When I first started out playing live cash games in a casino, I would hop in my car and drive to the closest casino, sit on the first table that had an open seat and just play. Now that I am professional poker player, I put much more thought into every aspect of my sessions before I even walk out the door. When you break it down and look at how many different things can affect your profit margins, you will be surprised what you can achieve by making some minor adjustments when you play poker. I will list some things you should be thinking about every time you decide to go play a session at your local casino.
I see so many players making this mistake, even before they start a session they are already at a disadvantage. Why you might ask? Because they are tired, hungry or just in a bad mood. If your tired and you start a session at 9:00pm, how do you think you are going to feel at 12:30am? I can guarantee that you will make mistakes and not play very well. I have seen some really solid players play really horribly due to fatigue. Sad thing is these players don’t realize it either, some of them are just stubborn or in denial. You should be well rested when you start a session and have a good meal in your stomach before you play.
Have you ever had a fight with your girlfriend/boyfriend and then decide to play a session? If you said yes then you are making another big mistake. Not only is your physical state important but your emotional state is extremely vital to playing solid profitable poker! When you’re playing poker, you want a clear mind so
you can make the best decisions possible. I am not saying you need a Zen like mindset to play (Although that would be ideal) You do need to be in a good frame of mind to sit down at a poker table if you want to be profitable.
Do you just go to the card room that is most convenient for you to get too? I must admit I am guilty of this behaviour at times. I hope you know table selection is important (I will get into that later) I also want you to know that poker room selection is very important as well. I now know that driving to a card room that
has more fish and more action might be a longer commute; but will make my wallet very happy at the end of the night! It amuses me when I go down to my local card room by my house and see the same faces sitting there playing with the same people everyday. I would casually mention to a local grinder that I know
“have you played at Fraserdowns lately? The action is crazy and there are many fishes willing to donate” He would respond “no it is just too far, I can’t be bothered driving 40 minutes out of my way to play there” I would always think to myself your not willing to drive 40 minutes if you could make an extra $300 to
$500 that night? I think some grinders just get too comfortable at their local card room and just don’t like change. It becomes more of a social activity to them rather then a money making activity. Let’s make one thing clear here, we play poker to make money! The rest is just a bonus. You want to play in a poker room
that has plenty of fish and lots of action.
So you finally arrive at the casino and head over to the poker room. You let the poker desk know you have arrived and you either wait for a seat or they bring you to a table. When I walk into to a poker room, I like to scope out the action. I usually don’t even check in before I take a look at the tables too see what they are
like. I like to watch the action at every table so I can get a feel of the players and decide which game would be most profitable to play in. Like I mentioned in my opening paragraph, I used to just sit down at the first available table and just play. If there are 5 tables going, why would I limit myself to play on one table
without even looking at the other tables? Once you scope out the room and find a table that you like, then proceed to check in to the poker desk. They will most likely seat you at a table with the most empty seats, if this happens just inform the pit that you would like a table change to the table that you want. Table qualities
that I look for when selecting a table? Tourists; Drunk Players; Loud Table Talk; Lots of Laughter; Players with their girlfriends sitting behind them (explain this in a later article) Basically you want to sit down and play on a table that is having a good time and has lots of chips flying around.
Now your in business, you just sat down at the table you wanted to play on. You got your chips and your ready to play! Now what? Do you just throw on your Beats headphones and grind away? I wouldn’t suggest that, I never listen to music when I play poker. That is a personal choice but I just think your missing out on too many tells by drowning out what is being said around you. The first thing I do is ask for the seat change button, hopefully nobody else has it and I will be able to move wherever I want when a seat opens. When I first sit down at a table, the first 30 minutes is very important. I can usually get a good feel of who the good players are, who are the fish that will donate to me and the nits that I will be able to bluff. Once I establish those things, I will usually position myself accordingly. It is best to sit to the left of the big stacks, I can’t explain why but the money seems to flow to the left on a poker table. I also try to sit to the left of the good players, I always want position on any other grinder that happens to be at my table. Position is so important in poker, I honestly cannot stress how important position is!
I hope these tips have been helpful to you, I feel the choices you make before you are even dealt a card can be very important. The little details that you might over look can make all the difference when it comes to poker. In upcoming articles, I will give you more insight and tips so you can become a better poker player.
Poker is a great game because we all can learn something new as we gain more experience. Good luck at the tables, may all of you never be drawing dead!
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