It's ok to wait for another table when you see too many sharks
May 23, 2017 3:00 AM
by George Epstein
You are a regular/frequent player at a local casino or cardroom. After playing there two or three times a week for several years, you become somewhat familiar with the “regulars” who also play there quite often. From long experience, you know their playing styles and traits, perhaps some of their tells.
After signing up at the desk to play your choice game, $4-$8 limit hold’em, you wait patiently for a seat to become available at one of those tables.
Meanwhile, you scan the several tables and observe the players involved. Ten or so minutes later, you are called to a seat just vacated at one of those tables. As you walk to that table, you study the players seated there more closely. Do you recognize some? What kind of players are they? How big are their stacks of chips? (Lots of chips likely means he’s well ahead.)
As a result, there may well be circumstances when you decide you would rather not play at that table and would prefer to wait a bit longer for another table. I call it WAT – Wait for Another Table. Here are two examples
That table is just too tough for you.
Before taking that vacant seat, you realize there are two very highly skilled players there, who – from previous experience – you feel certain you cannot beat. Perhaps they “read” you too well. You can never bluff them out. Facing reality, you regard them as just too skilled at the game – more so than you.
Sure, you came to the casino to play poker, and would like to enjoy playing for 6-7 hours or so. But you want to go home a winner. Why handicap yourself from the start? I would be willing to take my chances with one such highly skilled player – call him a “shark,” but not two or more.
Sure, you are a very good player, and win most of your poker sessions. But, these two sharks are just too tough for you to compete against. It almost seems they can easily read your mind, and read your hand almost with perfection. Face reality! These two sharks are in a much different league (so to speak) than the rest of us. You know from experience.
At that point, turn away from that table and go back to the sign-up desk. “I’ll wait for another table,” you calmly tell the casino staff member at the desk.
He/she puts your name (or initials) back on the board; and you resume waiting. You might relax in a comfortable seat near the sign-up board; or, better yet – unobtrusively – wander about to look at the other $4-$8 limit tables to familiarize yourself with the players there – who may soon become your opponents (the “enemy”).
There are too many “maniacs” at that table.
Another possible reason for deciding to WAT is when you recognize two (or more) extremely aggressive players – “maniacs” – at that table. They raise and re-raise almost every hand before the flop, and often also after the flop – perhaps as a continuation-bet. In the long run, such players are likely to go broke; although, some are smart enough to quit while still ahead.
I can manage with one maniac at my table simply by moving to a seat to his left. Then, I can see how he bets or raises before I must act. While playing at that table, waiting for such a seat, play very cautiously; call to see the flop only with holecards that more-than-satisfy the Hold’em Algorithm, and can readily stand a raise.
With two or more “maniacs,” it’s extremely difficult to stay and play borderline holecards that could payoff quite well if/when they connect on the flop. The cost (risk) is just too great. Then, too, you could get caught between the two maniacs. That could easily get you investing into a four-bet (three raises) – much too much unless you have a made hand or, at least, a premium drawing hand.