Being successful at poker is all about taking advantage of the other players’ weaknesses. These weaknesses are so diverse though, it’s not exactly easy to spot them and to exploit them. Exercising proper game selection is one of the relatively sure-shot ways to capitalize on general player weaknesses. Game selection is one of the most underrated aspects of general poker strategy yet it’s one of the least disputed as well.
Game selection (and mind you, I’m not talking about online poker table selection) should start with the venue. A solid live poker player needs a venue close to his residence in order to cut the costs of moving around. If you live in Europe and you need to go to Vegas to play poker, you’re going to have to be an awfully successful player to make ends meet.
When selecting the venue, the rake taken by the house is the primary point of view that one needs to consider. Some live poker venues take the rake as a percentage of the pot, others take it on an hourly basis. Pot percentage rake usually means tighter games, as players feel more pressured by the compulsory fee. Regardless of which rake method they’re using, none of the B&M; casinos give their players rakeback in any shape or form, although poker propping may be possible.
Next on your game selection list should be the poker variant you play. Game selection based on the poker variant works online and offline as well. Again: your goal is to find fish, and there are nowhere more fish than at the Texas Holdem tables, especially the online Texas Holdem tables. Obviously, Holdem is the game to play then, there’s just one tiny slip in the deal: Holdem is a poker variant which offers fish a nice short term protection, and which makes schooling extremely frustrating. Because the luck factor is so big in Holdem, fish stand fairly good chances at bad-beating skilled opponents on any given hand. Losing to a fish on account of a bad beat is several times more likely when a skilled player has several fish ganging up on him (this is what “schooling” is about). The bottom line is, Holdem can be extremely frustrating for a skilled player, even if he’s going up against fish all the time. The truth is, despite the apparently fair match-up fish get, they do not stand a chance at long term success, but weathering the storm does take a lot of patience on the part of the good player indeed.
If one is looking for an edge over fish, Omaha and Stud are the games to turn to. In Omaha, skilled players will run all over the fish, and rather than working in their favor, schooling will turn against the beginners as well.
Omaha is a game of nuts, and even though the differences between starting hands edge-wise are supposed to be a lot smaller than in Holdem, the differences between how good players can handle the peculiarities presented by the game and how beginners can make do are colossal. By and by, the same goes for Stud. Going up against a skilled Omaha player is an altogether different animal though. What all this means to you is that if you get to play against fish in Omaha, by all means jump on the opportunity. You’ll see that you’ll find it much more profitable than going up against the same guys at Holdem. On the other hand, if you’re faced with tough opposition, you’re better off taking the game to the Holdem tables, where it’s bound to become a lot less frustrating than the give and take quagmire you’ll be stuck in at the Omaha ones.