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/Feb/2012

Table Selection in Microstakes Cash games

By: mytton @ 08:06 (EST) / 305 / Comment ( 1 )

I've been grinding the lowest levels of 6max cash games (2NL, 5NL, 10NL soon I hope) for a while now and thought I would share my system for table selection. I know some advanced players will scoff, and claim these tables are all so loose you can just dive in anywhere and profit. Maybe for them that is true, but for the rest of us, good table selection can make all the difference. I've managed a decent win rate, and I do think my table selection process has helped.

I'm not claiming I have the best and most efficient system, and I would love to hear tips from others, but here for what it's worth is what I do.

1. Players per Flop. The more the better. Sort the lobby by this column and some of the juiciest tables rise to the top. If bad players see too many flops then more players seeing the flop means more bad players. Some grinders consider average pot size just as important. I don't pay too much attention to this, though admittedly higher is probably better. It usually implies there are players there who will pay you off if you hit a big hand. On the other hand, a small average pot size may be a sign of a lot of passive players all limping and waiting for each other to bet.

2. Player Search. This is by far the most important weapon in my table selection armoury. When I open a table, I do a search on any player I do not already know. Anyone who is just playing a single table I provisionally colour code as Green (weak/passive in my colour system). Two or more of these at a table and I will usually take a seat, or join the waiting list. Three or more tables gets a player a Blue (TAG), and ten or more tables I mark Light Blue (nit - I expect mass multitablers to play very tight and predictable).

Obviously these colour codings are provisional and I will adjust them and also make notes as I see someone play. Anyone I have colour coded with no notes is by definition only a provisional colour based on the number of tables they play at a time. But I find it really useful to be able to adjust my play against them from the start. Overall, the vast majority of the really bad players are among the ones I mark as green from the start using this system. In fact, a new "Green" who is playing tighter than expected will often turn out to be multitabling after all, if I search them again.

3. I like to play three or four tables at a time myself, and I find it really helps to do all my table searching up front. By this I mean joining the waiting lists of many more tables than I need, in the hopes that later in the session one may become available when I need it, like when one of my tables breaks up, or fills entirely with regs. It is pure luck whether this happens, but it is better than searching the lobby again while playing, which I find very hard to do while still paying proper attention to my play. A second monitor would help me here, as having the tables on one screen and the lobby etc on another would be a big help.

4. At 2NL there are often plenty of tables with three or more weak/passive players (according to my rating system). These are great for playing selectively and milking the value from your big hands. At 5NL, things are a bit tighter, and I sometimes have to wait a little longer to find the good tables, but with some patience there is rarely a need to join a table with fewer than 2 'fish'.

If this info gives someone ideas about how to better select tables at these levels, I will be very happy. Also, if anyone wants to share any other tips on the subject, I'd love to hear from you.

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