Online Poker Table Selection

Online Poker Table Selection (aka game selection):

Choosing soft games to play in will obviously help your win rate.

Envision this: You register for 8 SNGs without table selecting at all. You just jump into every one that pops up at your normal buy-in level. All eight tables are there on your screen in front of you and the first hand of each SNG is being dealt at the same time.

Now imagine there was an all-knowing genie that could tell you what your expected ROI was for each table, and he causes a number to pop up on each table representing your expected ROI (based on the skill level of your opponents, your ability to handle the number of tables you have going and other factors).

You see the following numbers: 4%, -1%, 3%, -1%, 8%, -3%, 6% and 0%. Doesn't it make sense that you would be better off if you cherry-picked the games where you had a nice positive expectation and skipped the others? Of course it does, and doing so is known as practicing table selection.

At Full Tilt, the ability to game select is helped tremendously by the fact that the color you associate with each player in the "player notes" shows up in the lobby next to his username.

So you should be color-coding the players you play against. It will help you game-select in the future.

For example, my color scheme is green = good player, yellow = decent player, orange = average losing player, red = fish, and purple = big fish. So when I am considering whether or not to enter a particular game, I open the lobby and hope to see a lot of orange, red and purple and not much green or yellow.

In the image below, the game on the left is one I would jump in as quickly as I could. The one on the right has no value, so I would not enter that one.

Also, players with no color next to them are ones I have not taken notes on before. These players will overwhelmingly fall into the orange, red or purple category once I observe their play.

So no news is good news. If you are a regular and you haven't seen them before, they are probably weak.

Most winning SNG players that do little or no table selecting, don't realize or do not want to admit that they are playing in some games where their expected ROI is 0%, -2% or worse.

In the genie example above if you would have played the 4%, 3%, 8%, 6% tables and skipped the others, you'd now have space to fill with other solidly positive expectation games as they developed. Then you might have an 8-table lineup that looks likes this: 4%, 3%, 8%, 6%, 3%, 6%, 5% and 5%.

Even if you left the open slots empty and just played 4 tables instead of 8, you would be better off. Your increased focus on each of the four remaining tables might turn 4%, 3%, 8% and 6% into 5%, 4%, 10% and 7%. Would you rather be an 8-tabler with a 2% ROI or a 4-tabler with a 6.5% ROI?

Also, you can benefit by registering early for a SNG. This can work as a form of "defensive table selection". Here's an article explaining why you probably should be doing this:

Defensive Table Selection Tip: Register Early for SNGs

return from "online poker table selection" to "Multi-tabling Tip" article

Trivia: Color coding for each player being visible in the Full Tilt lobby came about as a result of a request made in a 2+2 forum thread in 2008. It was in one of the "FTP Answers" threads started each month by FTPDoug. Before that, the color coding could be seen in the player notes and at the table, but not in the lobby.

I have no doubt that this feature has increased my hourly rate significantly by allowing me to table select much more effectively, so I am thankful to the poster that requested the feature and to those that made it happen.

END: Online Poker Table Selection article.