Game Selection Basics

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Game selection in poker refers to the practice of choosing which table to play at. The decision involves selecting which stake amounts, game type, and player pool you wish to compete against.

The first two are typically routine, but the third (player pool) is where your bottom line might vary greatly depending on your choices.

Here is a list with a basic overview of how to game select.

Time factor

The time you are available to play is one of the essential aspects to consider when selecting a game.

If you have the option to pick a game and are not currently playing full-time, aim for the periods when the most fish will be available—the more packed a casino or online poker room, the better.

The location of the players on the site is one thing to remember for those who play online. Most players are in a different time zone if you are a Canadian playing on a mostly European website. Their peak periods will be when their player base is finished from work and playing in their off time, which could correspond to early dawn in Canada.

The key is to play when there are more recreational players around. For instance, on the weekends is when you will find the highest number of novice players.

Play with recreational players

Generally, you want to avoid playing with experienced regulars while aiming to play with fish almost exclusively. You should avoid playing against good players if you want to be one of them.

When you can check players' screennames and profiles online, it makes things a little simpler, especially if you use tracking software. 

In the casino, though, you run into some obstacles. The poker room may attempt to compel you to sit at a particular table. You may be able to request a specific table, but you will not know until you ask.

You are also unlikely to know most of the players at the table unless you are a regular, so you will have to rely on uninformed estimates.

Money on the table

Cash should be on the table. Even if we are the greatest player in the world, we will not win any money if we are seated with six short-stacked nits, all playing with $1 chips.

The rake will reduce your win rate, which is often a significant proportion of your earnings in those small games. 

It would help if you avoided games with small stacks since they are not worth your time.

Use Promotions

For instance, in online poker, some sites offer various promos when you play with them, like deposit bonuses, leaderboard prizes, and others. It also applies in live poker games.

The casinos space out certain games. When a special offer runs, rooms turn into wild, loose, and highly lucrative events. 

Other rooms are only crowded at night or on weekends. Make sure you are aware of this to schedule your poker trips appropriately.


There is no assurance that you will crush the game, even if you find the ideal seat at the perfect table in the best room. However, you have a higher chance of coming out on top if you locate and participate in the best games available.