July 04, 2012
zooroaster asks "... but seriously how much do you put into table selection, especially post BF?"
Table selection is something that has been talked to death and something everyone has a slightly different take on. I think it comes down to a few simple points:
Having position on weaker players
Not being out of position to good aggressive players
Avoiding short stacks
But I've not answered the question, how much emphasis should we put on table selection? The answer, as with so many things in poker, is that it depends. You see, we can't enter the arena of table selection without also entering the murkier arena of bumhunting. It's a concept I have a bit of a problem with because everyone does it.
Ever turned down HU action? You're a bumhunter.
Ever left, or worse, sat out when the fish leaves? You're a bumhunter.
Just signed up to this awesome Italian/French/Intergalactic poker site that has no regs? You're a bumhunter.
Every played vs someone worse than you on purpose? You're a bumhunter.
The list goes on. And it doesn't matter. Lets look at why the term is so often used: Pokerbros. Firstly, who is the pokerbro? The pokerbro lives in one of four places:
With other pokerbros
In a dorm
And why do they call people bumhunters so much? The most important reason is because it makes them feel better about themselves. Every time you call someone a bumhunter maliciously, you're trying to feel better about your own game/life. Secondly, it's because table selection matters less to them because the majority of them are on staking deals where they care less about game selecting and the rest are on 60%+ rakeback deals where it's more important to get in volume than to game select aggressively. Above and beyond these points the money matters less to them because they have virtually no outgoings. It's free to live at home, it's cheap to live in a dorm and it's even cheap to rent when you're splitting the bill with two other pokerbros.
Lets get back to the original question, how much emphasis should be put on game selection? As much as you feel you want to. If you're happy with your game then just play the best tables available to you without going over the number at which your winrate starts to falter. It should be fairly self-explanatory how you work this out. If you're not happy with your game it means getting a coach and working on what you're unhappy with. This is going to mean purposefully playing vs better regs from time to time.
Wait, so that means I can just go and sit with all the fish and take all their monies and leave and everything is ok? Well, yes and no. I think if we use common sense we can determine what is acceptable and what isn't. Lets say the fish leaves the table and it's just you and the remaining regs who didn't sit out already. I think it's perfectly acceptable to just leave the table if you wish. If you feel comfortable continuing because you think it's +EV, then that's fine too. Just sitting out until another fish comes or the table closes is not ok. Lets say the fish at the table sits out, just keep playing. If you really can't cope with it, then just leave. Don't sit out in rhythm with the fish because they know what is happening and it makes it less fun for them. For the same reason you shouldn't leave your established seat to sit right back down with position on the fish. I try and behave with a little courtesy to the other regs (if they deserve it). If we're playing three handed and the weaker player leaves and I don't want HU with the remaining reg but we've posted blinds, I will just fold every hand and leave. That means folding 32o and leaving as well as folding AA and leaving.
All of this of course is just my opinion and the beauty of reality is that you're completely entitled to not give a shit about it. The problem is that those who don't give a shit about it usually feel that their own opinion (that everyone apart from them is a bumhunter) somehow has some merit. Well pokerbro, you may be a balla NLX00 HU crusher on Sky poker or whatever, but you also live with your mum.