So you say beating bad players is easy...
Posted by admin on February 10 2008 10:34:34
Ever since the WPT exploded onto our screens, the number of fish playing in different poker rooms
around the internet has at least doubled or tripled. Fish are the dream of every good poker player, but does one really want to play a table full of fish?

There's a phenomenon in nature, one that allows otherwise defenseless creatures to put up resistance against the attacks of their predators. It's called flocking or schooling ( in case fish do it). As the animals form a large, compact group with each individual moving in unison, the resulting effect will confuse predators. Predators in the wild act quite the same way a good online poker player does at the table: they single out the seemingly weakest individual, and they take it down. Such lone fish at the poker table are also sitting ducks for sharks, however, few players recognize the fact that sometimes 'schooling' will occur at poker tables too. Provided that there are enough fish at the table, they may - unbeknownst the them gang up on the sole good player taking them on.

They won't know they do it, but they'll do it nonetheless, simply driven by the common bad strategy they play. Just picture the following situation: you have a three-of-a-kind on the flop, going up against 6 fish. ( stakes or limits don't really matter here) now, by some weird coincidence these guys will all have gutshot straights, and they'll naturally figure they need to call your raise to give that backdoor straight a fair chance... this call is not something you'd make, but hey, these guys are fish and they don't hang around calculating odds for their straights.

In case only one of these guys decides to call you, you'll probably have him beat most of the time. However, if they all call you, all of them having different gutshot or open-ended straights your chances will diminish right away. I mean previously, there was only one card that could've beaten you, ( in case only one of these guys called) but now there are 6 cards that can potentially muck your trips. That's the power of the 'school' in action, right there for you... This is the cause, many reasonably good players repeatedly fail to beat a loose table, however, this call it phenomenon is far from making the fish unbeatable.

A good player will beat the fish either by playing the best made hand, or by playing the best draw. Bottom line is, playing solid, reasonable poker you'll have them beat most of the time. In order to be able to play such poker, you need to not only know the main principles of play, but you need to apply them correctly too. Self control is one of the first things you need to learn. A good player, without these attributes will never be more than a fish. Going on a tilt is the worst enemy of any bankroll and the best friend of all opposing players.

Playing strong from the blinds position is also vital. Nowhere will this be more obvious than in the case of tournaments. Blinds are often called "the catalyst" of good poker play, and I guess that expression does a pretty good job accurately depicting their importance. Attacking the blinds correctly is another basic skill one should master.

Betting: poker is a betting game. Simple as that. It's not the hands themselves that win you the money, it's the betting. Post flop play is more important than any preflop/starting hand strategy, the sooner you understand that the better off you'll be.
Another thing that you need to understand is the difference between no limit, and limit or pot limit games. Whatever you had going in your No limit game, forget it in limit play. The most important part of the game ( the betting part) will be completely overturned. Last, but definitely not least, you need to master pot odds, and for that you need to know everything about pot equity, the way rake is calculated and thus the rakeback you're entitled to receive...

Winning poker is a combination of many tiny advantages and edges, all of which need to be applied correctly and in the right place. As long as you fail to recognize these small things, don't master the basics of the game, and do not apply your knowledge correctly, you'll never be a successful player, no matter how much you know about starting hand selection.