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Home > Strategy > Game Selection

Poker Strategy - Game Selection

Game selection is a critical skill at poker. While many new talented poker players strive to better their cardplay in order to win more, often the route to increased profits lays simply in choosing a better game to play.

When I refer to 'game selection,' I am not referring so much as the type of poker game, but rather the players in the poker game. You want to play in a poker game where you have an advantage over your opponents. No matter how good you are, if you play in a game filled with sharks, it is virtually impossible to make any money. The luck factor and the rake would make profits slim in the long run.

Now you know you need to find the game that is beatable, but how do you determine which game that is? There are several ways to quickly analyze your opponents to figure out if you should play in the game:

First, you may just know the opponents. If you play at your local casino or an online poker room for a while, you will get to know the players. Either by keeping notes or just through memory, you will know who is strong and weak and who you understand the best.

Second, determine how loose-passive the game is. A game that is loose is good. This means the flop percentage is high and people will call you down with hands that really only can beat bluffs. A game that is passive is also good. This can be determined by how much raising occurs. If people won't bet hard when they have very good hands, they will let you draw out on them and let you get away with only small losses on your losing hands. Fundamentally, the two work well together because the loose game let's you win big pots when you have your made hand and you are aggressive and the passive game let's you draw cheaply and have small losses on losing hands.

Finally, notice the number of fundamental mistakes people make. After reading this site, you will hopefully have a good idea about poker fundamentals: preflop hand selection, pot odds, etc. If you notice people calling with K 4 and drawing to inside straights without pot odds, the game is good. People who often call with poor starting hands and draws without pot odds are doomed to lose.