You’ve probably heard this. The poker table you choose plays a role in the amount of money you win. That means there’s a chance you lose money if you select tables that give you little to no chance of winning.
So, how do you select a poker table where you can win? In Las Vegas, you can look at the players to identify sharks and noisy beginners. On the Internet, choosing a poker table is easier said than done. Here’s what it takes to pick the right table.
Stake and Pot Size
One of the most popular ways of categorizing poker tables is by their stake sizes. This makes it extremely easy to figure out which table to join based on your budget. Poker stakes show you both the small and the big blinds.
For example, a $1/$2 poker table costs $1 for the small blinds and $2 for the big blinds. In light of this information, you can comfortably choose an affordable table for you. Keep in mind many tables start at 5c/10c and can go as high as $1000/$2000—the latter bet sizes are popular with professional players, celebrities and high rollers.
That said, it’s not just important to know the cost of playing at a specific table. It is also vital to know the potential profits. This is where average pot sizes kick in. How much are people winning on average?
Let’s say you come across two tables with equal stakes. At one table, the average pot size is $200. At the second table, the pot size is $300. That means at the second table, players are calling blinds more and raising pots higher. And that also means there’s more money to be won.
Table Size and Hands per Hour
Table size and hands per hour tell you two things: the number of players around a table a game’s speed. The standard poker table accommodates three two to nine players although it’s not unusual to find tables with 10 or 11 players.
To ensure you know when a table has available seats, most operators show you the maximum number of players allowed and the number of players available. For example, a 4/9 table has four seated players and a maximum capacity of nine players.
With that in mind, the number of players at a table isn’t the only concern you should have. It’s also essential to know the number of hands to expect per hour. More often than not, the speed increases with a rise in the number of hands.
If you like playing online poker because of Rakeback, choose a table with lots of hands per hour. Of course, ensure you pick a site that gives out Rakeback generously. Additionally, look out for deposit-based bonuses and loyalty programs.
Table Limit Type
Poker comes in many variations. Firstly, choose a variation that suits you: Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi, Hi-Lo, 7-Card Stud, 5-Card Draw, HORSE or Caribbean Poker, to name a few. After you choose your ideal poker game, next is to select the right table limit.
1. Fixed Limit
Bet sizes are regulated in such a way that you can’t bet big blinds to scare your opponents away. Let’s say a table has stakes of $0.5/$1.0. With fixed limits, the most amount of money you can raise in the pre-flop stage is $1.
During the turn and the river stages of a poker game, however, you can double the limits. That means you can bet $2 instead of $1. Against that backdrop, the ideal strategy in this poker table is to wager based on the strengths and weaknesses of your cards.
2. Pot Limit
In pot limit, the bet sizes are based on the size of the available pot. Let’s explain with an example. A game has a $10 pot. Then a player raises his bet size by $20. Now the pot size equals $30.
If you want to continue playing, you need to equal the other player’s bet size ($20). And on top of that, bet an amount equal to the existing pot ($30). In other words, you have to spend $50. If it sounds confusing, that’s because Pot Limit takes time to understand.
Many Omaha tables follow a pot limit structure. So, you need to learn how pot limit works to play the game.
3. No Limit
This is the most famous table limit type. It’s the most popular format at international poker tournaments, both online and in Las Vegas. Although No Limit can be used on different poker games, it’s universally used in Texas Hold’em.
Anyone can wager any amount of cash above the minimum limit. If you feel like spending all your cash in a single hand, you’re allowed. If you decide to bet small amounts, it’s you call.
Players per Flop
One of the most important things to consider at a table is the number of players calling blinds pre-flop. Some players can’t help but call blind sizes even when they have weak hands. These are the sorts of players you want to play with.
So, check around to find tables with a high number of players who call blinds in the initial round. A 20% players per flop stat is a great place to start. But ideally, you want a table where a third of the gamblers are calling blinds in the initial stage.
This helps increase the pot size and overall, the potential profits you can make. Of course, you don’t want to play at this sort of table without a plan. Your opponents, although novices, could easily bluff and win against you out of luck.
In the grand scheme of things, the best poker table has plenty of fish—weak players. However, it’s not always easy to find this table. So, use the tips shared above to find a great table to join even when there could be some better players.
Also, the tips above can help you find a table that suits your style. And that means not only will you have a decent chance of winning, but you’ll also have a great time.