Choosing the Right Poker Game

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choosing a poker game
Poker game selection is something you should definitely master if you want to become a winning poker player. The reason I want to emphasize more on this is that nobody really appreciates it as one of the very necessary, although tough, poker skills; what’s even more baffling about this ignorance is that game selection ranks highly among the least controversial winning strategies in poker.

How to exercise good poker game selection?

Professional poker players, for whom poker is a way of living and earning a livelihood, look at their entire country, neighboring countries, or even worldwide when they consider game selection. They always search for the best possible games to earn the maximum amount of money. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense too seeing how easy it would be for you to be at the top at a tournament that doesn’t feature any top-ranking players! It’s possible that the winner would get only $10,000, but isn’t a small amount won better than a large prize you could never obtain? That’s why game selection is important.

How do Las Vegas games differ from Los Angeles games?

You will find the widest selection of games in Los Angeles – between $ 60 / 120; the widest selection of stud games in the north east; and the largest numbers of some of the biggest games in Las Vegas – $ 100/200.

Vegas games are tighter as the casinos out there take a percentage out of every pot – also known as the house rake. California games are far more aggressive and looser compared to Vegas games. That’s because the cost is equally distributed between all the players through a technique of time collection or button drop.

Understandably, it is the tourists – the much maligned and oft ridiculed species – who turn out to be the weakest poker players in Las Vegas. These ‘poker dumb’ tourists hardly ever play poker regularly and are there to “spend” money rather than to make it.

The Los Angeles games, on the other hand, are totally different because they rarely get tourists the way Las Vegas casinos do. In other words, even the weakest players in these casinos are regulars on the circuit, have mastered a wide range of strategies and tricks, and are more difficult to beat.

How to choose based on the type of player you are:

The easiest strategy for winning against any opponent is to attack and exploit his weakness. However, the weaknesses of weak players can be so varied and different, that it may easily confuse you. So let’s try and make this job a little easier:

Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker game among all, and it is also the most popular preference among the weakest players. This is because the weaknesses of weak players are better protected in Hold’em than in Stud or Omaha.

In other words, weak players should stay far away from these two games as their chances of winning there are zero. Playing Hold’em, however, offers them at least a fighting chance.

For an excellent player, Texas Hold’em games can be profitable as they offer greater random luck and higher variance, especially if decent players are in the same game. There is a whole range of stuff going on in Hold’em games that an excellent player can utilize to initiate action.

Of course, the hallmark of a winning and successful poker player is versatility in any situation. He should be able to play in any type of casino, he should be able to play any type of game with any limit.

Despite this, a good player will always pay attention to which game he wants to select—after all, who doesn’t want that advantage of choice to maximize their profits?

Another factor to keep in mind is that you may have bankroll considerations or temperamental preferences, which would limit the type of games you may be able to play. For e.g. because a game of Omaha is super boring, a player may decide to opt out of it and play Texas Hold’em instead. However, such temperamental decisions are conscious ones. Ideally, you should always choose to play a game that will be profitable for you money-wise. If you consciously select a not-so-profitable game, you should have a very good reason for doing so.

Table selection and poker game selection are both highly critical factors both when you have extremely limited choices or thousands of choices. For e.g. when you play online poker, you can choose from hundreds of games with the click of a mouse. Finding out that single best game from among hundreds is really tough and nobody is asking you to do that as a mandatory step. It’s easy to let go and just pick any game. That, however, would not be a very wise idea.


Experienced players never trivialize poker game selection. If you have made up your mind about something, you should be able to ask yourself – and receive the answer — about why you are playing at a particular table or why you have chosen a specific game.
There are a number of players who tend to take game selection for granted. This also means that you have a good chance of being across a few players who don’t really know why they have chosen to be at your table.

Do not make the same mistake that they did. While you should prepare yourself to play against anyone at any game, you should always choose the games you know you can win more easily than the others.

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