To observe or not? That's the question.

T

TurnipHead

Guest
Joined
Mar 10, 2007
Total posts
158
Many writers of online poker tips often suggest observing the table for 5-10mins before laying the money down. This, in order to suss out the betting patterns, the clueless players and the sharks. But how many of us actually do this?

I, for one, put that Big Blind in at the first opportunity (without even really paying attention while waiting for the BB to come to me.) Then, after about 10 minutes I've sussed out the general ebb and flow through normal play and adjust accordingly.

This is all well and good if I sit down to a table of passive players and fish. But I often find it hard to leave the table even if I know the other players are of good quality and they are the ones giving ME the run-around. I think it's that innate, in-built desire to keep battling against those who are able to give us a good challenge.

So, going back to my question:

Is there any cash-game, winning player out there who maintains that it is absolutely essential to observe a table for a significant period of time before committing those chips?
 
GunslingerZ

GunslingerZ

Rock Star
Joined
Aug 10, 2007
Total posts
411
Absolutely essential? Not really.

Will it help your win rate? Definitely. Especially online when you have so many tables to choose from, it's easier to find a table with a bad player or two you can take advantage of.

And posting your blind before you are in the BB is a leak as well. A very small one yes, but it adds up over time. Take an average grinder who sits down at least four tables a day, for 25 days out of a month. If he posts early, there's a whole buy-in in extra blinds that he didn't have to pay. It's very trivial when you first sit down, but like I said, it adds up. Use those few minutes to observe the players.
 
pigpen02

pigpen02

Legend
Joined
Aug 5, 2007
Total posts
2,978
I always look at the tables I am going to play to see how many players I have marked. Since I play limit, the field is not so big that I get new players every time. I pick the table with the most weaker players.
 
SeanyJ

SeanyJ

Legend
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Total posts
1,558
Well I look at the tables with higher pots and players/flop and I just sit down because the tables can fill up pretty quickly and if there is a couple of bad players at the table I would miss my chance. If after a round or so at the table none of the players stand out as big fish I will probably leave.
 
B

bustme

Rock Star
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Total posts
270
It is wery wise if it is a real donky table,

but you will not earn wery much on it if it is not a donky table.

I never bother doing it,but I would earn more if I did it.
 
zachvac

zachvac

Legend
Joined
Sep 14, 2007
Total posts
7,832
Absolutely essential? Not really.

Will it help your win rate? Definitely. Especially online when you have so many tables to choose from, it's easier to find a table with a bad player or two you can take advantage of.

And posting your blind before you are in the BB is a leak as well. A very small one yes, but it adds up over time. Take an average grinder who sits down at least four tables a day, for 25 days out of a month. If he posts early, there's a whole buy-in in extra blinds that he didn't have to pay. It's very trivial when you first sit down, but like I said, it adds up. Use those few minutes to observe the players.

Although it's not this bad either. Assuming you're a winning player you'll be winning money from these hands as well. Say you post and play 5 hands. You lose 0.5 BB (half a Big Bet is a big blind), so over the 5 hands you're averaging losing (0.5/5)*100 = 10 BB/100. If you're earlier, say you get 7 hands, that's (0.5/7)*100 = 7.14 BB/100. So it may even be worthwhile to post early as it is very possible that people are beating the games at more than 7.14 BB/100.
 
WVHillbilly

WVHillbilly

Legend
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Total posts
22,973
I'll post early if I get in either on the button or in the cutoff. Then essentially you are at least buying position for .5 BB. I won't buy in for bad position when I can wait for the bb. I've been using tableratings.com (after the link was posted here) to find the best tables. That site has done wonders for my bottom line.
 
zachvac

zachvac

Legend
Joined
Sep 14, 2007
Total posts
7,832
I'll post early if I get in either on the button or in the cutoff. Then essentially you are at least buying position for .5 BB. I won't buy in for bad position when I can wait for the bb. I've been using tableratings.com (after the link was posted here) to find the best tables. That site has done wonders for my bottom line.

Now if only they'd add pokerstars to the site.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Total posts
13,642
Is there any cash-game, winning player out there who maintains that it is absolutely essential to observe a table for a significant period of time before committing those chips?

Maybe. I don't agree with that statement though.

Especially if you're a regular at a site and have lots of hands in your database, there's no real need to do so. Sure it would help, but not essential imo.

Also fwiw I never post blinds out of the blinds if possible. It's a small EV difference and has been debated, but I think it adds up over time.
 
zachvac

zachvac

Legend
Joined
Sep 14, 2007
Total posts
7,832
Maybe. I don't agree with that statement though.

Especially if you're a regular at a site and have lots of hands in your database, there's no real need to do so. Sure it would help, but not essential imo.

Also fwiw I never post blinds out of the blinds if possible. It's a small EV difference and has been debated, but I think it adds up over time.

Well I actually don't ever post until the BB either, but looking at it, it is not -ev if you post from the button or cutoff and you have a win rate of 7+ BB/100. Sure from a strictly monetary standpoint is is, but time is worth something too. If you pay $1 for 7 hands of poker and expect to win $1.50 in those 7 hands (no math here, I just took numbers out of the air), wouldn't you play rather than sit out? Of course if we take time into account posting on CC is also -ev, unless of course we read something that makes us play better, so then it may turn into +ev :)
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Total posts
13,642
Ya position is also definitely a consideration.

Anyways it's still such a negligible little issue that it's really not even worth going into :p

Cardschat def = +EV ;)
 
ky7

ky7

Guest
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
Total posts
9
I Would check to see who im up against and then decide if i should play.
 
zachvac

zachvac

Legend
Joined
Sep 14, 2007
Total posts
7,832
I Would check to see who im up against and then decide if i should play.

What happens when you find out they're total fish, you sit in, and by the time the BB hits you 3 have left?
 
tenbob

tenbob

Legend
Joined
May 16, 2005
Total posts
11,221
Awards
1
Posting the BB out of turn is usually a BIG mistake. However there are exceptions, lets say you on a waiting list and observe a table where a player is shoving a 100xbb stack pre-flop every hand. Then it is a mistake not to post as soon as you sit down.
 
Tygran

Tygran

Cardschat Elite
Joined
Sep 4, 2007
Total posts
1,757
I play at stars so much I recognize most of the regulars at $25 NL now.

And even if I don't immediately recognize the name good chance I have some hands on them in pokertracker.

So..I don't consider it a big issue either way, but what I do is if I recognize enough people at the table and am in latish position when I sit I will go ahead and post it. If I am in early position I'll just wait a couple hands on the blind to hit me naturally.

If I do not recognize very many/any of the players I will definitely wait for the blind and on rare occasions pass on the blind and let it go one more cycle just to watch, but I *very* rarely do this.

The only exception to this is if I sit at a table with a couple or more known terrible players. I can't post it soon enough in that situation.
 
C

Curtom

Guest
Joined
Jan 5, 2008
Total posts
14
Taking those 5 or 10 mins to assess the table is only going to help YOU in the long run. That is why your playing to begin with. For my money I want any kind of edge I can get. Knowing who the players are is an edge and knowing BEFORE I set down is an even bigger one. Doesn't mean the cards are going to cooperate every time but if defintely is a much better starting point than sitting down cold.
 
C

chink44

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Total posts
98
Before I sit down I take a look at the lobby. I like a very tight table as I play semi tight/loose and aggressive. I dont auto post blinds and I wait for the BB to get to me. Sometimes it takes a round to get to me, others its right there. But I will always have a few seconds to sit there and watch. I dont like auto posting. I dont believe its as much of a deal to not wait and watch, but it could be a key weapon later on.
 
Top