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Finding the Fish, if Only Life Were That Easy!

Actually, I almost didn’t write this article simply because I thought that writing it might be a waste of time. The reason being is that the vast majority of players who read this will probably, through a combination of conceit and egotism, think that I am not referring to them.

Well, guess what? The overwhelming number of players populate $1-$2 downwards at any form of poker so if this means you then maybe you had better listen. The vast majority of players who play $1-$2 or lower fit into what I am going to say and certainly at NLHE where I will concentrate this article.

I have had a long experience not just with poker, but with other forms of gambling and other areas of financial risk where I have witnessed large numbers of people become enamoured and seduced by fancy looking software. Now before we go any further, I am not knocking the use of these software packages…..hell I even use them myself and have just started using Poker Crusher recently (www.pokercrusher.com) which is just as good as the other sniffers in my mind. However they don’t and cannot do your job for you.

 
You only have to go onto any poker site and take a look in the lobby. You won’t have to look for long before you will notice one table or maybe several where the waiting list is substantially longer than at any other table. You may at some stage have wondered why that is? Well it is simply because players are using software tools like Table Shark and Lobby Edge to ascertain where the most profitable tables are. There are far more game finding software packages than these. I have named just two. But I will tell you something right here and now, there will be very large number of online players who are using these items who are thinking that they have done enough to be able to beat the game.

This will be true for some of them, but the stark fact remains that there will always be players who have neglected their poker education simply because they expected the software to do too much! Table finders and tracking software will never compensate for a technically poor game. It took me a long time before I could even come close to considering myself an expert at limit hold ‘em (my first game of choice when I played online).

Now, with the advent of coaching sites and an ever increasing volume of educational material, players are increasing their average knowledge base to a level that is higher than what it was a few years ago and they are also doing it faster. For instance, I have sat and watched players play what I thought was perfectly sound poker for several hours only to then see them do something incredibly stupid. This just indicates that there are skills that are pertinent to making money at poker that go far beyond the actual playing of the hands.

I know for a fact that there will be vast numbers of players using table finding software or sniffers for the simple reason that it’s the “right” thing to do or because they are swept away with fancy looking charts and graphs on their computer screen that make them feel all professional and serious.

I have mentioned players having technically poor games, well we don’t even have to stretch as far as that. What if we said “technically average”…..that would cover an awful lot of people…..people who are joining coaching sites and using all kinds of fancy software.

The bottom line is that poker takes a long time to master and it often can never be mastered at all if you don’t have a personality that is conducive to playing good poker. But because poker is so damn interesting and fascinating when you peel away the surface, people persevere in trying to cram square pegs into round holes by attempting to master it or to make it pay.

No limit hold ‘em is simply a game that probably millions of players shouldn’t be playing. In no other form of poker can you have a 99% strike rate of making the correct play and still be a losing player. But it is the process of doing the correct thing “often” that creates an illusion that players are almost at the end of the road.

If a player who sits down at NL200 has only been playing NL for six months, then I know that this player will be value in most cases. I don’t really care what coaching site they have been a member of or what software they are using. I just know that sooner or later I will find this player’s weakness. He may be solid enough to win from fish but learning NLHE takes a damn site more than six months. There is so much to learn that you could never hope to master NL in that length of time.

But yet people are doing this in the thousands and sitting in games where they may have an edge, but that edge isn’t enough against the better players who have put in the time to get the technical side of their game to a higher level. This is before we even discuss working on yourself and your own mental and physical states. Sooner or later these players who have been in too much of a rush to play like “a pro” will make a mistake that costs them a 250BB pot.

It’s just a matter of time, but with sign up bonuses and rakeback then this may not prevent our hero from still being a winning player. If he’s winning then he’s happy and if he’s winning then he is obviously doing all the correct things…..or so he thinks. Meanwhile he has used fancy software to enhance his game and all it has served to do is to prevent him from reaching the top of the food chain ladder.

Carl “The Dean” Sampson is an ambassador for Cake Poker and can be seen at cakepoker.com/thedean and on his blog at www.pokersharkpool.com.

Carl Sampson

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