Poker Strategy - Table Environments

Being able to correctly analyze a poker table and use bluffs correctly is one of the most useful and crucial skills a player should add to their playing style for those times at the table when you might not have it but really want the pot.  These days with an increasing number of players at the table and a much broader amount of resources available for players to learn strategy, the ability to correctly analyze a table and group of players is becoming an increasingly important skill to possess.   Below we are going to look at some of the popular methods whereby you can figure out how to play according to the players and environment of a particular table.

Analyzing the Table

The first step to figuring out a game in poker is getting an overall sense for the environment and the competition at the table.  To do this effectively, you need to consider a number of things including table limits, game type as well as pace and use them all together to get the overall context of the game.  When you do this effectively, you should be able to classify the table into one of three categories being loose, competitive or solid.  Each of these table environments will dictate how you should adjust your game in order to maximize your odds of winning.

Loose Tables

For loose tables, you should look at combining apparent reckless play with correct strategy, meaning that you appear willing to gamble but generally will hold solid cards when you do so.  This will make you seem “lucky” to your opponents and can create a good appearance for you that enables you to scoop some pots without the right cards.  By almost sympathizing with your opponents and appearing to play at their level of looseness but winning the majority of the hands, they will be less likely to challenge you with low value hands for fear of losing their chips.

Competitive Tables

For a competitive table, you should take an opposite approach and appear as the best player at the table, playing only great hands most games and usually having the nuts during large hands where the likelihood that all players are watching is much greater.  By establishing this persona, you will be able to create an advantageous situation where when you hold weaker or non-winning hands as your opponents will associate strong hand pairings with your play.  This approach will allow you to bluff effectively in the future, however don’t do it too often as getting caught will exposure your style.

Solid Tables

For the last table environment consisting of solid poker players, the game will generally have highly skilled competitors that are focused on winning pots with very good hands.  At this king of table, you should appear as the loosest and most aggressive member at the table who would be viewed by others as a poor player.  When you do this, you will be able to create lots of trapping opportunities when in fact you actually do hold a great hand as your competition will always think you are bluffing.  This is one of the more difficult playing styles to master at the tables however can be extremely efficient when studied and applied correctly.

Written by Christine Davies