Been awhile since I've written so hopefully I'm not too rusty. I'm really looking forward to getting into some of the discussion topics that are coming up on the forum. My goal this time around is to spend a little more time reading some of the stuff that's out there to try and find new perspectives on some old topics. See if we can't keep it interesting for both old and new readers.
Just to get my feet wet, I wanted to write about something I found myself thinking about last weekend while playing the cash tables at the Casino - table selection. It's not a new topic by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, one of the quotes you'll find on my Facebook page that has been there for years has to do with table selection:
"Theres no use being the 8th most skilled player in the world if the other 7 are the guys sitting across from you at the table.
In a non-tournament situation, choosing your opponent is the difference between losing your buy-in and winning next year's mortgage" - Tilt (2005).
The reason I started thinking about table selection this time around was because I was sitting at the table with 4 Regulars. This got me thinking about the pros and cons of playing with Regulars, and how often I actually spend playing with these guys.
Let's see if we can dig a little deeper into the decision to play with Regulars...
Familiarity - They always say knowledge is power. At a table where we have plenty of insight into how the majority of players play, how could this not be a benefit? You have a deeper understanding of their ranges, their preflop/post-flop tendencies, and maybe even a tell or two.
It's important to remember that if you've spent enough time with these Regulars to pick up on their tendencies, than they have had enough time to pick up on yours.
Chatty tables are loose tables - I read once that a player who talks a lot at the table often gives off the impression that they are involved in more pots than they actually are. Possibly a psychological affect of being involved in all the conversations that are going on at the table. It's very common that on a table of Regulars, there will be constant conversation taking place.
While I subscribe to the above theory that chatty tables are often loose tables, I think it entirely depends on the individuals involved in the conversation. In my experience (and I'd love to hear about your experiences), a conversation between two Regulars leads to slow, tight poker.
If I had to come up with a theory of why a conversation between two Regulars leads to tight play, I would propose the following: While the Regulars are being polite and talkative, they both have a personal agenda of trying to out-perform the other by the end of the night. Neither want to make a mistake in front of another Regular, so they tighten up to avoid it.
Just because Regulars are chatting, doesn't mean they aren't paying attention and looking for opportunities to bust you.
A friendly game is a fun game - A game where everyone is chatting and getting a long is usually a great place to spend an evening. There are plenty of laughs to go around, and sometimes you even get to make a few friends. For your social or recreational poker player, these kinds of tables are fantastic and are exactly what you are looking for on a Friday evening.
The price of this experience? Minimum, 1 buy-in.
A parting thought before I open the floor for your ideas - the reason we call these players Regulars is because they play regularly. The one constant they all have in common is that they all still have money to play with, for better or for worse. There might just be a 1-hit wonder looking to pay for your dinner at the next table over.
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