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Game Selection

Game selection is a critical poker skill. While many new talented poker players strive to increase their playing skills in order to win more money, often the route to increased profits lays simply in choosing a better game to play.

When I refer to 'game selection,' I am not really referring to the type of poker game one plays (e.g. limit hold'em vs. no-limit hold'em). Rather, I am referring to the table and limit the player chooses to play at. You want to play in a poker game where you have an advantage over your opponents. No matter how good you are, if you play in a game filled with sharks, it is virtually impossible to make any money. The luck factor and the rake would make profits slim in the long run.

In order to win money, you need to play at a game that you can beat, but how do you determine which game that is? There are several ways to quickly analyze your opponents to figure out if you should play in the game:

First, you may just know the opponents. If you play at your local casino or an online poker room for awhile, you will get to know the players. Either by keeping notes or just through memory, you will know who is strong and weak and who you understand the best.

Second, determine how loose-passive the game is. A game that is loose is good. This means the flop percentage is high and that people will call you down with hands that really only can beat bluffs. A game that is passive is also good. This is determined by how much raising occurs. If people won't bet hard when they have very good hands, they will let you draw out on them and let you get away with only small losses on your losing hands. Fundamentally, the two work well together because the loose game lets you win big pots with made hands, and the passive game lets you draw cheaply and have small losses on losing hands.

Finally, take notice of the number of fundamental mistakes people make. After reading this site, you will hopefully have a good idea of poker fundamentals: preflop hand selection, pot odds, etc. If you notice people calling with [[cards Kc 4h]] and drawing to inside straights without pot odds, the game is good. People who make fundamental mistakes such as these are doomed to lose a lot of money in the long run. Be at their table when they are losing this money.

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