I discuss poker FISH and extracting the maximum value from these weak players at your tables. They’ve got lots of weaknesses you can exploit.
Episode 114 was about utilizing the act of teaching poker to further ingrain skills into your poker game. The student has now become the master…
Poker FISH: Fresh Income Source Here
Winning players focus on extracting the most money from opponents at the tables, and your most likely source of profits come from weak, inexperienced players… the FISH. That’s really how you should view them; a source of fresh income which you need to work on earning.
Your profits in poker come from making better decisions than the FISH do. Let’s look at some of the differences between you, Mr. or Miss Crusher and the FISH that you’re profiting from:
- They play only their cards and the board at the moment… You consider more: their cards, the next street, stack sizes, their tendencies and stats, etc.
- They telegraph their hands with large/small bets… You bet strategic amounts to either get them to fold or to extract more value without giving your hand away.
- They don’t understand position and play the same wherever they are… You strive to only play in position.
- They pay too much and on too many streets for their draws… You consider the pot odds before continuing in hands.
- They don’t care who their opponent is in any given hand… You try to isolate the FISH and stay away from most winning regs. You aren’t afraid to tackle the regs, but you’ll avoid marginal hands vs regs but play those same hands vs the FISH.
Besides the five points just mentioned, there are many other weaknesses that FISH in your games have, and you need to know how to exploit each of them.
The FISH in your games
Take the time right now to answer the following questions to help you analyze the fish in your games:
- At what point in the game/session do the FISH make the biggest mistakes at my level?
- What streets do they have the most trouble on?
- Which positions do the FISH tend to lose most of their money?
- What action does the majority of their mistakes involve?
- Which hands/situations do they put their tourney life or stack on the line with?
- What are their most costly mistakes?
Attack the FISH
Once you determine where the FISH make the biggest mistakes, you need to develop a plan to attack. In order to help you with this, I’ve come up with some example answers to the questions just mentioned, with a plan of attack associated with each. I play a ton of SNG’s and MTT’s, so these answers are geared towards that game type, but you can do this exercise for whatever game you play and the mistakes your own FISH make.
Weakness: too loose
FISH in my games play far too loosely in the first two stages of SNG’s and see too many flops with weak hands.
Attack – I will attack these FISH with aggressive play with good hands, especially when in position. I will choose hands that likely dominate their K5s, A2o and the like.
Weakness: post-flop lack of skills
FISH in my games have trouble playing on the flop and call cbets too often with weak holdings, either in or out of position.
Attack – I will look at their stats before cbetting the flop, and I’ll pay particular attention to their Turn Fold to Cbet stat. I will cbet only when they’ll likely fold or if I’ve got a hand I want to get value with.
Weakness: too passive
FISH in my games are just too passive and are willing to call down 3 streets with TP bad kicker or 2nd pair good kicker.
Attack – I will value bet only the tops of my range for all three streets. I will take not of “non-believers” and make sure not to bluff them as they’re calling down with crap hands.
Weakness: weak calling ranges
FISH in my games are too willing to call shoves on the bubble with Ax and 10-15bb stacks.
Attack – I will make note of the FISH that call too widely and make sure to attack with the top of my range. I will do more raises, especially in position, to take it away on flops that likely miss them as they’ll call all-in pre with A2o but won’t call a shove on a 48Jr board.
Weakness: risk takers
FISH in my games are likely to put their stack on the line with TPGK+, pair+ draws and open ended straight draws or flush draws. They don’t even need A or K high flush draws, I’ve been called all-in by 8 and 5 high flush draws plenty of times.
Attack – I will take note of these loose all-in calling FISH and make sure that I have a made hand or a great draw myself before going all-in.
FISH are Your Friends
Don’t forget that at the tables, FISH are your Friends. You want them happy and willing to play you, so berating them for their play is a terrible idea. If you make the FISH uncomfortable through insulting and mistreating them, you’ll just succeed in drying up that source of income. Berating a FISH might feel good in the short-term, but he won’t feel bad about the hand. The berated fish will just think to himself, “That’s what you deserve, jerk,” and he might just take his action elsewhere.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Don’t tap the tank.” I want you to live by that. Your chat should be kind and respectful (if you choose to chat, I hardly ever do it online). I want you to give the fish a reason to like you or at least not a reason to hate you.
So, when your AA gets cracked by the SB FISH that calls your 3x open w/ J4o, just deal with it calmly. Inject some logic into the situation and realize that players like this are why poker is profitable. Say a silent “thank you,” make a note on his play, and move on to the next hand.
Here’s my challenge to you for this episode: In your remaining sessions this week at every table you play, note who the FISH are at the tables, then actively try to get into hands with them. If they’re in the blinds, go ahead and open raise anything playable with the intention of isolating them. Should they limp ahead of you, raise to isolate them. If they raise and you’re in the blinds, call every raise with any hand. You goal is to get HU with them, and when successful, try to exploit their weaknesses and take away pots from them or go for extra value when appropriate. Don’t let the regs at your tables gobble up the FISH without you, and avoid marginal hands and spots vs the regs.
Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.
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In podcast #116, I’ll hit something very powerful for all you SNG and MTT players out there when I get into the play of 3bet Rejamming.
Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.