How To Table Select To Find The Best Games and Fish

How To Table Select

4 minutes

Last Updated: March 19, 2024

How To Table Select To Find The Best Games and Fish

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I know you want to earn more profits in your poker sessions, and it’s going to take some work on your part.

I’m sure you’re working on your 3bet game right now, your turn double-barrels, bluff-raising, or one of many other skills. Those are all worthy pursuits when learning how to play your poker hands correctly and will help increase your profits. However, it can take weeks of work for any of those to have a positive effect on your bottom line.

Table selection, however, is a quick and simple skill you can implement today that will improve your profit potential with every session you play.

Table selection is purposefully choosing the tables you play on to maximize your profit potential. You don’t just sit at the first available table, but search through every table going to find the most profitable ones.

What constitutes a profitable table and how to table select?

Full of Fish

Fish are loose-passive players, that can easily be recognized.

  • They’re the ones who often limp, call a lot and love to see flops.
  • They save any post-flop aggression for strong hands, so you can believe their bets and raises (for the most part).
  • They also call with any draw, so you can overcharge them post-flop with larger value bets on wet boards when you know they won’t fold.

You want as many fish at your table as possible. 7 or 8 out of 9 players is fantastic! Only one or none, not so good. So you want to have at least a couple of weak players at your table to make more money because these players will be your greatest source of profits.


They play too many marginal hands. They play out of position and they don’t mind calling down with weak pairs and draws. This makes the fish great value targets for any serious player.

Tag the Fish

Make sure to tag any fish you encounter so you can spot them easily in the future (and make exploitative plays against them right now).

I use a green color coding on their player box, type “FISH” and specific notes, and if my poker software allows it, I’ll give them a little fish symbol. These things help me spot them at the tables and in the poker lobby.

tag fish table select in poker

If you play LIVE poker, take player notes on your smartphone. It will help you remember what type of player “Sam” or “Susan” is when you sit down to play with them next time.

Find Tables With Few Sharks

Sharks are strong players who try to gobble up the fish just like you do. They make it harder to isolate them, and they often playback at you because they know what you’re doing.

Sharks NOT on Your Left

If your table has any sharks on it (TAG and LAG winners), then they must be on your right. Sharks can make your life hell when on your left.

You’ll face a lot of 3bets after open-raising because they love to put in-position 3bet pressure on you. And when you iso-raise a limper, they see through your play and they bluff 3bet expecting you to fold.

Sure, there are ways to fight back against these sharks and turn their exploits against them, but why put yourself through that? Find tables with sharks on your right so you’re the one putting in-position pressure on them.

poker table selecting no sharks

Small Stacks

Sharks automatically top-off their stack, so they’re always at 100bb’s or more in the games where this option is possible. But, fish and other weaker players let their stacks dwindle because they want to try and build it back up.

When you see many 30bb, 40bb and 50bb stacks, you’ve found a fishy table. Sure, you’d prefer the fish have 100bb’s each, but that’s not often the case with these types of players. Make sure to keep your stack topped up so you have the greatest profit-earning potential against the largest stacked players.

Play on More than One Site

Sometimes, the fish may not be swimming in the PokerStars or the 888 Poker waters. You might have to open another software to find recreational players and less shark-infested waters to play.

If you only play at one site, spread your bankroll around to give you more chances of finding fishy tables.

Use Yourself as Bait

Sometimes the waitlist is 10 names deep on fishy tables. The sharks have already swooped in. Use yourself as bait and sit at an empty table in hopes the fish join you.

Fish hate waiting for tables so they won’t be happy as #11 on the waitlist. They came here to play after all, so any open table is a good table in their eyes.

Start using table selection today to put yourself in more potentially profitable situations. Look for fish, avoid the sharks and your bankroll will thank you for it.

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