Poker Strategy - The Importance of Selection

Poker Strategy - The Importance of Selection

One element of poker strategy that is not often considered by beginning players is the idea of good selection. Because selection is not directly involved with the play of the hand, it may seem less important as a part of one’s overall poker strategy. But just as preparation is the most important part of almost any project, selection is the key to success in a poker game.

What do we mean by selection as an element of poker strategy? First of all, you have to evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses. Very few players are good at all forms of poker; therefore you have to figure out which game suits you the best. There are many different forms of poker: Hold’em, Omaha, 7 Card Stud, Five Card Draw etc. Choose the game where you are better than your opponents, you always have to look for an edge. When you have selected which poker type you perform best in you might want to consider what kind of betting structure you want your game to have. Just because they play No Limit Hold’em on TV it doesn’t necessarily have to be your game of choice. Maybe you would perform better if the game is played with fixed or pot limit.

Secondly, there is hand selection. If you enter a pot with a better average hand than your opponents, you have a built in advantage. Since a very small percentage of poker hands are strong hands, you should be playing very few hands; around 20 percent of the hands you are dealt is ideal in most cases. Of course you will adjust your hand selection based on your opponents, but tight play is a way to show immediate improvement in your results.

Another part of the poker strategy of selection is game selection. If there is a choice of games, which is almost always the case online, take a few minutes to observe. Look for games with weak players, or with styles that fit in with yours. If you don’t like to be bullied, find a passive game. If you think you are skilled at post flop play, look for a game with a lot of limping pre-flop. There’s a game out there that is perfect for you, go ahead and find it.

A final aspect of selection poker strategy that is rarely considered is selecting your seat at the table. Money tends to flow clockwise around the table, since betting takes place in a clockwise fashion. For this reason you want looser, more aggressive players on your right and tight players on your left. Since the player on your right acts first, you will know if you are likely to be challenged by a loose player before you enter a pot. You will also know if you can play a strong hand more slowly as there may be more opportunities to trap your opponents.

Selection is an element of poker strategy that is rarely considered, but can do wonders for your game. Next time you are getting ready to play poker, think about selection and see how it affects your results.





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