables but you should be able to learn to take what you get.

        Also, you can just generally know what stake you can beat and play that. Then it shouldn't really matter who's sitting there, there will on average be enough players worse than you.

        However, I think the main thing to do is to be able to target player weaknesses quickly. If you can't find any, probably not a good table. Until you find them, just take obvious +EV spots and don't risk much until you're sure about what's going on, or leave if you can't figure out what's going on.

        Good luck!


        • #7
          Why not go to Parx rather than the Borgata? IMO The Borgata is definitely a more fun experience outside of the poker room but looking at it as a job I think Parx is better even though the games are generally a little bit tougher, no tourists. Maybe I make to big deal out of this but I think we lose a little bit of any edge we may have playing 10 seated rather than 9. Am I wrong believing that extra player increases the variance a little bit? I'm sure I play less hands per hour hour 10 handed than I would 9 handed as well.

          I would pay extra rake within reason to be able to play 8 Max.


          • reeeeeeper
            reeeeeeper commented
            Editing a comment
            You definitely play less hands/hr the more people are sitting because your ranges are tighter in the earlier positions. Once you get earlier than the LJ you're barely playing any hands. I wish there were 6-max live.

          • Dilly
            Dilly commented
            Editing a comment
            I go to both, Parx more so for day trips since it's a bit closer, if I have a whole Friday Night-Sunday Morning I play Borgata since the roadside motels outside AC are cheaper than the hotels outside Parx, minimizing my travel rake where I can.

            Hateeee the 10-handed play at Borgata both because the game does move slower, and it's just less comfortable, but it tends to be 9 handed or less during premium late night hours.

            Also am not huge on the graphics on Borgata cards, but really a small complaint.

        • #8
          You want games where people are frequently playing large pots. Ideally you want to see people messing up on a regular basis. It is interesting that you want young people at your table, because in general, young people with big stacks tend to be winning players, which you should avoid. I generally look for middle aged players who are playing lots of pots. If they are throwing a party, that is where you want to be. That said, tight games can be quite profitable too. Steal all the small pots but be quick to get out of the way once it becomes clear someone has something.


          • Dilly
            Dilly commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks Coach, the reason I say young people over older people is I've found at 1/2, even the stronger young players tend to have pretty face up mistakes that you can exploit, where as there's just a low ceiling on what you can win from running over nitty old people.