Table management strategies?

NineLions

NineLions

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It's easy to search and find info on bankroll management, but what about table management, especially for relative beginners?

I'm thinking in terms of issues such as confidence (especially for beginners), portion of bankroll management, tiredness, and maybe a few other elements that don't come to mind at the moment.

For example, is rebuying a good idea? Assume that a beginner (like me!) is still developing a concept of recognising good/bad players at a table. Or should the rebuy depend upon how they got down; ie. suck out from a decent play verses mistakes?

If one is not in many hands because of a run of bad cards, possibly combined with loose/aggressive players, should you change tables, or just wait for the cards to turn?


On the other end, should one set a limit how much ahead or how long they should play at any one sitting? Sometimes I get annoyed with myself when I've been ahead at a table and not left, only to find I lose my profit by the time I do leave. Maybe I should set a limit for now as to how much ahead I allow myself to get before leaving?

And, maybe another limit how many hands to play at any one (ring) table before taking a break. I know FP has his own limit for how many hands he plays, but he says he knows from experience the quality of his play suffers after 100 hands or something so he knows he needs to get away but I don't have enough historical data to get a feel for that.


My baby bankrolls are fairly constant, but table management might be an edge that will help them to grow rather than remain static.
 
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MercilessKiller

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Table management is a big big issue discussed by Sklansky in his fairly new book "No Limit Hold Em Cash for Advanced Players".

It covers aspects such as the bankroll managements as well as what tables to sit down on.

On a table with blinds 0.05/0.10 for example, and the max sit down is $20 you ideally want to sit down on a table where the average chip stack is around $10.

People with too high chip stacks will generally play a lot tighter as they can wait more (its psychological), and people with low chip stacks will eitehr be folding or going all in, so for your pre flop raises with AQ, against a short stack its a bad move, and against a large stack your going to be getting called with either a lot or not a lot depending on the player thus making it harder to determine the hand.

People with an avg of $10 however will play proper poker and not play silly hands etc...

Ideally you don't want loose maniac's at the table! Though a lot of people will tell you otherwise. If you are an 80/20 favourite against a manic all in, then yes you'll win 4 times out of 5 but the one you loose you'll lose it all basically.

You need to be VERY patient in cash games. You want to be laying down middle pair to bets rather than in tournaments, because the general rule in cash is people are representing what they have. When players go all in on the river, i've found that they usually actually do have what they're representing!!!!! Only if you have an image on the player that can say otherwise should you not believe this!

ONLY leave the table when it is no longer profitable. This would be if the average chip stack changes or the table really badly tightens up! A lot of people rely on average pot per hand to whether its a good table bu this can be false! It could be a tight table and 2 hands in a row we've sene AA v KK and having a $10 avg pot, though this will quickly go donw!

Hope some of these pointers help. Once again rebuy if you think the table is profitable but don't chase your money.
 
JimboJim

JimboJim

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Nice post killer...

I usually sit at the Stars 5/10's with $5. I play until I either double up or lose it all. I hardly ever rebuy. Usually I'll sit an hour at the table before I leave unless I've just suffered a bad beat or I'm on an awosome run of cards. If I'm having fun playing at a table I'll stay until someone sits that I'm not enjoying playing with. If you're bored or annoyed at the table you wont play your best game so that does have to be considered while playing.
 
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MercilessKiller

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:) Thanks Jimbo.

Sklansky also advises taht you should ALWAYS sit down at the table with the max limit simply to account for the ups and down swings within that one game! If its a profitable table thne you want to make the max profit you can thus with a turly profitable table sitting down with the max is always best.

Thats why bankroll managament is important. Though I have a lot in my account I shouldnt sit down at more than 0.05/0.10 as ideally you need 200 times the big blind in your account for that limit, and I don't have enough to step up yet as I onlys tarted building my new roll the other day :p
 
JimboJim

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:) Thanks Jimbo.

Sklansky also advises taht you should ALWAYS sit down at the table with the max limit simply to account for the ups and down swings within that one game! If its a profitable table thne you want to make the max profit you can thus with a turly profitable table sitting down with the max is always best.

Probably the best advice but I seem to never profit when I do. Micro-limits are full of maniacs and bad beats are everywhere. I dont mind calling a maniac's all-in with KQs or 10-10 when I only have $5 at the table. That'll double my $$ and I can leave after a round of blinds or 2. Then I can go to the next table and do it again. If you're risking $10 then the bad beat will affect your BR a lot more.

Adjust to your style.
 
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MercilessKiller

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hmm interesting you mention lots of maniacs. What limits are you talking about?

Specifically i play 0.05/0.10 at Tribeca Networks. $20 MAX sit down, average is usually 5 to 10.... Also play full tabled 9 handed!

Hardly ever see maniacs, usually if any just the one at the table! And the play is usually raise raise raise.. so with marginal cards i'd simply call the raise, if i hit, check into his raise then push him all in or whatever!

any lower than 0.05/0.10 and people overvalue everything due to cheapenss but i found thats a good level !

EDIT: One other thing, you shoudl NEVER be scared of bad beats in any game! Of course they're going to happen but until I learnt to simply play statistics and forget the bad beats I improved my game a lot... the reason being you won't make as much profit on your strong hands due to the subconcious thought of the bad beat! But in the long run you'll be making more profit even if you do get harsh beats sometimes!
 
JimboJim

JimboJim

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hmm interesting you mention lots of maniacs. What limits are you talking about?

Specifically i play 0.05/0.10 at Tribeca Networks. $20 MAX sit down, average is usually 5 to 10.... Also play full tabled 9 handed!

Hardly ever see maniacs, usually if any just the one at the table! And the play is usually raise raise raise.. so with marginal cards i'd simply call the raise, if i hit, check into his raise then push him all in or whatever!

any lower than 0.05/0.10 and people overvalue everything due to cheapenss but i found thats a good level !

EDIT: One other thing, you shoudl NEVER be scared of bad beats in any game! Of course they're going to happen but until I learnt to simply play statistics and forget the bad beats I improved my game a lot... the reason being you won't make as much profit on your strong hands due to the subconcious thought of the bad beat! But in the long run you'll be making more profit even if you do get harsh beats sometimes!

I play 0.05/0.10 on pokerstars 9 seat $10 max and there seems to be maniacs and over-aggressive players everywhere. I'm not really scared of bad beats but for me it seems like it affects my Bankroll more when I bring $10 to the table instead of $5. I dont know if it's my mindset or not but I have a decent sample of both (20-30 sessions/100 hands per session) and the statistic junkie in me see's a huge difference.

Just so you know, incase you are taking it this way, I'm not trying to discount your advice but mention my personal experiances.
 
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MercilessKiller

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I play 0.05/0.10 on PokerStars 9 seat $10 max and there seems to be maniacs and over-aggressive players everywhere. I'm not really scared of bad beats but for me it seems like it affects my Bankroll more when I bring $10 to the table instead of $5. I dont know if it's my mindset or not but I have a decent sample of both (20-30 sessions/100 hands per session) and the statistic junkie in me see's a huge difference.

Just so you know, incase you are taking it this way, I'm not trying to discount your advice but mention my personal experiances.

Nah don't worry I'm not taking offence :) It's good to hear lots of views.

I don't play that limit at stars so don't know.. but I can give you a reason for the amount of maniacs. With $10 max the average on the table is prob going to be around 3 to 5$? If this is the case its too much of a small game.. once there have been a few raises there will always be an all in due to commitment.

When the average is a lot higher though, there is a lot more play in the hands rather than all in/folding decisions. I personally was advised by someone else to use Tribeca for cash due to the limits and gameplay, and I have really enjoyed it. Sitting at the right tables brings the play you'd expect to see in the limit. Loose-passive really!

I'd say if you were going to carry on in those games sitting down with $5 may be ok as you want to play the short stack and double up which is a form of cash strategy. I got too angry at losing so many 50/50's though and decided to play the big stack in a lower game thus my choice...

I'd advise you to sit down and watch a 0.05/0.10 game at Tribeca just to see the difference! The play and experience you've taken from stars could make you a top player there! :)
 
JimboJim

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I would say the average is about $5-7. Tribeca doesnt accept Americans do they?
 
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MercilessKiller

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No idea.. though Doyles Room is a member of Tribeca and I thought that was American?
 
shinedown.45

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Probably the best advice but I seem to never profit when I do. Micro-limits are full of maniacs and bad beats are everywhere. I dont mind calling a maniac's all-in with KQs or 10-10 when I only have $5 at the table. That'll double my $$ and I can leave after a round of blinds or 2. Then I can go to the next table and do it again. If you're risking $10 then the bad beat will affect your BR a lot more.

Adjust to your style.
My BR is not large at all, and I've been getting tired of the maniacs at that level also Jimbo so I've decided to (out of frustration) move up to the .10/.25 tables and take the $15 minimum with me and have increased my BR by almost $30 with-in the last 24hrs(not that I've played that long).
I set myself a limit of how much to make at a table at this level in a session, if I double-up I'll leave.
 
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MercilessKiller

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Hmmm shinedown, the problem with that strategy is you could be leaving a very profitable table when you leave once you've doubled up! I understand upper limits, but sometimes they can stop you from earning more!!!

You have to think of long term profitability really. If your the best player on the table why leave when your ahead? The term "quit when your ahead" is aimed when your NOT as good as your opponents as in the long term you'll lose out!

Plus by playing too high for your bankroll there's not enough variance. If you lose 4 50/50 all in's in 4 seperate games (which is EASILY possible!) then you're damaging your bankroll immesnley!

I've only recently learnt the importance of managing these things due to large downswings and variance, but believe me, it is SO important... you may be doing ok now, but once the variance kicks in it'll bea lot harder!
 
NineLions

NineLions

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My BR is not large at all, and I've been getting tired of the maniacs at that level also Jimbo so I've decided to (out of frustration) move up to the .10/.25 tables and take the $15 minimum with me and have increased my BR by almost $30 with-in the last 24hrs(not that I've played that long).
I set myself a limit of how much to make at a table at this level in a session, if I double-up I'll leave.

And correspondingly I've found the .02/.05 to be worse than the .05/.10, and the .01/.02 to be the worst. I don't have the bankroll or experience to try the next level yet.

On one hand it can be frustrating to play at lower levels, thinking that your play is better suited to higher levels, but then on the other hand one should be able to adjust to any lower level.

I'm like Jimbo; I usually go in with less that the max. There are times when I could have made more if I had a bigger stack, but there are also times when I donked off the last of my stack and was glad I didn't have more to lose. Though, interestingly, Jimbo, I'm wondering if that's another reason why I generally do better in SnG than cash games; I'm working with the same stack as everyone else in SnG instead of starting short stacked. But then I don't mind getting to the final table short stacked as I usually fare pretty well at that point, but that may have something to do with the rising blinds.

And like shine, I'm starting to set myself winning limits too on tables. In some cases doubling up, but on others higher or lower, depending on how I've fared at that level in the past.
 
JimboJim

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Like I said I'll go through the blinds a couple more times after I double up. If I dont win another bunch I'll probably leave. If the other players keep losing and rebuying I'll probably stay too.

EDIT: Doyles Room is a US site. I was actually thinking about depositing there. I just didnt know they were Tribeca
 
titans4ever

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Picking the right tables to sit at can be as important as what level you are playing at. You need to look at how many see the flop, average pot and hands per hour. You will need to learn how to interpret those to see if you want to sit at the table to begin with.

A high % of players seeing flops means that you are having to outchase several players each hand. AA when facing 3-4 opponents will only win about 50% of the time. This can make a big difference in hand selections. I will play alot more suited connectors since the odds will be there more often to call and pay off when they hit the straights or flushes.

Average pot size can tell you how many people on the table stick to their hands after the flop. A high % see flop and low pot size means several see flops but don't stick around much. A high ave pot size means that once people are in a hand they will all see them to the river.

Hands per hour can help tell you how many showdown are seen. An aggressive table won't see many showdown/river cards so you can get more hands done in an hour.

You should pay attention to all of these and see what kind of tables fit best for your style of play. Example for NL tight/aggressive players is you want low % seeing flop, high average pot and low hands per hour. I think you would want a fairly tight table with players seeing the flop around 25% (hard to find in micro games). You are playing pairs and big cards so you want to be against one or two players. A high average pot means that some players are making loose calls but can also mean maniacs going all-in. Hands per hour will tell you if these are calling stations or maniacs. Maniac tables will have a hands per hour in the high range since people are forced to fold faster and loose callers will see more turns and rivers so the hands per hour will be lower.

Learning these will help max your profits because you are now sitting at tables that are more suited for your style and not wasting time on tables not as profitable for you. You just need to pay attention to the stats when you sit at a table and learn what works best. You may find yourself joining a waiting list to get to the table you want but it is worth it if make more money.
 
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MercilessKiller

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titans, you gotta remember that avg pot changes drastically! you could have 2 pre flop all ins for $20 in one hand, which makes the avg pot high, but realistically its a tight table except for that one hand AA v KK!!!!

Its REALLY important to watch the table before you play/sit down. I usually sit down and sit out for a rotation until I have reads on people and see whether the table is profitable or too tight.
 
titans4ever

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So, which table to do you sit at and watch before you join?

Most sites will use the last hour of hands and pots for those stats. Statistically, you will get those monster hands the same on all tables being played. I use it as a guide, not an iron fist. I use these numbers to narrow the field and not just take what is open like most people will.

It has saved me time in the long run not watching tables that are not going to be as profitable. You watch a table for 15 minutes and then get up without playing a hand, what did you accomplish? I still will do this but not as often as before I looked at those stats.

The question posted was about table management. I think finding the right tables at the right time at the right stakes can make a differnce in the long run profitablility of you play. I have played above my BR if I think I can win at a table. I will also drop a level or two and play multiple tables if that is where I can make my money that day. You need to be open minded to what your skills are and use them to your advantage.
 
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MercilessKiller

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So, which table to do you sit at and watch before you join?

Most sites will use the last hour of hands and pots for those stats. Statistically, you will get those monster hands the same on all tables being played. I use it as a guide, not an iron fist. I use these numbers to narrow the field and not just take what is open like most people will.

It has saved me time in the long run not watching tables that are not going to be as profitable. You watch a table for 15 minutes and then get up without playing a hand, what did you accomplish? I still will do this but not as often as before I looked at those stats.

The question posted was about table management. I think finding the right tables at the right time at the right stakes can make a differnce in the long run profitablility of you play. I have played above my BR if I think I can win at a table. I will also drop a level or two and play multiple tables if that is where I can make my money that day. You need to be open minded to what your skills are and use them to your advantage.

Ye few good points there :) I only really know Tribeca avg pot's system and they fluctuate every hand! I'll sit down when its at 5/6.. and suddenly its 0.75 or something which is very frustrating. I tend to look at average stack only now and ignore avg pot.. I'll see that for myself!

Personally for anice fun easy game i sit donw at 0.05/0.10. Though its "micro limit" there is enormous profit to be made basically. I recently started a new bankroll so will give the higher ones a try when I'm up there though it won't be for a while if I keep to my standards lol!

Either way I can work out an avg profit of about $10 an hour from there inc variance which I'm quite happy with. This is playing prem's and making some marginal calls in late really. Knowing the players is everything! The best advice for anyone is when people go all in on the river in these types of games they USUALLY have what they're representing unless you knowt he player otherwise.

ALWAYS make notes on players even if your just watching the table and have no itention of playing too. Comes in handy later during table selection too!

All these things help. The type of players on the tables, the stack, and yes the average pot when calculated correctly.

And yes titan you're right to sit down where you feel comfortable. I wouldn't suggest anyone who's not consistently making +EV though to try limits too high for their bankroll even if they feel comfortable due to the variance which happens to any and every player. Aces WILL lose to Kings and you need the roll to support that happening ;)
 
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