Many poker strategists will tell people that the most important skill a winning cash game player isn’t knowing when to hold ’em, fold ’em, etc — it’s finding games in which they might have an edge. In live games, it can be comparatively easy as you can actually see your opponents and judge the tenor of the game as well as its profitability. A higher-stakes no limit game with serious young players can be seem to be more profitable than a jolly mixed group but a good player can make more money off the latter, for instance. Not everyone’s good at every variation of poker and the relaxed atmosphere can give a sharkish player plenty of fish moments.
Online, however, you’ve only got screen names, avatars, the stakes and the number of players sitting down at any given time as a clue. So how do you find the table that is the most profitable for you? Ironically, it turns out that with online poker, you have a lot of information that’s simply not available to you in the live game!
How many players hit the flop?
A higher number of players hitting the flop (which is something you can see just by observing a few hands while some sites offer out-and-out statistics along those lines) mean that more players are playing with substandard hands. This means that the smart tight/aggressive player can make serious inroads by sniping the ones who play sloppily.
How big is the average pot in relation to the number of players?
If the average pot size is large but the number of players who flop is low, the table you’re looking at is aggressive with a lot of action. On the other hand, if the average pot size is large while the number of players who flop is also high, that means that there are players who continue with marginal hands. Either one is good and the smart player can get a lot of money out of the latter.
How many hands per hour?
Players that try to maximize the money they make at the table need to make sure they’re playing at tables that can offer up real cash value and one indicator is how many hands per hour are played. A high hands-per-hand value means that you’ll face fewer multi-tablers and have more players making decisions quickly.
How big is the average stack?
Finally, a quick glance can tell you the average stack size at the table. The deeper the stacks, the more complex the game is likely to be and the more chance at big returns for the strategic player who takes notes. It’s basically impossible to find a table composed entirely of weak players but by taking notes, you can more easily find fish tanks.