Lesson 1: An Intro to Game and Seat Selection

Good morning, class! Ready for your first lesson? We sure hope so, because it’s an important one. In Lesson 1 we’ll look at a crucial poker concept, one of those strategic moves that many people forget to consider: game and seat selection. Let’s get started.

When entering a poker room, game and seat selection should be at the top of your priority list. When you select a game, go to where you’ve got a handicap. In other words, if you’re ranked #8 on the world’s list of best poker players, it’s not a good idea to sit at a table with players #1 through #7. Then again, if you’re ranked #8 in the world, you probably don’t need poker lessons, do you?

Simply said, if you’re after some money, go sit at a table with inferior competition. Sometimes that includes going to where the limits are lower. Trust us, you’ll be happy you sat at a table of fish when the betting has finished. Even if it takes longer, even if it’s boring, you simply stand a better chance of making money when you play with others who are worse than you. Although it’s sometimes tempting to try your luck at a tough, high-limit table, it’s not usually a guaranteed payoff. It’s often the opposite.

Once you’ve chosen your game and table, you’ll have to choose a seat at that table that earns you the most value for your money. How? Well, since poker is played in a clockwise direction, the money usually flows the same way. Therefore, try to identify players with big bankrolls and loose attitudes. (You’ll get better at this in time.) Once you’ve identified the high rollers, try to sit to their immediate left. That way, most of the betting and raising will be completed by the time the action reaches you. Sneaky, yes—but necessary for survival when you’re just starting out.

Good luck and have fun.