We were all noobs at some time. If you're still around, then you figured out how to survive. Along the way, noobs get crushed. That's just part of the game. Some get turned off, while others improve. The best of the best quickly rise to the top, no matter if you're from Kiev or Kentucky. But a part of staying alive is to profit at the tables by playing for as high stakes as your bankroll allows and so long as you're not the worst player at the table. Your goal is to find a comfortable spot where you can maximize profits.
Game selection and table selection is paramount in cash games. You'd like to chase around the fish because that's where the money is at. No one wants to fall asleep playing at a table of nits. And it's not that fun to be playing with full ring of push monkeys. Finding the proper balance is important, but seeking out the fish in soft games and stakes has always been a key part of playing winning poker.
One of the more exciting feelings you get in poker is when you roll up to your local card room and you get seated with a well-known whale. The whale is important because the whale has access to unlimited funds and they don't care about winning or losing because it's all about the experience. Sadly, there are not enough whales out there to keep everyone fat and sassy. Once the sharks find out there's a whale, they quickly circle. The greediest sharks never know when to stop feeding, which in turn reduces the whale population.
Man, I used to love firing up my favorite online poker site and doing a "fish search" or checking popular feeding spots for bad players. Once you find a bad player, you used to be able to bag and tag them. Some fish find their ways and improve. Most go broke. And very few keep donating, so you have to find new fish. That's why when it comes to the gambling world, it's essential to constantly bring in new people that want to learn how to play and give some time for the broke fish to rejuvenate their bankrolls.
I've been on both ends of the spectrum. I've played the role of the hunter and the hunted. Trust me, you want to be the hunter.
The wait lists could get crazy whenever a specific fish arrived. The sharks would come from all over the planet for a shot to play a big pot with said whale. The not-so-nice term is "bumhunting". But use whatever pejorative you want, the poker world is a ruthless place and there's a fine line to let players sink and swim on their own merit to policing the most egregious offenders.
PokerStars recently attempt to address their role in protecting the ecosystem. They recently launched something called "Active Waiting List" with the tagline "protect the players" and "protecting the game".
"Our latest feature, Active Waiting List, is all about making the game fairer and the experience better for most players," said Luke Staudenmaier from PokerStars. "We created this new system for those who like to play cash games with us and it is primarily designed to combat predatory behaviour and level the playing field."
Basically they want to be able to prevent sharks from hunting on fishy recreational players. They want noobs and casual players to be able to enjoy poker without being hunted with a target on their backs.
The twist is simple... to get on a new table list, you have to be actively on a table before you're granted a change. That will force the sharks to play while they're bumhunting.
They also will eliminate the first come, first serve basis. It will be more like a lottery for everyone on the wait list but obviously the early birds and first in line will have a little extra weight to their potential wait.
"This system has been designed to encourage engagement and action, while deterring players whose only objective is to join games with weaker opponents," explained Luke Staudenmaier. "We understand that people who use waiting lists to hunt weaker players will not be happy with this change, but our intention is to make the online poker lobby a fairer place and to ensure the game's ongoing health. We are confident that this will be a positive step forward for the online poker environment and will be listening to feedback and analysing how this is received as we look ahead to additional features and updates."
The big fish eat the little fish. It's just a part of nature. But if they eat too many little fish and not enough little fish can escape, there's no continuation of the life cycle.
Head to PokerStars Blog for more info.