The statistics displayed in the lobby of online poker rooms helps you to determine the best table to sit down at. This may not sound like much, but it’s actually your first line of defense in your ongoing objective of making your bankroll grow. Therefore as a fundamental part of your poker strategy should be a careful and intelligent determination as to which table to join. Without a doubt, your odds of winning will improve by sitting down at the right table.
First take a look at your bankroll and compare it with those of the players at the table you’re considering joining. You don’t want to sit down at a table with the smallest bankroll. You’d rather have close to the largest, an amount that allows you to take the power position when you have it and attack weakness when you sense it.
Next take a look at how many players are sitting in at the table as compared with the number of seats at the table. The more short-handed the table (meaning the fewer players there are as compared to the total seats) the greater your overall odds are of winning any given hand. The pots may be smaller, sure, but you’ll likely win more of them.
Beyond that, there are 3 statistics most commonly posted for each table in an online poker lobby:
• Flop Percentages/Players-per-Flop: This details how often players stay in to see the flop. Experienced poker players will often fold frequently before the flop, only staying in to see it if they have a great starting hand or are planning a big bluff. Therefore, a table with high flop percentages implies loose players who are prone to place, call, and raise outrageous bets. You can take advantage of these players by playing the cards (even so far as giving greater weight to lesser hands – like 2 pair and 3 of a kinds) and not letting yourself be bluffed out of following through with a half decent hand. Low flop percentages, by contrast, imply tight players who are loathe to call any bets but those they think they can win. Take advantage of these players by stealing lots of blinds, bluffing often, and whittling down their chips stacks one fold at a time.
• Hands-per-Hour: Lots of hands per hour can be read two ways – either it implies tight players who are folding out of most hands before the showdown or it implies fast-moving, quick-acting players who play more by instinct than analysis. Observe a few rounds of the action to decide which is the case before sitting down, and you’ll know how best to play to win.
• Average Pot: Large average pots equate to heavy betting, lots of raising, lots of calling. These pots are vastly more rewarding, but also harder to win. Lots of bluffing tends to go on at tables with high average pots. In these cases, choose which hands to play very carefully. Plan to leave most hands before they get too costly and plan to earn your fortune winning fewer larger pots. To compete against tighter, more conservative players, less prone to bluff and therefore more vulnerable to it, sit down at a table with a low average pot and then just plan to win lots of pots.
All the poker strategy in the world isn’t worth a dime if it’s inadequately used. To win at poker you need to start out doing everything you can to put the odds in your favor, and that includes knowing something about the types of people you’re playing against and how best to beat them.