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Identifying profitable opponents in full ring

man with dollar sign on headMost people that follow my writings will know that I play NLHE full ring games. I do this for several reasons which are that they allow you to read the action better, they have lower variance and game selection is less critical because more opponents means that you have a much greater chance to find weak players. Also we could add to this that the slower action means that you can multi-table more.

Finding profitable games needs work and that work starts the very first day that you log onto a poker site and begin playing. You need to start building notes straight away but many players build the wrong notes and don’t know which notes to take. I must say that this does take experience and you need to identify how you intend to make money and then find the particular types of opponents that fit your style.

One of the biggest ways that you will extract money from your opponents in full ring is by forcing them out of the pot and in other words… bluffing. The game dynamic is such that most pots in full ring are played either heads up or three way and showdowns don’t happen often. It is your job not to see showdowns unless you have a very big holding. So what stats should we look for when we use tracking software or by keeping manual notes?

Well firstly “dollars won” is a highly misleading indicator and short term variance can play havoc with this metric. Other tracker metrics that I feel are less useful in full ring are W$SD which stands for “Won Dollars at Showdown”. If this figure is too low then this indicates a calling station. These opponents are rare in full ring at decent levels. If the figure is too high then this is entirely normal anyway as many of your opponents will be tight players and possibly “rakeback grinders” in many instances.

So one side of the equation is rare while the other is a normal factor of the game! Stats like abnormally high VPIP or low PFR stats are also of less use because there is a far greater uniformity with regards to these stats in full ring games. Quite often tracker data is of much less use than we think although when it comes to identifying showdown stats and non-showdown stats then it is invaluable.

There are many factors that govern whether or not an opponent is potentially profitable. One such factor is if you see them limping. As a rule then strong players tend not to limp and strong players tend not to min-raise either pre-flop or post flop. This indicates poor bet sizing which tends to be wrong whatever hand you hold. Also if your opponents cold call a lot of raises then this can also be indicative of a profitable opponent that places money into the pot and then leaves it there and these are the types of opponents that you should be searching for.

Carl “The Dean” Sampson can also be seen on his Google+ page.

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